This week, global fast food chain Subway, has found itself in hot water again, after claims surfaced that his chicken isn’t chicken at all, but rather some type of alternative meat product.
This PR nightmare started when a show called Marketplace, broadcasted on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) conducted an investigation into the grilled chicken products served at various fast-food restaurants. They presented samples from several restaurants for DNA testing.
Subway’s chicken “was found to contain only about half chicken DNA”, while the rest was soy. In comparison, McDonald’s chicken products were found to have around 85% chicken DNA, while Wendy’s was 88%.
Subway forcefully replied with studies of its own. The company allegedly submitted samples of its chicken to two independent labs, both found the product “had only trace amounts of soy.”
Suzanne Greco, Subway’s CEO said in a statement: “The stunningly flawed test by Marketplace is a tremendous disservice to our customers. The allegation that our chicken is only 50% chicken is 100% wrong.”
CBC has responded to Subway’s rebuttal, saying: “Marketplace stands by its report. How could lab results possibly differ so much? While many media outlets took the results to mean that the chicken is only half chicken, the reality of DNA testing is slightly more nuanced.”
The CBC continues on explaining that “DNA tests don’t reveal an exact percentage of the amount of chicken in the whole piece,” it referenced a food scientist who says the tests are a pretty reliable indicator of how much soy Subway’s chicken contains.
Chicken or something like it:
The exact composition of Subway’s chicken remains disputed, but it’s definitely not 100% chicken. According to the company’s website, its chicken strips contain the following ingredients: “boneless skinless chicken breast with rib meat, water, [and] 2 percent or less [of] soy protein concentrate, modified potato starch, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, maltodextrin, yeast extract, flavors, natural flavors, dextrose, caramelized sugar, paprika, vinegar solids, paprika extract, [and] chicken broth.”
Last year, Subway added a premium “rotisserie-style” pulled chicken product to the menu, after apparently many of its customers haven’t been finding its chicken strips quite “chicken-y” enough
This is not the first time Subway has been attacked for its ingredients. In 2015, the company removed an ingredient called azodicarbonamide, after health food blogger FoodBabe petitioned the company to remove it from their bread. Azodicarbonamide is a dough conditioner commonly used in commercially-made breads, is also found in various other products such as yoga mats.