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Subway sued a TV network for $210 million over claim that its chicken is half soy

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UPDATE March 17, 11:22am: Subway bites back...

After denying a report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that its chicken is loaded with soy fillers, Subway has hit the TV network with a lawsuit.

"We have issued a Notice of Action in Canada against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that asks for $210 million in damages over allegations made by its program, 'Marketplace,' that are defamatory and absolutely false," a Subway spokesman told TheWrap in a statement.


UPDATE March 1, 9:45 a.m.:

Subway denied a report that its chicken meat is only about 50 percent chicken. 

"The accusations made... are absolutely false and misleading," a Subway spokesman told The Huffington Post. "We do not know how [CBC News] produced such unreliable and factually incorrect data, but we are insisting on a full retraction."

 A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigation found the chicken in some sandwiches was 53.6 chicken DNA, while the rest was soy.

ORIGINAL STORY: Subway franchises may have to soon rethink their motto of "Eat Fresh." A new Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigation revealed that the so-called oven roasted chicken patty, included in many of their wraps and sandwiches, contains only about 50 percent chicken.

A DNA analysis of the patty showed that it averaged 53.6 percent chicken DNA while the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki strips came in at 42.8 percent chicken. The rest of the "chicken" is soy.

The results of the study surfaced after DNA researcher Matt Harnden at Trent University's Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory had tested six different types of chicken at five restaurants including, McDonald's country grilled chicken, Wendy's grilled chicken sandwich, A&W chicken grill deluxe, Tim Hortons' chipotle chicken grilled wrap, Subway's oven roasted chicken sandwich, and Subway's sweet onion chicken teriyaki.


Harnden said that most of the samples of chicken were "very close" to 100 percent chicken, and that Subway's results were outliers of the study. In fact, the scientists re-tested Subway's samples to ensure that the result were accurate.

"That's misrepresentation," Irena Valenta, a Toronto resident who participated in a Marketplace taste test, said after seeing the test results.

In addition, the investigation showed that the fast food chicken had about 25 percent less protein that its home-cooked equivalent. The sodium levels were increasingly higher, too--about seven to ten times what they would be in unadulterated chicken.

Ben Bohrer, a food scientist, is very familiar with what the fast food industry calls "restructured products," which are smaller pieces of meat bound together by other ingredients to increase their shelf life and reduce costs for the restaurant.

Subway refuted the results of the study, saying that its chicken contains about less than 1 percent of soy protein.

The statement read, "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."


The franchise added that it would review its menu items with its supplier.

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