There’re a lot of dishonest business owners out there. We’re not talking about a small family-owned restaurant. We’re talking about multi-billion dollar revenue fast food chain such as Subway Restaurants. Business has been bad that while Subway opened 911 new locations in the U.S. in 2015, it closed 877. Its revenue dropped 4.3% to US$1.11 billion in the same year.
Fast-casual chains such as Panera Bread Co. have been taking share from Subway restaurants in the U.S. As Subway struggles to keep pace with other rivals such as McDonald’s, a new scandal hits the restaurant. CBC Marketplace investigation has just found out that the Subway’s chicken sandwich actually contain only half the chicken.
CBC Marketplace apparently ordered DNA analysis of several fast-food chicken sandwiches – McDonalds, Wendy’s, A&W, Subway and Tim Hortons. The chicken test was conducted at Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. While samples from other restaurants found to contain close to 100% chicken DNA, Subway sandwiches didn’t.
Most contained between 80% and 90% chicken DNA. A&W’s Chicken Grill Deluxe averaged 89.4% chicken DNA, while McDonald’s Country Chicken weighed in at 84.9%. Wendy’s grilled Chicken Sandwich, meanwhile, scored 88.5% and Tim Hortons’ Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap averaged 86.5%. In comparison, grocery store chicken is 100%.
But Subway’s oven roasted chicken scored only 53.6% chicken DNA, while the chicken strips were found to have just 42.8% chicken DNA. The rest of the so-called chicken turns out to be soy filler disguised as a component of the company’s chicken. Is Subway cheating in this food scandal? Subway says the report was “absolutely false and misleading”.
Subway says – “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 do not know how they produced such unreliable and factually incorrect data, but we are insisting on a full retraction.”
While Subway stands behind its chicken, CBC Marketplace is adamant about its report and has released the test results, including additional detail about the methodology and investigation. Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory also stands by its test results. Subway Canada, however, had earlier told CBC that it’s chicken do “contain 1% or less of soy protein.”
Consumers were, of course, angered with Subway’s latest scandal. Toronto resident Irena Valenta said – “That’s misrepresentation.” But this is not the first time Subway’s chicken has caused fowl play. In 2015, its chicken meat was found to be heavily tainted with antibiotics. Subway was then forced to remove poultry raised with antibiotics from its 27,000-plus of its U.S. locations.
Earlier in 2014, Subway faced criticism and backlash after a health blogger criticized its bread for containing azodicarbonamide, an ingredient found in yoga mats as well as food served at McDonald’s and Starbucks. Azodicarbonamide was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner. Subway later phased it out of its products.
The investigation by CBC Marketplace has also found a more serious issue besides Subway’s cheating case. In general, according to the report, the fast-food chicken tested had “about a quarter less protein” than home-cooked chicken, and sodium levels “7 to 10 times what they would be in a piece of unadulterated chicken.”
So if you think Subway (or other brands for that matter) is the healthiest fast food you can get simply because their posters say they use all natural ingredients with no artificial flavours, colours and preservatives, think again. The good news is – Subway’s chicken which is not actually chicken is found in Canada. Subway in your country could be real chicken after all.