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[Dining] Kobe beef sold here is 'fake or smuggled'
Latest Updated by 2006-07-31 10:18:05
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SHENZHEN gourmets with a passion for high-quality beef are in for some disappointment, after the Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau on Saturday (July 29) declared that all Kobe beef sold in the city's markets or restaurants was "either fake or was smuggled."

"Because there has been no Kobe beef imported to Shenzhen before, according to our quarantine records," said Liu Shenli, director of the bureau, at a conference.

Mayor Xu Zongheng said at the same conference that watchdogs should crack down on beef labeled as imported from Kobe in Japan.

Since the first case of mad cow disease in Japan in 2001, China has banned beef imports from the country, a Chinese quarantine official said in Beijing earlier this year. Japan reported its 26th mad cow disease case in May this year.

Liu didn't deny the possibility that some of the Kobe beef may have come from the Japanese city.

"Those, if any, must be smuggled to Shenzhen and didn't go through the obligatory quarantine procedures," said Liu.

The bureau has so far seized smuggled Kobe beef from private cars from Hong Kong.

In a recent crackdown, the bureau and local industrial and commercial bureau confiscated fake Kobe beef from a restaurant in Futian District. The restaurant was required to remove the dish from the menu and their advertising.

Kobe beef is popular in local high-class Japanese restaurants and steakhouses, costing between 400 and 2,000 yuan (US$50-250) per order.

A receptionist surnamed Tai from the Japan Fusion restaurant, located at the World Finance Center, said they didn't have any Kobe beef dishes as the government bans its import.

A receptionist from the Prince Kitchen at CITIC Plaza told the reporter that they did have the Kobe beef. However, after being informed of the campaign, she quickly changed her statement.

Li Yuanping, director of the food safety bureau of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said in a Xinhua report in April that the country had never issued a license for importing Kobe beef from Japan since 2001, which means all Kobe beef in the country is fake or was smuggled.

Kobe beef is renowned for its flavor, tenderness, and intense marbling texture. Cows of the breed are raised in Japan, Australia and the United States, but can only be called Kobe beef if slaughtered in Kobe, Japan.

Kobe Beef Cattle are massaged with sake, fed with beer and treated with music, a process that is believed to increase the quality of the meat.

According to the Japanese Association of Meat Ranking, only 3,000 to 4,000 Kobe Beef Cattle are available each year in Japan. Kobe Beef therefore costs over US$100 per pound (450 grams).

Editor: Wing

By: Tan Xiaomi Source: Szdaily web edition
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