Subway swears its chicken is chicken and releases its own study

The subway chicken war isn't over.

A poultry analysis of various fast food restaurants from CBC Marketplace last week found that Subway's chicken may actually contain less chicken DNA than one would hope. Obviously, Subway wasn't too pleased with this study, and after releasing multiple statements disputing the report and demanding the piece be retracted, it released its own study.

The original CBC report conducted by Matt Harnden, a researcher at Trent University's Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory, found that the chicken used in some of Subway's wraps and sandwiches contains less than 50 percent chicken DNA, with the remaining majority being soy. Of the six sandwiches tested from various restaurants, Subway's oven roasted chicken and chicken strips were the worst offenders.

"The stunningly flawed test by Marketplace is a tremendous disservice to our customers," said Suzanne Greco, Subway president and chief executive, in a statement issued to the Washington Post Wednesday night. "The allegation that our chicken is only 50 percent chicken is 100 percent wrong."

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So Subway released its own study conducted by two independent laboratories in order to test the chicken from Canada, the Post reports. The Subway studies evaluated the soy protein in the chicken samples, and found the plant protein to be less than 1 percent of the sample.

CBC stood by its test results, posting the six page report for all to see on its site.

"Only the Subway samples had significant levels of plant DNA," the CBC wrote.

The CBC also cited Robert Hanner, biologist and associate director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

"DNA tests do not lie (especially when conducted multiple times), and anyone with access to a DNA laboratory could perform these tests," Hanner wrote.

The CBC also clarified part of its study, stating that "DNA tests don't reveal an exact percentage of the amount of chicken in the whole piece, but DNA experts have told Marketplace that the testing is a good indicator of the proportion of animal and plant DNA in the product."

Subway declined to talk on camera about its study with CBC, and show where and how its chicken is made.

Subway did not immediately respond to request for comment and additional information.

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