Subway is crying fowl over claims that its chicken is loaded with soy fillers — this time in court.
The fast-food chain has slapped the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. with a lawsuit over an TV expose last month that claimed its chicken was only about 50-percent poultry and the rest of it soybeans, The Post has learned.
Subway’s is claiming $210 million in damages in the legal flap, blasting the soy-filler allegations from news show CBC Marketplace as “defamatory and absolutely false,” a Subway spokesman told The Post.
“Despite our efforts to share the facts with the CBC about the high quality of our chicken and to express our strong objections to their inaccurate claims, they have not issued a retraction, as we requested,” Subway said in a Thursday statement.
“Serving high-quality food to our customers is our top priority, and we are committed to seeing that this factually incorrect report is corrected.”
A copy of the lawsuit, filed in Canadian court, couldn’t immediately be obtained. A CBC spokeswoman confirmed the network has been notified of Subway’s suit but hasn’t received it and will respond if and when it does.
“We believe our journalism to be sound and there is no evidence that we’ve seen that would lead us to change our position,” CBC said.‘
CBC Marketplace aired a segment on Feb. 24 called “The Chicken Challenge” that found Subway’s oven-roasted chicken contains a mere 53.6 percent chicken, according to DNA tests, and its chicken strips contain about 42.8 percent chicken.
The DNA tests, conducted by Trent University in Ontario, found that rival fast-food sandwiches contained far more real poultry, according to CBC. The Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich scored 88.5 percent, and Tim Horton’s Chipotle Grilled Chicken Wrap had 86.5 percent, according to the tests.
By comparison, chicken bought in a grocery store is generally 100 percent, according to the report.
Subway declined to comment further on its suit, but major Subway franchisee Bob Grewal, who oversees Subway restaurants in Canada near where the DNA-tested chicken was sold, said Trent University researchers told Subway officials that “the CBC twisted all the facts.”
Matt Harnden, the Trent University researcher who reportedly conducted the DNA tests cited in the CBC report, wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday, university officials said.
Subway inspected its local facilities immediately after the story was aired, testing the chicken and finding only trace amounts of soy — less than 1 percent — as Subway has claimed, according to Grewal.
“We needed to investigate ourselves,” he said.
Grewal added that Subway’s poultry supplier in Ottawa, Grand River Foods, also supplies Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s, raising doubts about the differing levels of chicken DNA found in CBC’s report.
CBC called Subway two weeks before the segment aired and “asked us a very specific question about the soy content in our food’’ — namely, what the percentage was — while failing to mention that it had been conducting DNA tests as well as taste tests with customers, according to Grewal.
“The fact is these guys sideswiped us,” he said. “This was purposely done to drive ratings.”
A week after the damaging CBC report, Subway published a rebuttal, saying it had its chicken tested by two independent labs, one in the US and one in Canada, and that both found only trace amounts of soy.
“The allegation that our chicken is only 50% chicken is 100% wrong,” Subway Chief Executive Suzanne Greco said at the time.
Grewal — whose firm Grewal Foods is Subway’s largest manager of franchisees, overseeing more than 2,000 of the chain’s nearly 30,000 locations — said he is worried that Subway, after recently showing some improved financial results, could see a slide.
“I am very scared this could hurt momentum,” he said.
Last year, Subway settled a federal lawsuit alleging that its foot-long heroes were less than a foot long, promising plaintiffs it would enforce the 12-inch standard.
This article was originally published in the New York Post.