Subway's Chicken Got DNA Tested & the Results Aren't Pretty

by The LIVESTRONG.COM Team ; Updated March 02, 2017

When you stroll into Subway and order a chicken sandwich because you’re trying to be healthy, you probably assume that what you’re getting is actual chicken. It would be nice if that was the case, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, however, it isn’t.

According to a DNA test carried out by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Subway’s oven-roasted chicken patties contain a mere 53.6 percent chicken DNA, while the chain’s chicken strips have a shocking 42.8 percent. So what’s the other half of Subway’s chicken made from? Soy, according to the disturbing CBC study.

Soy is cheaper than poultry, which is good for Subway’s bottom line, but not so good for customers that assume they’re eating fowl. This misrepresentation of ingredients is problematic because customers could be allergic to soy and have an adverse reaction to the so-called chicken.

Not to mention, more than 90 percent of soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified, and the soy typically used in fast-food products is actually refined soy protein products. Unsurprisingly, the CBC found that the fast-food chicken had “about a quarter less protein than you would get in its home-cooked equivalent” and about 10 times the sodium.

The CBC tested chicken products at four other fast-food chains as well, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, A&W and Tim Hortons. The chicken “meat” from those chains averaged between 84.9 and 89.4 percent chicken, with A&W products being the highest percentage chicken and Subway being the lowest. The fact that Subway’s chicken was a huge outlier in CBC’s fast-food chicken DNA test is not a good look for the sandwich chain.

Subway representatives responded to the findings, first expressing their concern, then stating, “Our chicken strips and oven-roasted chicken contain 1 percent or less of soy protein. All of our chicken items are made from 100 percent white-meat chicken which is marinated, oven-roasted and grilled.”

Either CBC’s multiple tests were inaccurate or Subway is pulling facts about its poultry out of the sky. We’re going to put our money on the latter.

—Erin Mosbaugh

Erin has made telling stories about food her profession. You can find those stories in Food & Wine, LA Weekly, Serious Eats, KCET, Robb Report and First We Feast.

What Do YOU Think?

Would this information keep you from eating Subway? What is your go to order at Subway? What do you eat when you want to be healthy on the go? Let us know in the comments.

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