The piece of South African Wagyu meat which received an exceptionally high marbling score. Photo: Wagyu SA
  • A piece of local Wagyu rib-eye meat just received an extraordinary score for its marbling.
  • Marbling - the white streaks of fat that run through a cut – gives meat its juiciness and flavour.
  • According to a local expert, a similar piece of meat in the UK could fetch R16,000/kg.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A piece of Wagyu ribeye meat from South Africa has achieved the highest marbling score ever in the country - perhaps in the world.

Marbling is the white flecks and streaks of fat that run through a cut of beef. The fat melts into the meat when heated, and adds to the cut’s flavour, tenderness and juiciness. Wagyu meat has much more marbling than other breeds. The more marbling a piece of meat has, the higher its marbling score.

In Japan, where the different Wagyu breeds originally come from, the scorecard goes to 12, where the cut of meat is almost white with marbling. In Australia, one of the biggest producers in the world, the highest rating is 9.

A piece of rib-eye muscle meat from a carcass in South Africa just scored 15 in South Africa, Landbou.com reports.

Dr Michael Bradfield, CEO of industry organisation Wagyu South Africa, told Landbou.com that the meat came from a cross between Wagyu and Angus breeds.

Meat belonging to a cross-breed can be certified as Wagyu if paternity can be proven with a DNA test, and if it complies with other regulations like being hormone-free and a marbling rate of above 3, Bradfield said.

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A prime steak with that marbling can reach between R800/kg and R1,000/kg locally – and in the UK, up to R16,000/kg. The carcass, which is owned by Delmas meat supplier and processor Morgan Beef, will be auctioned on the online platform WagyuX on Wednesday.

Landbou.com reports that a high-tech Japanese camera, which costs R800,000, is now being used to determine the marbling score of local beef.

Wagyu SA sent a photo of the piece of meat to professor Keigo Kuchida of Obihiro University in Japan, a Wagyu expert. He described the cut as excellent, Landbou.com reports.

Wagyu was first introduced in South Africa in 1999, and the number of cattle has been growing fast.

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