PETERBOROUGH, Canada --Subway has long been hailed as one of the healthiest fast food options, but a new report casts doubt on the chicken served in its Canadian restaurants.
Working with researchers from Trent University, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation conducted DNA tests on meat samples from Subway, McDonald's, Wendy's, A&W and Tim Hortons to determine exactly how much chicken was in each sandwich's patty.
The meat from every chain but Subway was found to contain between 84 and 90 percent chicken meat. Those looking to "eat fresh" at Subway, however, are only consuming 53.6 percent chicken meat, the analysis found.
After an initial round of testing, the team was so surprised at Subway's results that they returned to run additional tests on five additional samples to confirm their original findings.
It's important to note that the restaurants' samples were not expected to have 100 percent chicken DNA, as processing, seasoning and marinating procedures will bring down the overall ratio of chicken to other substances in the patty.
In Subway's case, the researchers said that soy protein comprised the majority of the mystery DNA in the chicken patties.
Subway fired back at the report, calling the test results "false and misleading." The company is demanding a retraction and apology.
Subway said it sent its Canadian chicken products to labs in Canada and Florida for testing, and the result was soy protein of less than 1 percent in all samples. The only soy is added with the spices and marinade to keep the chicken moist and preserve the flavor, the company said.
"The stunningly flawed test by Marketplace is a tremendous disservice to our customers," Subway President and CEO Suzanne Greco said. "The safety, quality and integrity of our food is the foundation of our business. That's why we took extra caution to
test and retest the chicken. Our customers can have confidence in our food. The allegation that our chicken is only 50 percent chicken is 100 percent wrong."
Subway also said it contacted the Canadian show Marketplace and its testing lab to ask about the testing methods used. They declined to answer those questions other than to share the results, according to Subway.