So you head down to your local grocery store. Today is the day that you bite the bullet. You have seen the huge, delicious Kobe steaks, looking majestic beside their stepchild Prime USDA ribeyes for years. You told yourself that someday you would buy one of those bad boys. But the truth is, that’s not real Kobe beef. What you bought was an expensive fake advertisement. In fact, if you happen to have bought this steak before August 27, 2012, there was no possible way it was real Kobe beef because before then, it was illegal to import Kobe into the U.S. How in the world could they market these steaks as Kobe then? Well as it is true that the Kobe name is trademarked and protected by law in Japan, these laws are not recognized by the U.S. As long as the U.S. administrative agencies are concerned, if the beef part still comes from cows, it’s good to go. Just like the recent surge in the use of the unregulated label term “natural,” it is an adjective used mainly to confuse consumers and profit from that confusion. Furthermore, when the U.S. changed their importation laws last August, the small amount that is being imported today is going almost exclusively to high-end steakhouses; who will charge dearly for it. So for future reference, unless you are dining at a exclusive steakhouse, like the Old Homestead in New York and your paying $350 or more for your real Kobe steak, it’s certainly just another knock-off.