Organic Consumers Association

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Subway Chicken — 50 Percent Chicken, 50 Percent Filler?

By now you may have heard the shocking news: Subway "chicken" may contain just 50 percent chicken.1 The rest is filler. As reported by Time Magazine:2

"According to tests performed at Trent University in Canada, the company's chicken strips and oven-roasted chicken contained just 43 percent and 54 percent chicken DNA, respectively, consisting otherwise of soy and other filler ingredients."

Subway denies the charges and has demanded a retraction from CBC Marketplace, yet admits it is "concerned by the alleged findings." According to Subway, its chicken strips and oven-roasted chicken contain less than 1 percent soy protein.

"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," the company said in a statement.3

Popular chicken sandwiches from Wendy's, McDonalds, A&W and Tim Hortons were also included in the testing. All, with the exception of Subway, tested as "mostly" chicken, ranging between 85 and 90 percent chicken DNA.

Subway Chicken — Mostly Filler?

If only half, or less, of Subway chicken is actual chicken, what's the rest of it made of? The filler, it turns out, is a very long list of ingredients, shown in the CBC Marketplace program above. However, a majority of it is soy protein. John Coupland, president of the Institute of Food Technologists, told Time Magazine:4

"Assuming the data is right, that is a surprisingly large amount of soy … And it's astonishingly high for something that you're supposed to think is a real, whole piece of chicken."

On average, fast food chicken contains about one-quarter less protein than home-cooked chicken breast, thanks to water infusions and fillers, and up to eight times more sodium.

Moreover, as noted in the program, while you'd never expect chicken to be a source of carbohydrates, fast food chicken such as that from Subway contain surprisingly high amounts of refined starches and sugars.

Soy Protein Linked to Health Problems

If the test results are valid, there are many reasons for concern. Not only are you being ripped off, paying for chicken that turns out to be 50 percent soy, which is dirt-cheap in comparison, but you're also eating something that could be hazardous to your health, even if you're not outright allergic to soy.

Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole, fermented non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities — protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about either.

Unfermented soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens — some of which actually interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein.

While a small amount of these anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy many Americans now eat is extremely high.

What's worse, the vast majority of soy grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered (GE) to be herbicide resistant and contaminated with the well-documented carcinogenic herbicide, Roundup.

Soybeans are also processed by acid washing in aluminum tanks, which can leach aluminum into the final soy product, and may contain unsafe levels of manganese as well.

According to Kaayla Daniel, Ph.D., author of "The Whole Soy Story," thousands of studies link unfermented soy to a wide range of health problems, including:

• Malnutrition
• Kidney stones
Breast cancer
• Reproductive disorders
• Immune-system impairment
• Danger during pregnancy and nursing
• Infant abnormalities
• Heart disease
• Cognitive decline
• Digestive distress
• Food allergies
• Brain damage
• Infertility
Thyroid dysfunction
• Adverse effects in babies fed soy formula, including manganese toxicity, and DNA methylation with unknown implications5

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