University study says Subway Canada chicken strips could contain less than 50 percent chicken DNA

Posted at 2:58 PM, Feb 27, 2017

According to one study, Subway Canada's chicken isn’t too “fresh.”

A DNA study by Trent University and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reveals that some chicken products from the sandwich chain contained less than 50 percent chicken DNA.

According to the CBC, researchers at Trent University sampled both the oven roasted chicken filets and the chicken strips that the Subway uses on its sandwiches in Canada. After testing six small samples of the filets and three small samples of the strips, the researchers ran a DNA test.

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The results showed that the filets contained just 53.6 percent chicken DNA. The strips were found to contain just 42.8 percent chicken DNA.

CBC reports that the rest of the DNA found in the chicken was soy — used either for either seasoning or filler.




Researchers also ran DNA tests for chicken products from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, A&W and Tim Horton’s — all of which contained at least 84.9 percent chicken DNA, and no more than 90 percent.

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Ben Bohrer, a food scientist at the the University of Guelph, told the CBC that fast food chicken is often a “restructured product” — or smaller bits of meat bound together. The additional chemicals added to the meat — while safe for consumption — are added to make the meat cheaper to produce, last longer and taste better.

Subway released the following response to the CBC.

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.

Read more about the CBC's study with Trent University here.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.