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Study Claims Some Fast Food Chicken is Only 42% Actual Chicken

anna1311, Ron Chapple Stock  -- via Thinkstock
anna1311, Ron Chapple Stock — via Thinkstock

A recent study that tested the DNA of, let’s just say “chicken,” at different fast food restaurants found that it’s not always 100% chicken. In fact, one popular chain’s “chicken” is less than half chicken.

Dude, I get it. Sometimes these food studies can be misleading. Remember when those stories about Taco Bell’s meat only being 35% beef went wide? Well, that figure turned out to be closer to 88% beef, the other 12% being a mixture of seasonings and such. It’s pretty common knowledge that there’s more to taco meat than just the beef.

Then there was the fuss over Subway having bread that contain some chemical that was also found in yoga mats. Big deal right? Wrong. Everybody made such a big deal out of the chemical, which is found in a ton of other fast food and regular food products. However, internet hysteria — a phenomenon which just entered its golden age during the last election — led to Subway having to apologize and very publicly remove the “yoga mat chemical” from their bread.

Now Subway has found themselves in the middle of another internet uproar abot the contents of their food, that, if correct, is a little more justified. A recent Canadian study, that tested the DNA of several different types of fast food chicken, claims that the chicken used at Subway is comprised of only 42-53% actual chicken. Their oven roasted chicken clocked in at an average of 53.6% actual chicken content, while the chicken strips only contained 42.8%. So what made up the rest of Subway’s chicken? For the most part — soy, according to the study commissioned by CBC Marketplace.

While it is true that any chicken containing seasonings, marinade, and the like would not test at 100%, less than half actual chicken in a solid chicken product seems inexcusable, especially when competitors fared so much better than they did.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken — 84.9%
Tim Hortons Chipotle Chicken — 86.5%
Wendy’s Grilled Chicken — 88.5%
A&W Grilled Chicken — 89.4%

Subway Canada initially responded to the study with the following statement:

“SUBWAY Canada cannot confirm the veracity of the results of the lab testing you had conducted. However, we are concerned by the alleged findings you cite with respect to the proportion of soy content. Our chicken strips and oven roasted chicken contain 1% or less of soy protein. We use this ingredient in these products as a means to help stabilize the texture and moisture. All of our chicken items are made from 100% white meat chicken which is marinated, oven roasted and grilled.”

After their initial response, Subway Canada refuted the findings completely and are now calling for a retraction of the study, saying, “This report is wrong and it must be corrected.” Unfortunately, we are living in the heyday of “alternative facts,” where beliefs trump scientifically proven truths. In other words — it may take a while before this one is resolved. In the meantime, maybe they could come up with an “alternative” name for this chicken, like “Soyken” or “Chikin.”

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