tech

Japan venture strives to spread its wagyu evaluation tech using AI

21 Comments

A university-launched venture in Japan has been striving to spread its meat quality evaluation technology using artificial intelligence, aiming to make the wagyu beef grading done by human eyes more precise, while using the data to improve cattle breeding.

MIJ labo Inc in Kushiro, Hokkaido, has developed cameras that use an AI system to calculate more than 10 factors such as the density and color of marbling by taking a picture of the surface of a carcass.

"A fair evaluation of luxury wagyu will be an advantage in marketing them overseas. I hope our products will be widely utilized," said Keigo Kuchida, a professor at Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine who developed the cameras and the analyzing system.

Since its founding in 2018, MIJ labo's cameras have been used in about 10 meat markets and research institutions in Japan and overseas including in the United States and Australia.

Currently, wagyu grading is done by Japan Meat Grading Association officials, who examine the surface of a carcass and check criteria such as the proportion that is edible, the density of the marbling as well as the firmness and texture of the meat.

This means the grading from C1 to the highest A5 is largely dependent on the judgement of the officials.

"Our technology has enabled more accurate evaluation," Kuchida said, adding he is aiming for the analyzed data to be used as a reference when official graders rank wagyu beef.

Kuchida, 56, first developed a camera in 1998 to make marbling classification more objective.

Since then, he has worked on improving the accuracy of analysis and camera miniaturization. The venture now sells three types of cameras with different shapes and prices.

The data collected during evaluations are also shared with cattle breeders via a cloud system provided by the company.

Since the quality of a fertile bull is estimated by the quality of its offspring, the data can help breeders choose appropriate stud bulls to produce better meat with more marbling, Kuchida said.

With other elements than marbling involved in determining the taste of beef, Kuchida said his next target is to develop a camera equipped with a sensor that can quantify flavor.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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AI-assisted wagyu evaluation tech is exactly what the world needs right now

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Great news! Bravo. Good job JT for bringing us this humanity enhancing news.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan meat the best of the world !!..

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Who has the best cows. Right.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Currently, wagyu grading is done by Japan Meat Grading Association officials.

And was there a problem with accuracy that made this necessary, or was this yet another misguided use of a technology “because we could.”

I assume the officials, who probably did a perfectly satisfactory job, are now unemployed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

it's a simple AI implementation of an ordinary task.

this tech is very simple and straight forward, anyone could do it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That's not AI. That's arithmetic.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Nowadays you can 3D print wagyu beef. What’s the point?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I seriously doubt this is real AI, it sounds like image recognition according to tightly set rules, but it would be great if the computer they are using spat a piece of ticker tape saying "the cheap cut of beef is the best, but you and the Mr Imperial Hotel o-kyakusama are cooking it wrong".

Getting computers to tell you what you want to hear is not AI.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Marketing. “Our beef is best because we have the tech to ‘prove’ it.”

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I’ll take an Angus sirloin any day.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A fair evaluation of luxury wagyu will be an advantage in marketing them overseas. 

When here in Japan most people cannot differentiate between wagyu and processed beef injected with fat to make it look like japanese beef. What good is it overseas when 99 percent of people have never heard of the word wagyu let alone seen one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AI is the new buzzword word, used by most without really knowing what AI is. Some are just using the word with the sole intention of giving their product added value and reason to mark up the price.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's not AI. That's arithmetic.

Japan is good at PR.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’ll take an Angus sirloin any day.

Really?

Wagyu beef have higher proportions of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) due to higher concentrations of oleic acid. MUFAs have little effect on total cholesterol and they are heart-healthy dietary fat because they can lower low-density lipoprotein LDL-cholesterol while increasing high-density lipoprotein HDL-cholesterol.

Angus = bad

Wagyu = good

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Angus = bad

Wagyu = good

Wagyu too greasy for most people over the age of about 25.

Wagyu - bad

Angus - good

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wagyu too greasy for most people over the age of about 25. 

Wagyu - bad

Angus - good

I couldn't agree more, Wagyu is just awful, greasy, and way over-hyped.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Peter Neil - the components you ascribed to Wagyu beef may actually be fact, but whether or not they realize a lowering of "bad" cholesterol and the raising of "good" has not been determined. Very little research has been published. With those having cholesterol problems, Salmon - and other fish - would appear to be a better alternative.

Wagyu is not what one would call a natural product. The process of feeding is highly regulated over the cows short life and includes large amounts of bean/grain and other formulas to achieve the high fat ratio. Most Wagyu raising fits the definition of factory farmed with the term free-range Wagyu being an oxymoron.

And from the article - "... a camera equipped with a sensor that can quantify flavor...".

And here's me thinking that the subjectivity of personal tastes differing from one to another as being "normal", but now a camera may well "equalize" our taste buds by taking the guessing out of it. A triumph for humankind?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Might as well just eat a tub of lard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A normal portion of Wagyu is fine. Too many western people eat a hunk of meat the size of a Toyota with no flavor and the consistency of a hockey puck.

Japan is 185th in obesity. Check out your country here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_obesity_rate

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm hopeless but the term Wagyu makes me think of my sweet doggie wagging his tail in delight, possibly over some nice beef on the kitchen counter (the not so little thief !). Maybe a wagging doggie is the best quality indicator? if they wag their tail it has to be good, lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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