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Crackdown on pretend Kobe beef

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)

09:17, February 05, 2013

Costly Kobe beef sold by some Japanese restaurants in Shanghai turned out to be locally raised or imported from Australia. [PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY]

Shanghai says no evidence exists to show that delicacy is being sold in municipality

The food safety watchdog of Shanghai vowed to crack down on unqualified meat after inspectors found that the costly Kobe beef sold by some Japanese restaurants turned out to be locally grown or imported from Australia.

In a telephone interview with China Daily on Monday, the Shanghai Municipal Food Safety Commission Office director Yan Zuqiang said there is no evidence that Kobe beef, a delicacy produced in Japan's Hyogo Prefecture but banned from being imported to China because of mad cow disease, is being served or consumed in the city.

"They (restaurants) are bragging and deceiving. They have been given penalties and the beef was seized," Yan said. Imports of beef produced in areas affected by mad cow disease, including Japan, are strictly banned, he added.

The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said on Monday that cases of smuggling beef products from Japan have dropped in recent years.

Kobe beef is known for its flavor, tenderness and well-marbled fatty texture.

A recent investigation by China Central Television found that some restaurants in Beijing and Shanghai claimed they served the meat and tagged it at more than 2,000 yuan ($320) per kilogram in their restaurants.

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