DNA test shows only about half of Subway's 'chicken' sandwich is chicken

A CBC News investigation took reporters to a dark place: the ingredients in Subway sandwiches. And what they discovered might concern Subway diners who think they're making a healthier choice when they order the grilled chicken wrap or sandwich. As it turns out, only half of the alleged chicken in Subway sandwiches is really chicken.


Researchers ran DNA tests on the chicken used in five popular sandwiches from fast food places like McDonald's, Wendy's and Subway. Most of the sandwiches tested to close to 100 percent chicken—as the scientists explained, it makes sense that it's not 100 percent chicken because of flavoring and spices.

But Subway fare scored far lower, prompting the surprised researchers to repeat the tests. Those results found that the meat in the oven-roasted Subway chicken contained 53.6 percent chicken DNA while the chicken strips were only 42.8 percent chicken. The rest of the "chicken" appeared to be mostly soy.

A food scientist told CBC that the results suggest the meat had been "restructured," unappetizing code for when bits of meat are fused with other products for the sake of taste, longevity and lowering costs. While the food scientist assured CNC these products wouldn't kill diners, meat cooked at home is still a safer bet.

This is not the first time that Subway, which has long touted itself as a healthier alternative to traditional fast food fare, has been embroiled in controversy over its food. In 2014, the chain was forced to explain why they used azodicarbonamide, a chemical also used in plastics, in its bread. Following a major backlash, the restaurant agreed to stop using the chemical.