FYI, That Subway Chicken You’re Eating Is Only 50 Percent Chicken

Here’s something that will ruin Subway chicken sandwiches forever: The « chicken » they’re serving is allegedly only 50 percent chicken, according to a DNA test. Yes, someone gave a piece of Subway chicken a DNA test , and it’s like an episode of Maury with the chicken and the Subway sandwich and Maury’s like « you are not the father, sort of. » I love science!

The brain behind this Canadian study — which you probably wish you could forget now, but you can’t, sorry — is researcher Matt Harnden, from Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory . In addition to testing the poultry at Subway, he tested the poultry from five other fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, which were found to be between 86 and 90 percent chicken. FYI, according to the study, only an unadulterated piece of chicken from a store should come in at 100 percent chicken DNA. Things like seasoning, marinating, or any type of cooking — all part and parcel of the fast food business — brings that number down. (So, basically, it’s not expected that a piece of chicken from a fast food restaurant would come in at 100 percent chicken.)


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That being said, the result of Subways 50 percent chicken DNA was very low compared to the other chains — so low, in fact, that researchers tested it twice. Subway’s oven-roasted chicken came out to be 53.6 percent chicken, and their chicken strips were found to have only 42.8 percent chicken. So, what’s the rest of the DNA? Soy. The protein from soybeans is often used as a replacement for animal protein .

Subway is not convinced, however. In a statement to Marketplace , the chain said they’re « concerned, » and are disputing the lab’s findings. Here’s the full statement:

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.


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