Not So Fresh: New Research Might Make You Think Again About Eating at Subway

February 28th 2017

Almie Rose

Subway's slogan is "Eat Fresh," which implies that when you order a sandwich or salad at a Subway restaurant you're actually getting "fresh" ingredients.


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A new study suggests that — at least when it comes to Subway's chicken — that may not be the case. In fact, what you think is chicken might be something else..

A DNA test on chicken at Subway restaurants in Canada, conducted by a lab at Trent University in Ontario, found that Subway's "chicken" was actually only 50 percent chicken, according to Canadian news network CBC. In some cases, the percentage was even less.

The average results of two different types of Subway chicken were:

  • Subway oven roasted chicken, 53.6 percent chicken DNA.
  • Subway chicken strips (commonly used in the Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub), 42.8 percent chicken DNA.

So what's making up the rest of the chicken? Soy.


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Subway Canada doesn't deny using soy in their chicken, but says it uses a much smaller percentage than what these findings showed.

In a statement released to multiple media outlets, Subway Canada said (via CBS Los Angeles):

"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."

ATTN: reached out to Subway to ask if these findings are consistent with chicken sold at its locations in the United States. A spokesperson emailed us the following:

"The accusations made by CBC Marketplace about the content of our chicken are absolutely false and misleading. Our chicken is 100% white meat with seasonings, marinated and delivered to our stores as a finished, cooked product. 

We have advised them of our strong objections. We do not know how they produced such unreliable and factually incorrect data, but we are insisting on a full retraction. Producing high quality food for our customers is our highest priority. This report is wrong and it must be corrected."