Is Kobe beef really what’s for dinner? According to a recent article by food writer Larry Olmsted, the Kobe beef trend we’re seeing U.S. restaurants, suppliers and storefronts advertising is misleading.

“You cannot buy Japanese Kobe beef in [the U.S.]. Not in stores, not by mail, and certainly not in restaurants. No matter how much you have spent, how fancy a steakhouse you went to, or which of the many celebrity chefs who regularly feature “Kobe beef” on their menus you believed, you were duped. You may have had an imitation from the Midwest, Great Plains, South America or Australia, where they produce a lot of what I call “Faux-be” beef.”

Kobe beef in the U.S. is creating a transparency issue in the food system As Olmsted mentions, the Kobe label in this case is being used solely as a marketing ploy as it is illegal to import or even hand carry any Japanese beef into the country. He says these statements are just a con that U.S. food industry is employing to justify a higher selling price for the supposedly high-end beef.

When it comes to transparency, claiming Kobe is more than likely creating a step back for the food system as a whole. Making false claims, whether on the food label or on a menu, hinders credibility in answering the overarching consumer-driven question: “Where does my food come from?”

Just take a quick look at how Olmsted’s article is generating buzz, mistrust and influencing consumer opinion on social media:

Kobe beef in the U.S. is creating buzz on Twitter like this post.

Food system transparency is an issue with the US Kobe beef scam

So what do you think … is more regulation needed in the food system? Or should we rely on social-media generated transparency to force out false claims naturally? Is it necessary for the food system to further inform the general public about falsified claims? Share your stance on this issue below.