TORONTO—Subway, the multinational sandwich restaurant chain, has unveiled a new crop they say will revolutionize the way we think about chicken.
Following a study by Canadian television show CBC Marketplace, Subway had been suspected of altering its chicken meat to save on costs by replacing a significant amount of the chicken in their chicken meat with soy protein.
The study sent chicken sandwich samples from each major fast food chain to a laboratory for DNA testing. Samples from most restaurants were found to contain 85-90% chicken DNA. Samples from Subway, however, were reported to contain as little as 56% chicken DNA, with the bulk of the remainder being soy-based plants. Subway claimed the results of the tests were erroneous and asked for a retraction.
Initially, the company refused to provide data regarding the percentage of each substance in the meat or the identity or location of its suppliers, citing trade secrets. In response to repeated inquiries and bad PR, however, it has decided that now is the time to unveil their massive achievement in agricultural science.
“Subway has successfully hybridized chicken and soy,” said spokeswoman and food scientist Cheryl Wong. “After a decade of research into genetically-modified organisms, we have found a way to inject soybean plants with chicken DNA. They taste like chicken, precisely because they actually contain chicken.”
The chicken-injected plants grow like regular soybean plants, but small pods of chicken meat cells grow within the beans. As they are contained completely within the bean, they are not exposed to oxygen and do not decompose.
“This is actually a big win from an animal cruelty perspective,” Wong said. “We no longer have to raise and slaughter live chickens. This chicken meat is an extension of the plant and has no brain, so there is no cruelty. Just tasty chicken. Sort of.”
Animal rights activists are intrigued but not yet convinced.
“In terms of cruelty, there seems to be less, which is a welcome development,” said Terry Myers, Chairman of Animal Rights Now. “But the reality is that you’re still eating meat that originated from a chicken. The DNA has to come from somewhere, even if it yields far more meat than eating the chicken itself.”
A consortium that owns a major chicken wing restaurant chain commissioned a study last year on the costs and feasibility of breeding chickens with up to 10 wings. They did not respond to our inquiries, but an employee at the food laboratory spoke to us on the condition of anonymity.
“The idea is that currently an order of 10 wings requires 2.5 chickens. If we can get that down to a single chicken, that’s a big win for us.”