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Where's the Chicken? Fast-Food DNA Testing Detects Fowl Foul

Image: Where's the Chicken? Fast-Food DNA Testing Detects Fowl Foul

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By    |   Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 12:32 PM

"Where's the chicken?" one might ask after a CBC News Marketplace investigation using DNA found that Subway's roasted chicken and chicken strips apparently are made with a large amount of something else. Other fast-food places also are committing the fowl foul.

Marketplace recently tested chicken products from five different restaurant chains – A&W, McDonald's, Tim Hortons and Wendy's, along with Subway.

DNA researcher Matt Harnden at Trent University's Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory tested the poultry and found that only 53.6 percent chicken DNA in the Subway Oven Roasted chicken sandwich and 42.8 percent in the Sweet Onion Teriyaki chicken strips.

Harnden told Marketplace that the other sandwiches tested hovered in the 80 percent chicken DNA range. The A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe averaged 89.4 per cent chicken DNA; McDonald's Country Chicken, Grilled averaged 84.9 per cent chicken DNA; Tim Hortons Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap averaged 86.5 per cent chicken DNA, and Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich averaged 88.5 per cent chicken DNA.

Marketplace said the Subway results were such an outlier that Harnden and his team tested five new pieces of its roasted chicken and five new orders of the chicken strips to re-confirm the findings.

Subway defended itself on the website Consumer Affairs, charging that the CBC Marketplace report was "false and misleading."

"Our chicken is 100 percent white meat with seasonings, marinated and delivered to our stores as a finished, cooked product," Subway spokesman Kevin Kane told Consumer Affairs.

"We have advised (CBC Marketplace) 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."

Bruce Y. Lee, an associate professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a column for Forbes on Tuesday that without required labeling, consumers are at the mercy of fast food restaurant chains in getting what they paid for.

"Can you really tell if the chicken that you are eating in a restaurant is really 100 percent chicken?" Lee wrote. "It's difficult...because there's no required and regulated ingredient labeling for meat served in restaurants like the Food and Drug Administration Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods sold at stores."

"As a result, you also do not know how much more salt, more sugar, and other added ingredients may be in the meat. Can you rely on restaurant advertising? While restaurants can't make wildly misleading claims, such as 'this piece of cardboard is really chicken' at the risk of being sued, they do have a fair amount of latitude in their marketing claims."

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"Where's the chicken?" one might ask after a CBC News Marketplace investigation using DNA found that Subway's roasted chicken and chicken strips apparently are made with a large amount of something else. Other fast-food places also are committing the fowl foul.
where, chicken, fast-food, dna, testing
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2017-32-01
Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 12:32 PM
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