The chicken on your Subway chicken sandwich might contain less actual chicken that you thought (video below).
As part of a CBC Marketplace investigation, DNA researchers tested chicken from five different fast food chains in Canada. CBC's investigation found Subway restaurants to have significantly lower amounts of real chicken in their chicken products than other chains, at around just 50 percent.
The other half of the chicken product is soy.
Testing also showed that Subway's chicken products contain around a quarter less protein than found in the home-cooked equivalent and up to 10 times the sodium of unprocessed, unseasoned chicken.
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A team at Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory conducted the tests, which examined Subway's chicken strips along with chicken sandwich samples from McDonald's, Wendy's, A&W, Tim Hortons and Subway.
The chicken samples from McDonald's averaged 89.4 percent chicken, Wendy's averaged 88.5 percent chicken, A&W averaged 89.4 percent and Tim Hortons came in at 86.5. A fresh piece of uncooked chicken should have 100 percent chicken DNA, but seasonings and cooking agents are expected to lower that number.
Subway's chicken products, however, resulted in an initial average percentage of chicken DNA so much lower than the other restaurants, researchers decided to test completely new samples to be sure there hadn't been a mistake.
Subway oven-roasted chicken averaged 53.6 percent real chicken, and its chicken strips averaged only 42.8 percent chicken.
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Subway disagreed with the results of the investigation in their statement to CBC Marketplace, saying: "Our chicken strips and oven roasted chicken contain [1 percent] 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 percent] white meat chicken which is marinated, oven roasted and grilled."
This isn't the first time Subway has faced scrutiny over its food. In 2015, environmental groups petitioned the restaurant to stop using chicken containing antibiotics, and in 2014, popular blogger Vani "The Food Babe" Hari gathered more than 50,000 signatures to petition Subway to remove a potentially dangerous chemical from its bread.