Kobe beef is a delicacy that is highly sought after for its unique flavor, tenderness, and well-marbled texture. However, many people are unaware of the strict guidelines and regulations that must be followed in order to produce authentic Kobe beef.
One of the most important aspects of this process is the slaughter of the cattle, which must be done in a specific way to ensure the highest quality meat.
In this article, we will explore the process of how Kobe beef is slaughtered and why it is so important for producing this highly prized meat.
So, sit back and prepare to learn about the fascinating world of Kobe beef production.
How Is Kobe Beef Slaughtered?
The process of slaughtering Kobe beef is a highly regulated and carefully monitored process. The cattle must be raised in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan, where they are born, raised, and slaughtered. Only the Tajima-gyu breed of cattle can be used to produce authentic Kobe beef.
Before the slaughter, the cattle are carefully inspected to ensure that they meet the strict guidelines for quality and health. The cattle are then taken to a licensed slaughterhouse where they are handled with the utmost care and respect.
The slaughter process itself is done in a humane and ethical manner. The cattle are first stunned with a captive bolt gun, which renders them unconscious. They are then bled out quickly and efficiently to minimize any stress or pain.
After the slaughter, the meat is carefully inspected and graded according to strict guidelines. Only the highest quality meat is allowed to be certified as Kobe beef.
The Importance Of Proper Slaughter Techniques
Proper slaughter techniques are crucial for producing high-quality Kobe beef. The stress and anxiety experienced by the cattle during the slaughter process can affect the quality of the meat. To ensure that the meat is of the highest quality, it is important to minimize the stress and pain experienced by the animal.
The use of a captive bolt gun to stun the animal is a humane method that ensures that the animal is unconscious before it is bled out. This method is preferred over other methods that may cause more pain and distress.
Additionally, the handling of the animal before and during the slaughter process must be done with care and respect. Any unnecessary roughness or mistreatment can cause stress and anxiety in the animal, which can negatively impact the quality of the meat.
Proper inspection and grading of the meat after slaughter is also crucial for ensuring that only the highest quality Kobe beef is certified. Any meat that does not meet strict guidelines for quality and health is not allowed to be certified as Kobe beef.
Regulations And Guidelines For Kobe Beef Slaughter
The slaughter of Kobe beef is subject to strict regulations and guidelines to ensure the quality and authenticity of the meat. Firstly, the Islamic slaughtering method must be followed, which requires a qualified Muslim slaughterer to perform the slaughter. Secondly, the infamous practice of feeding Japanese beer to the cattle has been discontinued.
In addition, the cattle must be between 28 and 60 months old and have a Meat Quality score of A or B, Yield Score of 4 or 5, and a Beef Marbling Score (BMS) of 6 or higher. The cattle must also have been born, raised, and slaughtered in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan and have a gross carcass weight of 470kg or less.
Furthermore, only steers (castrated bulls) or virgin cows of the purebred Tajima lineage can be used to produce Kobe beef. The cattle must have only been fed grasses and grains from within the Hyogo Prefecture.
After meeting all these requirements, the meat is assigned a 10-digit ID number that allows for traceability back to the individual cow. This ID number contains information about the cow’s birth record, ownership, and genetic lineage.
The Humane Treatment Of Cattle During Slaughter
The humane treatment of cattle during slaughter is a top priority in the production of Kobe beef. The use of captive bolt guns to stun the cattle is considered a humane method of slaughter, as it renders the animal unconscious and unable to feel pain. This method is preferred over other methods, such as electric shock or carbon dioxide stunning, which can cause more stress and pain to the animal.
The bleeding out process is also done quickly and efficiently to minimize any pain or suffering. The cattle are carefully monitored throughout the process to ensure that they are not experiencing any unnecessary stress or discomfort.
In addition to these measures, the slaughterhouses that handle Kobe beef are subject to strict regulations and inspections to ensure that they are following proper procedures and maintaining high standards of animal welfare.
The Traditional Japanese Method Of Slaughter
In addition to the strict regulations and guidelines for raising and slaughtering Kobe beef, there is also a traditional Japanese method of slaughter that must be followed. This method involves the Islamic method of slaughtering, also known as Halal.
One of the requirements of this method is that a qualified Muslim slaughterer must be present during the slaughter. This individual must be a practicing Muslim and must follow specific guidelines for the slaughter process.
The cattle are also treated with respect and care during this process. They are not subjected to any unnecessary stress or pain, and the slaughter is done quickly and efficiently.
Another requirement of the traditional Japanese method of slaughter is that the infamous feeding of Japanese beer to the cattle must be stopped. While this practice was once believed to improve the flavor and tenderness of the meat, it is now considered unnecessary and potentially harmful to the animal’s health.
Differences Between Kobe Beef Slaughter And Conventional Slaughter Methods
The process of slaughtering Kobe beef differs significantly from conventional slaughter methods. In Japan, animal welfare is a top priority during the slaughter process. The cattle are stunned with a captive bolt gun, which produces a physical shock to the brain, rendering them unconscious and eliminating all stress, pain, and discomfort. This method of stunning is known to be less stressful for the animal than other methods such as electrical or carbon dioxide gas stunning.
After the cattle are stunned, they are immediately bled out to minimize any pain or suffering. This process involves severing the aorta and other major blood vessels of the neck of the animal after it is unconscious from the stunning process. The animal dies from cerebral anoxia as a result of exsanguination.
In contrast, conventional slaughter methods may involve less humane practices such as tethering or confinement, which can cause significant stress and discomfort for the animal. Additionally, some conventional slaughter methods may not prioritize animal welfare during the stunning and bleeding process.
The Impact Of Slaughter On The Quality Of Kobe Beef
The way in which Kobe beef is slaughtered has a significant impact on its quality. The stress and anxiety experienced by the cattle during the slaughter process can affect the tenderness and flavor of the meat. For this reason, the slaughter of Kobe beef is done in a way that minimizes stress and pain for the animals.
Additionally, the timing of the slaughter is critical. The cattle must be slaughtered at a specific age and weight to ensure that the meat has the desired level of marbling and tenderness. If the cattle are slaughtered too early or too late, the quality of the meat can be compromised.
Once the cattle have been slaughtered and the meat has been graded, it is aged for a period of time to further enhance its flavor and tenderness. The aging process allows enzymes to break down the muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat.