New Study Says Subway’s “Chicken” isn’t 100% Chicken

Dining out and think you’re eating healthy by choosing chicken instead beef? Maybe not.

Canadian news agency CBC recently did a DNA analysis analysis of the poultry in several popular grilled chicken sandwiches and wraps found at least one fast food restaurant isn’t serving up nearly as much of the key ingredient as people may think.

Pure, unadulterated white breast meat chicken should register as 100%, but obviously salt, marinades and other seasonings would bring that number down… slightly.

A Peterborough, Ont.-based team tested the meat of the following fast-food chain and found these percentages chicken DNA:

  • Subway Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich: 53.6%
  • Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (chicken strips): 42.8%
  • McDonald’s Country Chicken – Grilled: 84.9%
  • Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 88.5%
  • A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe:  89.4%
  • Tim Hortons’ Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap: 86.5%

As you can see, Subway’s chicken appears to be around 50%… something else.

Subway representatives are disputing this claim, saying that they’re recipe calls for 1% or less of soy protein and that their chicken should therefore be 99% pure white meat.

Update (3/1/2017): In a new statement to Ars, a Subway Spokesperson now says that the company wants a full retraction of CBC’s findings, calling them “absolutely false and misleading.” The statement went on:

Our chicken is 100% white meat with seasonings, marinated and delivered to our stores as a finished, cooked product. 

We have advised them of our strong objections. We do not know how they produced such unreliable and factually incorrect data, but we are insisting on a full retraction. Producing high quality food for our customers is our highest priority. This report is wrong and it must be corrected.