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Subway found to have misled public with ‘chicken fillet’ that is really processed meat

chicken filletSubway has changed the name of its Chicken Fillet Sub after the advertising watchdog ruled that the description was misleading or deceptive as it contains shaped, processed meat and not a genuine chicken fillet. The snack has been on sale in Australia for a decade.

The snack will now be known as a Chicken Classic and the store is currently changing the signage at its 1300 stores across Australia.

A complaint to the ASB stated: “I purchased a chicken fillet subway roll and when I got it home I was disgusted to find after biting it that it is in fact a processed chicken piece. My understanding of a chicken fillet is a fillet of chicken not processed chicken meat.”

Subway claimed in its response to the ASB:

“The “Chicken Fillet Sub” has been offered for sale in Subway restaurants throughout Australia for at least ten years. The brand has not substantially changed the formula for the product during this time period.

“The ingredients for the Chicken Fillet in the Chicken Fillet Sub as listed on the brand’s website are as follows: Chicken (82%), Flour (wheat), Water, Mineral Salt (450, 451, 452), Salt, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Starch, Sugar, Herbs and Spices, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Egg Albumen, Dehydrated Vegetable (Garlic), Yeast Extract, Soy Sauce (Wheat), Flavours (Wheat, Milk), Maltodextrin, Acidity Regulators (331, 336), Whey Protein (Milk).

“After review, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand does not appear to have a standard of identity or definition for ‘chicken fillet’ and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation does not include it in its terms of ‘Cuts of Chicken Meat’.

Subway added: “The chicken fillet is a formed product and the brand has been using the descriptor “fillet” on the basis of the shape of the product and that the meat is boneless. No reference or claim has been made that the product is from whole muscle and the company has made information about the product readily available to consumers on its website.

“Please note that after evaluation of this matter the company has decided to change the name of this long term product and is in the process of withdrawing the associated advertising with the old name “Chicken Fillet Sub” and renaming the product. The new name will not include the word ‘Fillet’.”

The ASB ruled: “The Board noted that the prevailing community standard on what a fillet of chicken is, does not include chicken presented in pieces or formed or processed chicken meat. In the Board’s view, most members of the community would associate chicken fillets with the breast or thigh portion of the chicken in one whole piece or as a cut of chicken rather than reconstituted into a particular shape.

“Based on the above the Board considered that the advertisement was misleading or deceptive and did breach Section 2.1 of the Food Code.”

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