Your chicken sandwich might not even be chicken, according to a new CBC Marketplace investigation.
Choose wisely before you chew: Your chicken sandwich might not even be chicken, according to a new CBC Marketplace investigation.
The media company teamed up with Trent University in Canada to conduct a DNA analysis of poultry products from five different fast food chains: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, A&W, Tim Hortons, and Subway.
The research team tested one popular chicken product from the first four chains and two popular chicken products from Subway.
First, they tested two samples of each piece of chicken and one sample of the Subway chicken strips. After that, they tested three smaller samples and ran another analysis.
The researchers sampled just the meat: No sauce, no condiments.
According to the report, an “unadulterated piece of chicken from the store should come in at 100 percent chicken DNA.”
The only thing that should bring that number down is seasoning, marinating, or processing the meat.
Four out of the six menu items tested contained mostly chicken DNA. Here’s how they scored on average:
A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe — 89.4 percent chicken DNA
McDonald’s Country Chicken — 84.9 percent chicken DNA
Tim Hortons Chipotle Grilled Chicken Wrap — 86.5 percent chicken DNA
Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich — 88.5 percent chicken DNA
Because Subway’s score was so different, the researchers tested five new samples of both the oven roasted chicken and the strips.
After averaging those results, they found that the oven roasted chicken contained 53.6 percent chicken DNA, while the chicken strips contained only 42.8 percent.
The rest of the “meat” product was composed of soy, according to the report.
That’s because fast food giants tend to “restructure” their food, Ben Bohrer, a food scientist at the University of Guelph in Canada, told CBC Marketplace.
This means pieces of real meat are combined with other ingredients to improve the taste, extend its shelf life, and make it cheaper to produce for the company.
On average, each sandwich contained 16 extra ingredients—all of which are safe for consumption—the investigation found.
The researchers also discovered that the fast food chicken contained about 25 percent less protein than what you would receive if you prepared it yourself.
What’s more, the samples served up seven to 10 times more salt than unadulterated chicken.
While you don’t necessarily need to freak about the fillers in your meat, as everything added to it is federally approved for safety, it does signal that you might not be getting all of the nutrients you’re expecting to get.
Subway Canada recently responded and disagreed with the results: “Our chicken strips and oven roasted chicken contain 1 percent 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 percent 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.”