Chicken at Subway only contains about 50 percent chicken DNA, study says

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ONTARIO, Canada – Chicken meat served at Subway restaurants may only contain about 50 percent chicken DNA.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had researchers at Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory test the chicken from several fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, A&W, Tim Hortons and Subway.

Chicken bought from a supermarket should test at 100 percent DNA, but meat that has been seasoned, marinated or prepared is expected to register at a lower percentage, according to the lab.

Most of the scores were between 85 and 90 percent chicken DNA. Except at Subway.

The oven roasted chicken scored 53.6 percent chicken DNA and the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (chicken strips) had just 42.8 percent chicken DNA, according to the CBC Marketplace investigation.

“Subway’s results were such an outlier that the team decided to test them again, biopsying five new oven roasted chicken pieces, and five new orders of chicken strips,” CBC News stated.

So what else is in the meat? According to the DNA testing, it’s soy.

However, Subway Canada issued a statement saying they “cannot confirm the veracity of the results of the lab testing.”

“However, we are concerned by the alleged findings you cite with respect to the proportion of soy content,” the CBC quoted Subway as stating. “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,” the statement continues. “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.”

Subway has issued the following statement regarding the report, ““Two independent laboratories testing Subway® chicken have found that alleged test results broadcast on Feb. 24 by the Canadian Television show, Marketplace, were false and misleading. Test results from laboratories in Canada and the U.S. clearly show that the Canadian chicken products tested had only trace amounts of soy, contradicting the accusations made during the broadcast of CBC Marketplace. Subway representatives immediately contacted the program and the lab that conducted the tests to inquire about the methodology and the testing process. The program and the lab declined to engage with except to share the results. In response, Subway sent samples of the Canadian products that Marketplace claimed contained 50% soy protein to Maxxam Analytics in Canada and Elisa Technologies, Inc., in Florida. The results from both labs found soy protein below 10 ppm, or less than 1%, in all tested samples. These findings are consistent with the low levels of soy protein that we add with the spices and marinade to help keep the products moist and flavorful.  The stunningly flawed test by Marketplace is a tremendous disservice to our customers. The safety, quality and integrity of our food is the foundation of our business. That’s why we took extra caution to test and retest the chicken. Our customers can  have confidence in our food. The allegation that our chicken is only 50% chicken is 100% wrong,” said SUBWAY President and CEO Suzanne Greco. Subway Chief of Food Safety Quality said, ” Our chicken is 100% white meat with seasonings, marinated, cooked and delivered to our restaurants. The chicken has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Through years of testing, we’ve never seen results like the program claimed.”  Subway has shared the results of the independent tests with Marketplace and the lab that conducted the flawed test. The company is demanding a retraction and apology.”

**On March 3, 2017 this story was updated to reflect the statement from Subway**