Subway Fires Back At “50% Chicken” Claim

A recent report out of Canada claimed that testing of Subway’s chicken revealed that the meat was only 50% chicken with the rest made from soy. Now the sandwich chain is countering that report with science of its own, saying that two independent tests confirm that Subway’s chicken is… well, chicken.

Subway announced Monday that independent tests by two different labs found the chicken used at its Canadian stores does not contain a significant amount of soy.

“The allegation that our chicken is only 50% chicken is 100% wrong,” Subway President and CEO Suzanne Greco said in a statement.

The tests, conducted by Maxxam Analytics in Canada [PDF] and Elisa Technologies, Inc. in Florida [PDF], used an enzyme-linked process to quantify how much soy was in Subway’s chicken, Ars Technica reports.

The two labs conducted separate tests to determine the amount of soy protein in the chicken samples. One lab used an antibody that binds to soy flour proteins, while another test used known concentrations of soy proteins for comparison.

Both labs determined that less than 1% soy protein was present in all samples. Subway claims that this 1% is a result of marinades and spices used on the chicken.

Specifically, Elisa detected 3 parts-per-million or less of soy proteins and Maxxam detected 5.3 ppm of soy protein in the chicken. Subway contends that either figure translates to less than 1% soy content in the chicken.

The traces of soy, Subway says, are the result of a small percent of remaining marinade ingredients, which help keeps the chicken moist and flavorful.

Subway claims that CBC Marketplace used factually incorrect data to suggest the chicken Subway serves might not be all chicken.

“The claims made in the story are false and misleading,” Greco said. “We use only chicken – with added spices, seasoning and marinade. Producing high-quality food for our customers is our highest priority.”

The company went on to describe the ingredients in its oven roast chicken and chicken strips.

• Oven roasted chicken is made from chicken breast meat, water, seasoning (sea salt, sugar, chicken stock, salt, flavours, canola oil, onion powder, garlic powder, spice, chicken fat, honey), soy protein, sodium phosphates.

• Chicken strips are made from boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, water, soy protein concentrate, modified potato starch, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, maltodextrin, yeast extract, flavours, spices, dextrose, onion powder, caramelized sugar, paprika, chicken broth, vinegar solids, paprika extract.

The company also notes that every item on its menu, including the chicken, is inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and all offerings meet or exceed CFIA standards.

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