Quality, the characteristics
To assess the quality of the premium Wagyu beef, the following characteristics are examined and evaluated:
- Meat colour and brightness
- Quality and texture
- Fat colour and quality
The meat is categorised into 5 quality grades: grade 1 (poor) to 5 (highest quality). The overall assessment depends on the lowest score of the individual characteristics.
The marbling of the Wagyu has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (as in oily fish). These fatty acids have the property of reducing cholesterol levels in the blood of the consumer. When cholesterol levels are reduced, so is the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
One of these unsaturated fatty acids is CLA; this group of unsaturated fatty acids prevents the clogging of arteries (arteriosclerosis). CLA has been attributed to have many other health benefits such as protection against certain types of cancer.
The CLA content in meat can be increased by feeding the animal a proper diet. Research has shown that the CLA content is positively influenced by eating organic products. The CLA content in Wagyu beef is not only higher because of the organically grown food that they eat but people who eat organic foods also have a higher CLA content (and are thus better protected against cardiovascular diseases and cancer).