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Not So Much With the Chicken in the Sandwich

Chicken sandwiches at Subway may contain less chicken than consumers think, according to CBC Marketplace.

CBC Marketplace enlisted Matt Harnden from Trent University's Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory to test the DNA make-up of six chicken dishes, one each from McDonald's, Wendy's, A&W, and Tim Hortons and two from Subway. CBC Marketplace notes that while plain chicken from a grocery store should come back as 100 percent chicken, prepared foods may come in below that because of marinades, seasoning, and other processing.

Harnden and his colleagues obtained two samples of meat from five sandwiches or wraps and one sample of the chicken strips. They divvied these samples into three smaller ones for testing and averaged the DNA content across the samples. Most, they report, had high chicken content. For example, the A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe averaged 89.4 percent chicken DNA, while the Tim Hortons Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap averaged 86.5 percent chicken DNA, CBC Marketplace says.

But because the results from Subway differed so much from the other restaurants, the team conducted a re-test on new samples. Still, on average, the oven-roasted chicken came back as 53.6 percent chicken DNA and the chicken strips were 42.8 percent chicken DNA, according to CBC Marketplace, which notes that much of the remainder was soy DNA.

In a statement, Subway says it "cannot confirm the veracity of the results," but is "concerned by the alleged findings." It adds that their chicken strips and oven-roasted chicken are supposed to contain 1 percent or less soy protein and that it will be looking into the matter with its supplier.