What’s Really In Your Chicken Sandwich?

Fast food is usually as tasty as it is convenient but nobody ever really expects it to be healthy. What consumers should expect, however, is that it is, in fact, food. While we are all keenly aware that fast food is not the healthiest, you may not be aware that sometimes these items are not, exactly, what the menu claims they are.

For example, do you know what is in the chicken they serve at chains like McDonald’s, Subway, and Wendy’s?

DNA tests might argue that these items are not 100 percent chicken (even if the ads and menu claim them to be so). Lab test results suggest that soy is present in the chicken served in Subway Canada locations. The company argues that only the chicken which has been marinate, oven-roasted, and grilled is 100 percent; and that the plain oven-roasted chicken breasts and chicken strips do, in fact, contain a little soy. However, that soy is added to stabilize and texturize the protein. More importantly, of course, soy is perfectly healthy to eat, especially in moderation so there should be no concern over this at all.

Unfortunately, a recent independent test performed at the Trent University DNA laboratory (Peterborough, Ontario) showed that the “Oven Roasted Chicken”patty items only registered 53.6 percent chicken DNA and the “Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki” strips registered only 42.8 percent.

In a statement, Subway attests: “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. We tested our chicken products recently for nutritional and quality attributes and found it met our food quality standards. We will look into this again with our supplier to ensure that the chicken is meeting the high standard we set for all of our menu items and ingredients.”

The same test was also administered to chicken at Wendy’s and McDonald’s. Fortunately for these chains—at least in Canada, anyway—they were found to consiste of 88.5 percent and 84.9 authentic chicken DNA, respectively.

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