After what seems like years of everyone talking about what exactly is in Subway’s tuna sandwich, a US judge has ruled to allow Subway to be sued over its claim that its tuna offering is “100% tuna,” reports NPR. The initial lawsuit popped up in early 2021, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Let’s recap this saga, in case you’ve missed the months of drama.
The crux of the suit focuses on independent lab tests that were conducted on various samples of Subway’s tuna sandwiches. A third version of the lawsuit claimed that lab results showed Subway’s “tuna” includes animal proteins such as pork, chicken, and cattle, which is obviously not 100% tuna as the chain claims. NPR further reports that “a marine biologist analyzed 20 samples of tuna offerings from 20 different Subway restaurants and found ‘no detectable tuna DNA sequences whatsoever’ in 19 samples.”
We can’t deny there’s something a little fishy going on, if lab results are coming back saying the tuna doesn’t contain any tuna at all. However, Subway has strongly defended its tuna offering, stating that the sandwich always contains other ingredients—such as mayonnaise, which is made from eggs—and that anyone who walks into a Subway can clearly see how its assembly-line ordering process might lead to some cross-contamination. Subway also doubled down on its initial defense, stating to NPR that “Subway serves 100% tuna.”
The Plaintiff, Nilima Amin, is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit and accuses Subway of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition. In addition, Amin seeks restitution, punitive damages, and “disgorgement” of all of the sandwich chain’s allegedly “ill-gotten gains.” These are some heavy allegations, and while Subway has called the lawsuit “reckless and improper,” the fact that the judge has allowed the lawsuit to move forward indicates that the state of California might feel otherwise.
Although my loyal readers (by which I mean my mom) are all well aware of my distaste for tuna, I still find it concerning that customers might order something they believe is tuna, only to be sold something closer to chicken. Sure, most of us have come to accept that fast food is probably not actually 100% anything, but to find out that the product contains practically 0% of what is advertised is taking things a step too far (if that is really what’s happening here).
Everyone is innocent until proven otherwise, so we’ll see if Subway can prove that there’s nothing fishy about its tuna sandwiches—or rather, that they are in fact the fishiest they can be.