- A class-action lawsuit filed in California claims Subway’s tuna is not real tuna, or even fish.
- Subway has responded to these claims and numerous media reports by launching a website called SubwayTunaFacts.com.
- More food news here.
A lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin of Alameda County, seeks damages from Subway for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and other claims under federal and state laws.
What did Subway allegedly do that was so heinous as to warrant such litigation?
According to the litigants, it is because Subway’s tuna is “made from anything but tuna.”
Since news of this Subway tuna lawsuit hit the media wires, news shows like Inside Edition and publications like the New York Times have followed up with investigations that included several lab tests that proved… well, it might be real tuna?
Subway, of course, has maintained this entire time that their tuna is not only real tuna, it is also wild-caught.
“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California,” a Subway spokeswoman wrote in an email to the Times.
Subway has also now launched en entire website in response to the New York Times report in which their lab test results stated, “No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA. Therefore, we cannot identify the species.”
A spokesman for the lab also told the Times, “There’s two conclusions. One, it’s so heavily processed that whatever we could pull out, we couldn’t make an identification. Or we got some and there’s just nothing there that’s tuna.”
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When one visits SubwayTunaFacts.com, the first thing that pops out are the words, “SUBWAY TUNA IS REAL TUNA,” with the word REAL underlined for emphasis.
Scroll down and a section titled “Tuna Fact Check” appears with the following statements…
MYTH: The New York Times reported Subway’s premium, fan-favorite tuna wasn’t actually tuna.
TRUTH: Not true! What actually happened is that the New York Times commissioned a test that couldn’t detect tuna DNA in their sample. According to scientific experts, this is not unusual when testing cooked tuna and it absolutely doesn’t mean the sample that was tested contained zero tuna.
Subway goes on to adamantly defend their tuna as being real.
The New York Times test results only show that the type of DNA test done by the unnamed lab wasn’t a reliable way of determining whether the sample was tuna or not. If the test had confirmed the existence of a protein other than tuna, questions could have been raised. However, their “non-detect” conclusion really just means that the test was inadequate in determining what the protein was. In other words, it was a problem with the test, not the tuna.
Still not convinced? Check out USA Today’s independent fact check of the New York Times’ conclusion, which found it lacked important context about the limitations of DNA testing of denatured proteins, and some additional information from food DNA testing firm Applied Food Technologies about why DNA testing isn’t always conclusive in testing processed tuna given the cooking and packaging process breaks down the DNA fragments. The challenge of accurately testing processed tuna DNA has been known for a while, and even studied by scientists.
This whole tuna controversy has gotten so out of hand that Subway CEO John Chidsey even mentioned the site during a recent appearance on CNN.
What’s that old saying people often use that was cribbed form Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Oh yeah. “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”
But sure, Subway’s tuna is real.