Will the soy-in-chicken report sink Subway?
A Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) program’s report showing the chicken used in Subway’s sandwiches contained large concentrations of soy filler has prompted the chain to start a public relations battle and take the broadcaster to court.
Subway has filed a suit asking for $210 million in damages over claims made during a recent broadcast of the CBC’s Marketplace program. Subway claims the program’s allegation that its meat “had only about half chicken DNA” is “defamatory and absolutely false.”
The producers of Marketplace claim that they were so taken aback by their original testing of Subway’s meat that they ran a second test to be sure a mistake had not been made. In the end, the producers concluded that only 53.6 percent of Subway’s oven roasted chicken came from chickens.
Emma Bédard, public affairs manager for CBC, told The Toronto Star, “We believe our journalism to be sound and there is no evidence that we’ve seen that would lead us to change our position.”
Ms. Bédard also accused Subway of using hyperbole in its suit and falsely alleging claims were made by the program that did not happen.
For its part, Subway said it had two independent labs test its chicken. Those tests showed the chicken the chain uses in Canada only had “trace amounts of soy,” which runs contrary to Marketplace’s reporting.
Ms. Bedard said the CBC contacted Subway last month, but the chain’s response was simply that the report’s findings were “false.”
Subway’s position is that the company sought “to share the facts with the CBC” over the inaccurate claims made on Marketplace, but that CBC failed to retract the report. “Serving high-quality food to our customers is our top priority, and we are committed to seeing that this factually incorrect report is corrected.”
- Subway says it plans to sue CBC for $210 million over chicken findings – The Toronto Star
- What’s in your chicken sandwich? DNA test shows Subway sandwiches could contain just 50% chicken – CBC News
- Subway cries fowl after CBC report on chicken – The Toronto Star
- Subway sues TV network over ‘soy chicken’ report – New York Post
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: From a public relations standpoint, has Subway made the right or wrong move in pursuing damages against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation? Will the apparent admission by Subway that its chicken contains some soy filler, regardless of the amount, hurt the chain in the current age of ingredient awareness?