What’s in your fast food chicken sandwich? Seaweed, wood and more

You may want to think twice before ordering chicken at a fast food restaurant.

Some popular establishments are beefing up their chicken products with ingredients like seaweed and even wood, according to new research from The Daily Mail.

Subway’s Oven Roasted Chicken contains flavoring and “2% or less” potato starch and carrageenan, the latter being a natural ingredient derived from red algae.

It is safe for human consumption and is commonly used to thicken foods.

Subway came under fire years ago for its chicken after a Canadian report claimed it contained only “about half the DNA of chicken,” Eater reported.

Some fast food chicken has additional ingredients like seaweed, according to a new report.
image alliance via Getty Images

Subway sued the outlet that aired the report for “false and misleading” claims, but a judge later threw out the lawsuit for $210 million. The fast food chain still maintains its oven-roasted chicken and chicken strips “are made from 100 percent white meat chicken.”

At Carl’s Jr., the spicy chicken sandwich bun reportedly contains less than 2 percent microcrystalline cellulose, a texturizer known as “refined wood pulp,” according to Fooducate, a food label sharing app.

Wendy’s, another popular fast food chain, admits that the classic breaded chicken fillet in its classic chicken sandwich is only 56% chicken breast.

The burger also consists of water, palm oil, fully refined soybean oil, dehydrated chicken powder, yeast extract, a blend of spices, and other ingredients.

A bun in the spicy chicken sandwich at Carl's Jr. contains an ingredient that is also known as refined wood chip powder.
The spicy chicken sandwich bun at Carl’s Jr. contains an ingredient also known as refined wood pulp.
Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Fan-favorite items like chicken nuggets also feature a variety of toppings.

McDonald’s says its Chicken McNuggets are made from boneless white chicken, acid, yeast extract, lemon juice solids, dextrose, and different types of flour.

A photo of “pink glue” that circulated online in 2014 was linked to McDonald’s McNuggets, but the company dismissed the image, purportedly of mechanically separated chicken, as a hoax.

“A photo circulating online does not show how we make Chicken McNuggets or, frankly, any of our menu items,” the statement read.

“Our Chicken McNuggets are made with USDA inspected boneless white chicken breast. We do not use the process known as mechanically separated chicken, nor do our Chicken McNuggets ever look like this photo.”

Some of these fast food chains, like Subway, have come under fire in recent years for the ingredients in their chicken.
Some of these fast food chains, like Subway, have been criticized for the ingredients in their chicken.

McDonald's came under fire after a viral photo of "pink goop" it was attributed to their chicken nuggets.
McDonald’s debunked a viral photo of “pink glue” that was attributed to its chicken nuggets.
Burger King Corporation

Burger King, meanwhile, includes autolyzed yeast extract in its chicken nuggets, along with flavor enhancers like disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, which is sometimes used in conjunction with MSG, according to The Daily Meal.

Domino’s chicken products also contain a large number of ingredients.

Their grilled chicken includes lipolyzed butter oil, modified corn starch, and modified food starch. Modified food starch is an additive typically used to thicken or stabilize products, according to the Gluten Free Society.

The Post reached out to the fast food giants for comment.

Although Domino's is a pizza chain, it also serves chicken.
Although Domino’s is a pizza chain, it also serves chicken.
Tamara Beckwith/New York Post

This isn’t the first time concerns have been raised about nutrition and ingredients in fast food items.

Food scientist Bryan Quoc Le, who wrote the book “150 Food Science Questions Answered: Cook Smarter, Cook Better,” recently revealed that animal hair is a common additive in fast food products.

He also claims that there are traces of wood in foods like ice cream and peach rings.

And in March, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 60% of the food Americans buy contains food additives such as coloring or flavoring agents, preservatives, and sweeteners.

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