The word Wagyu means Japanese beef. The Japan Meat Grading Association (JMGA) grades the beef according to Yield Grade (A to C) and Meat Quality Grade (1 to 5).
Yield Grade refers to the proportion of meat in the cow that can be eaten. The highest grade is A which means more meat (more than 72% of the cow) is edible. The other grades are B and C which refers to average and below-average respectively.
Meat Quality Grade rates the meat according to the marbling, as well as the texture, firmness and colour. The score ranges from 1 to 5. The highest score is 5 which means high marbling content, and excellent firmness and colour. In addition, there is an overall Beef Marbling Score (BMS) which is used to gauge the marbling content. Marbling refers to the intramuscular fat and appears as a marble-like pattern. This score ranges from 1 to 12. The meaning of the BMS is as follows:
- BMS = 1 (Poor)
- BMS = 2 (Below Average)
- BMS = 3 to 4 (Average) Quality score of 3 or 4)
- BMS = 5 to 7 (Good)
- BMS = 8 to 12 (Excellent)
The Yield Grade and Meat Quality Grade is used in combination to derive the standard grading. The top grading is A5. This is the highest quality of meat, with excellent marbling and taste for consumers.
Below is a table to further illustrate the Japanese Wagyu Grading.