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Subway Chicken Less Than 50% Actual Chicken

Subway Chicken Questionable

According to a new study, some Subway chicken may be less than half chicken.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) recently tested chicken from five major fast food restaurants. DNA researcher Matt Harnden at Trent University used DNA analysis to test chicken sandwiches and wraps from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, A&W, Tim Horton’s, and Subway.

Four of these restaurants serve up chicken products that contain 80 – 90 percent chicken but the two Subway chicken products — oven roasted chicken and chicken strips — came in at a shocking 53.6 and 42.8 percent respectively.

If you’re wondering why the others were less than 100 percent, it is because seasoning, marinating, or otherwise processing the meat brings down its overall percentage of pure chicken. The research team initially thought they had made a mistake because of how low the Subway chicken scored. So they tested it again, biopsying five new oven roasted chicken pieces and five new chicken strips.

They found that these two subway chicken items were roughly half chicken DNA and half soy protein.

Subway chicken

Subway Responds

Subway’s response was rather vague and did not exactly refute the findings.

SUBWAY Canada cannot confirm the veracity of the results of the lab testing you had conducted. However, we are concerned by the alleged findings you cite with respect to the proportion of soy content. Our chicken strips and oven roasted chicken contain 1% or less of soy protein. We use this ingredient in these products as a means to help stabilize the texture and moisture. All of our chicken items are made from 100% white meat chicken which is marinated, oven roasted and grilled. We tested our chicken products recently for nutritional and quality attributes and found it met our food quality standards. We will look into this again with our supplier to ensure that the chicken is meeting the high standard we set for all of our menu items and ingredients.

I do not find these results to be all that surprising. Most fast food restaurants participate in very high-level food wizardry the produces some incredibly complicated products with long shelf lives. Of course, industry reps will tell you that this type of Frankensteinery makes the food last longer, taste better, and allows for a better price point as well. I would personally rather pay a bit more for my food and be able to know what I am eating. The chicken tested contained an average of 16 ingredients.

The Subway chain of sandwich stores was one of the first companies that I recall participating in widespread “health washing.” That is, attempting to cast their food in a healthy glow in order to make more sales. To that end, they adopted the slogan “Eat Fresh.” A slogan that is a little hard to swallow given the findings of CBC’s study.

Photo Credit: Ippei Suzuki

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