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Business trends

Japanese meat processors ride global wagyu boom

Itoham and Starzen boost exports of high-end beef as home market shrinks

Wagyu exports to Taiwan skyrocketed last year after a ban was lifted that September.

TOKYO -- Japanese meat purveyors Itoham Foods and Starzen are preparing to export up to twice as much wagyu beef to counter the impact of a stagnant market at home while satisfying the global appetite for the high-end product.

Itoham will increase its number of meat-processing centers from four to six. The plants will conform to U.S. sanitary standards, which are stricter than those for Japan and other Asian markets. The company plans to develop demand by producing cuts of wagyu that lend easily to thin slices of meat.

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