In order to ensure fair trading, beef in Japan is currently graded by the Japan Meat Grading Association on the basis of the yield grade and meat quality grade.
The yield grade refers to the ratio of meat to the total weight of the carcass, and is classified into 3 grades from A to C, with A providing a higher yield. The meat quality grade is classified into five grades from 1 to 5, based on four criteria: fat marbling; the colour and brightness of the meat; its firmness and texture; and the colour and brightness of the fat. The lowest of the four individual grades becomes the final grade allocated to the meat.
A thorough grading system of 15 grades (using a combination of the two above-mentioned elements) ensures a clear indication of Wagyu meat quality and yield grade.