The farm ministry will require that meat shops only label as “wagyu” (Japanese cattle) beef that is from cattle born and raised in Japan, ministry officials said Wednesday.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry will limit the labeling as recommended the same day in an interim report by a ministry panel studying ways to protect the wagyu genes as an intellectual property, they said.

Voluntary rules set by meat shops and other businesses stipulate that the wagyu label can be used only for beef from four breeds of Japanese beef cattle and cattle born through their mating. But the rules impose no ban on applying the label to beef from the four breeds of cattle raised abroad.

To avoid confusion, the ministry will call for amendments to the rules in order to limit the wagyu label to beef from the four breeds of beef cattle born and raised in Japan.

The ministry also intends to create a system to check whether cows are purely Japanese raised on the beef traceability law that monitors each cow by assigning an identification number to it.

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