Each week, 15,000 pounds of fresh “Wagyu Beef,” the most expensive beef on the planet, makes an incredible global journey from Japan to the U.S., thanks to the expert perishable-product logistical arrangements by Prime Fresh Handling (PFH), a division of Miami-based Prime Group.
“To assist one major meat-and-seafood importer client, we arrange weekly ocean freighter transport to LAX for large shipments of fresh Wagyu beef,” explains Cristina Moscoso, PFH general manager-West Coast, who adds that each shipment’s boxes usually fill two 40-foot-long, reefer containers.”
Special Products Get Special Care
“As a new service, we’re also working around the clock to sort through and label the beef cuts before they’re even sent to our importer client,” she reports. “Undertaking this inventory optimization step is a value-added benefit for clients, and our goal is to assure the Wagyu shipments are labeled properly and arrive on time and safely.” That importer client, in turn, supplies retail markets with the high-value beef.
What’s, so special about this beef? Here’s our version of “Wagyu Beef 101. In the Japanese language, “wa” means “Japanese,” while “gyu” translates into “cow.” Four Wagyu beef breeds – Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn – are carefully bred with an eye toward genetics. As a result, they’re predisposed to have well-marbled beef of a higher quality than most steaks.
Some American producers also raise the Japanese Black and Japanese Brown breeds. But in 1997, Japan declared Wagyu a national treasure, banning further exportation of these cattle. Today, most Wagyu beef is imported from Japan, although some comes from the U.S. or elsewhere.
Look Out for Taste-Bud Overload
Taste-wise, this well-marbled beef is juicier than a regular steak. Its fat melts at a lower temperature, giving the meat a buttery, ultra-rich flavor. It also contains more omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that emit an appealing aroma while the beef is cooking. For yummy recipes, we’d suggest visiting the American Wagyu Association’s site.
Whether dining at home or in a fine restaurant, though, people usually enjoy smaller three- or four-ounce Wagyu portions, not as a huge steak on a plate. The reason is two-fold. A huge Wagyu cut could both overload the taste buds and the diner’s budget. “Wagyu beef is considered a high-value product, and a 12-to-15-pound box could go for $3,000 depending on the cut and supplier,” Moscoso stresses.
Not Our First Time at the Rodeo
So, this product is handled at every step of the transport chain with great care. In fact, watching PFH orchestrate the weekly Wagyu delivery is akin to taking in a highly orchestrated stage show. The company moves quickly and meticulously at every step. After the beef arrives in the U.S. and is inspected, it’s released to the PFH team, which picks it up using a secure, pre-alerted carrier. Then the company brings in an exclusive crew to work on it, sorting the boxes per supplier and by “cut of beef” with color-coded labels.
Once sorted, a new crew rechecks everything, as small details are critical. Boxes are labeled, all labels must be facing in one direction, and Prime Fresh workers match the quantities of boxes per pallet. The customer is informed of any discrepancies, and then a truck is loaded to deliver the precious cargo to the importer client – usually early the next day.
Throughout the beef’s journey, it’s also transported safely at a constant 34°F, plus PFH sends emails, photos and feedback of the shipment’s status to the customer, noting any changes.
The company’s West Coast station staff also is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certified, assuring that procedures follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s safety management system for controlling food hazards.
So, why not talk a PFH customer service agent about your time- and temperature-sensitive cargo transport and handling needs? After all this isn’t their first time at the rodeo! PFH is experienced in supply chain handling for everything from seafood to fresh produce and, of course, meats and other high-value international products.
“Definitely, if ever your staff or your down-line customers ask, ‘where’s our beef’ while tracking a valuable cargo that’s gone astray, call PFH instead to handle your shipping needs,” says Moscoso. “At Prime Fresh Handling, we always know exactly where our Wagyu and other perishable international shipments are at every moment, and we’ll use the same care with yours.”
Whether it’s a box, a pallet, or a companywide logistics operation, PFH is highly skilled in achieving safe on-time delivery of temperature-sensitive material and products between any point of origin and destination around the globe.
PFH is known as a global leader in perishables transportation for such commodities as fresh produce, fish, cut flowers, and plants. At company warehouses and handling facilities worldwide, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, bar coding, labeling, and temperature monitoring to guarantee a consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.
For information, contact PFH General Manager-West Coast Cristina Moscoso at 323-328-8650, via email at email@example.com, or visit www.primefresh.com.