Subway is suing a Canadian TV network for $210 million over a report that allegedly claimed the chicken used in the fast food chain's sandwiches only contains around 50 percent chicken.
The claims were made on a February 24 episode of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBC Marketplace program that told viewers DNA testing found that Subway's oven-roasted chicken contained just 53.6 percent chicken while its chicken strips contained about 42.8 percent chicken.
A Subway spokesman called the allegations "defamatory and absolutely false".
"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 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."
CBC has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
The DNA tests were conducted by Trent University in Ontario, which also found that Subway's rivals such as Wendy's and Tim Horton's both used chicken that contained more than 85 percent chicken.
Chicken purchased at a supermarket is usually 100 percent poultry, according to the report.
Subway declined to comment but franchisee Bob Grewal, whose company operates more than 2000 stores across Canada, said the network had "twisted all the facts".
He said CBC had called Subway around two weeks before the program went to air and asked about the soy content in its chicken without mentioning that they had been undertaking DNA analysis of Subway chicken.
"The fact is these guys sideswiped us," Mr Grewal said. "This was purposely done to drive ratings."
The franchisee added that Subway's Ottawa poultry supplier, Grand Rapids Foods, also supplies Wendy's and Tim Horton’s, raising questions about the alleged discrepancies in the companies' chicken content.
Mr Grewal said he was "very scared" of the impact of the report and added that sales had suffered since the program aired last month.