Subway’s oven-roasted chicken may not be what you think it is

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

A new report says that the chicken served at Subway, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s isn’t 100% chicken meat.

Researchers in Canada tested the DNA in multiple products from the fast-food chains and found that Subway’s oven-roasted chicken is only 53.6% chicken and the sweet onion chicken teriyaki strips are only 42.8% chicken, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Most of the remaining DNA in the Subway items belongs to soy, according to test, which was conducted by Matt Harnden, a DNA researcher at Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory.

Subway dispute’s the study’s findings.

In a statement to the CBC, Subway Canada said its recipe “calls for 1% or less of soy protein in our chicken products.” The company said it will “look into this” with its supplier to make sure the chicken is meeting its standards.

Subway also provided the following statement to Business Insider:

“The accusations made by CBC Marketplace about the content of our chicken are absolutely false and misleading. 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.”

The researchers also found that Wendy’s grilled-chicken sandwich contains 88.5% chicken DNA and that McDonald’s grilled-chicken sandwich contains 84.9% chicken DNA, according to the CBC.

The remaining ingredients in the sandwiches are seasonings like honey and onion powder, as well as industrial ingredients that are safe for human consumption, according to the CBC.

Wendy’s and McDonald’s responded to the report in statements to CBS Los Angeles:

From Wendy’s:

“Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a whole muscle chicken breast fillet; not reformed or restructured. In addition, we use only 100% Canadian chicken in Canada. For our grilled chicken sandwich and other grilled chicken products (salads, wraps, etc.) we use a juicy, all-white meat chicken breast fillet, marinated in a blend of herbs. We do not provide ingredient percentages as we consider that information to be proprietary.”

From McDonald’s:

“Our grilled chicken sandwich is made with 100% seasoned chicken breast. The chicken breast is (a single piece) trimmed for size to fit the sandwich. We don’t release the percentage of each ingredient for competitive reasons, but on the nutrition centre people can see that our grilled chicken includes seasoning and other ingredients, just like at home.”

Read the full CBC story »