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Geographic indication protection of “Kagoshima Kuroushi/Kagoshima Wagyu/Kagoshima” for Beef

On 25 December 2020, Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam has issued Decision no. 4908/QĐ-SHTT on granting Geographical indication registration certificate no. 00097 for “Kagoshima Kuroushi/Kagoshima Wagyu/Kagoshima” beef. Kagoshima Prefectural Beef Cattle Promotion Council is the organization in charge of managing this GI.

Kagoshima Wagyu is one of the three geographical indication products within the framework of the pilot project for the implementation of the Memorandum between Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam of the Ministry of Science and Technology of Viet Nam and Food Industry Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

Kagoshima is a prefecture famous for many agricultural products, including Kagoshima Wagyu. Kagoshima Wagyu has been awarded with many accolades and registered as a geographical indication of Japan.

Kagoshima Wagyu are beef obtained from Japanese Black Cattle (“Kuroge Wagyu”), that are either heifer or bullock (male calves are castrated at 3-4 months of age) and raised in Kagoshima prefecture for at least 20 months. Kagoshima prefecture must also be the final feeding location. Kagoshima Wagyu has well-balanced fat marbling throughout the muscle fibres. The fine and soft meat with marbling made of unsaturated fatty acid creates melting texture and umami of the beef. This organoleptic peculiarity is shown through the Beef Marbling Score (BMS) at the highest level (level 12). Kagoshima Wagyu has the subcutaneous thickness of over 1.4 cm and the proportion of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) of under 51.4%.

 

The peculiar characteristics and quality of Kagoshima Wagyu is thanks to the natural geographic conditions and the production technique of the area. Kagoshima prefecture is located in the southern tip of Kyushu, the southwestern-most of Japan’s main islands, and has a temperate climate to subtropical climate with the annual average temperature of 18.6oC and rainfall of 2,000mm to 3,000mm a year. thanks to the warm climate, the geographical area is suitable for breeding livestock in winter (especially cold-sensitive animals). Moreover, the warm and pluvious climate is a favourable condition for producing high quality beef cattle fed by the abundance of grass in the extensive field.

Cattle raising in Kagoshima prefecture has a long history. In 1950s, the draft cattle in the geographical area were replaced by beef cattle as the use of agricultural machinery and cultivators became common. However, the quality of beef was not very high. 

Therefore, Kagoshima Prefecture began to own and centralized the quality control of breeding cattle beginning from 1962. In order to advance better central quality control system, Kagoshima Prefecture founded “Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute” in 1994.

Furthermore, to establish more comprehensive system for raising quality cattle, the Kagoshima Prefectural Beef Cattle Promotion Council was founded in 1995, which consists of all the stakeholders involved in Kagoshima Wagyu production. The Council has published several guidelines that describe physiology, growth control, feed management, illness and disease control, and vitamin control etc. After years of research, a guideline on raising beef cattle has been formulated in 2004. The carcass from cattle raised based on this guideline show quality improvement in terms of weight and the balance of fat and meat (marbling).

From 0 to 5 months of age, the calves are fed with concentrated feed, during that time weaning is done when the calves reach 2 months old. As the cattle’s stomach (rumen) start to develop (from 3-5 months of age), farmers switch mainly to roughage feed. Mineral blocks consisting of a block of salt which contains minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, etc., are placed in the stable to supply micro-minerals, prevent urolithiasis and increase drinking behavior.

During the 14-29 months old stage, the cattle’s feed intake decreases (with the concentration of vitamin A in blood dipping below 30 IU/dL), farmers will orally administer 10,6 IU of vitamin A per day per kilogram of weight for seven days to increase the concentration of vitamin A in blood to 40-60 IU/dL and again on the 14th day following the first administration.

The cattles are shipped at approximately age of 29 months for butchering. Kagoshima Prefectural Beef Cattle Promotion Council will check (1) breed and (2) feeding period and final feeding location. If a producer in the group fails to abide by the specification, the Council will issue a warning and request a correction of his/her production. Before shipped to the market, Kagoshima Wagyu will be certified by Japan Wagyu Registry Association.

Geographical area: Kagoshima prefecture, Japan.

 

Center for Examining Geographical Indication and International Trademark