USDA allows some Japanese beef, including Kobe, back into U.S.

Photo credit: Orlando G. Calvo/Wikimedia Commons

Think you ate a Kobe steak in the United States in the last few years?

Chances are it probably wasn’t actually Kobe. But fear not, the USDA recently approved some imports of Japanese beef, including the famous Kobe, according to Forbes.

Kobe beef is renowned throughout the world for its flavor and for its price tag (some U.S. restaurants plan to charge more than $300 per steak). Real Kobe beef comes from a particular breed of Wagyu cows raised in Kobe, Japan, and up until recently, could not be sold in the U.S. (although many places claimed to have it).

In 2010, the USDA placed import restrictions on Japanese beef after a food and mouth disease outbreak in Japan. Prior to the outbreak, meat from ruminants (e.g., cows, sheep and goats) was banned from the U.S. due to fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease). However, this restriction didn’t apply to Kobe beef, according to the USDA.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that infects animals such as cows and pigs. The U.S. hasn’t had an outbreak since the 1920’s as strong safeguards are in place to prevent the spread of the disease. It can cause devastating losses in livestock but is not transmissible to humans, according to the USDA.

To read the full story from Forbes, click here.

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