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Subway: Tests show only "trace" amounts of soy in its chicken

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Latest MoneyWatch headlines 01:08

Subway says lab tests commissioned by the sandwich chain show its chicken had only trace amounts of soy.

That comes after a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. show reported that tests showed only about half the DNA from Subway chicken samples was from chicken. The rest was mostly from soy, the news program CBC Marketplace concluded.

After calling the report “false and misleading,” Subway followed up by saying it sent chicken samples to two labs and the results from both found soy protein to be less than 1 percent. The sandwich chain said it used samples from the supplier that provides products to all its Canadian locations. 

“The stunningly flawed test by Marketplace is a tremendous disservice to our customers. The safety, quality and integrity of our food is the foundation of our business,” Subway CEO Suzanne Greco said in a statement. “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.”

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Subway said it uses a different supplier in the U.S., but that the recipe for the product is similar. It says soy is an ingredient it uses in the marinade and seasoning for its chicken.

The CBC has stood by its report, saying Wednesday it tested multiple Subway chicken samples from various locations in southern Ontario. It noted that DNA tests don’t reveal the exact amount of chicken in a product, but are a good indicator of its proportion of animal DNA.

The study said Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory tested the poultry in popular chicken sandwiches. The researchers found that most of the scores were close to 100 percent chicken at McDonald’s (MCD), Wendy’s (WEN), A&W and Tim Horton’s.

Subway said it shared its results with Marketplace and the lab that conducted the flawed test. The company is demanding a retraction and an apology.

The CBC didn’t immediately respond to Subway’s tests.

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