There’s a fascinating, 3-part article by travel and food writer Larry Olmsted at Forbes.Com on “Food’s Biggest Lie – The Great Kobe Beef Scam.” The thrust of the piece is that (a) Kobe beef has a special definition under Japanese law that is not recognized by U.S. law, (b) “real” Kobe beef is not exported to the United States, and (c) the now ubiquitous “Kobe” beef in the U.S. is simply “Faux-be” beef seeking to capitalize on the excellent reputation of the real thing.
Most notably, Olmsted states as follows with regard to the lack of U.S. regulation on the meaning of “Kobe” beef:
This is not an oversight, as in, “hey, we forgot to regulate the labeling of Kobe beef.” This is part of a pattern of deliberate actions going back well over a century on the part of the Federal government to actively ignore foreign trademarks and intellectual property claims in order to support domestic industries. It has very much been done on purpose, and continues to be done on purpose, at the expense of the American consumer (and foreign producers). It is also stunningly hypocritical, and flies directly in the face of the government’s deep pocketed attempts to combat piracy in the arenas of music, film, technology, and software.
Quite provocative — what do you think? For the complete series, see this post on the author’s final thoughts which has links to parts 1, 2 and 3 of the article.