Subway is again making news regarding their tuna fish sandwiches. This time, it is because a judge has ruled that customers can sue the fast food chain if their tuna sandwiches contain other fish species or animal products. This is monumental seeing as customers have already filed a lawsuit against them in the past for this exact problem.
Customers can Now Sue Subway if their Tuna Sandwiches Contain Anything but Tuna
Subway has come under harsh criticism in the last couple of years for its suspicious ingredients. In 2020, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that their bread is not legally “real bread”. The ruling was due to the sugar content among other ingredients in their bread. This new ruling that people can sue the company if their tuna is not 100% real tuna is a big deal. Particularly after last year when The New York Times investigated Subway tuna and found an astounding lack of tuna DNA in their fish.
This past Monday, a federal judge in California ruled that customers have the right to sue Subway if they say that their tuna is “100% tuna” and that proves to not be true. Subway has said previously that any product in its tuna products is likely the result of cross-contact while an employee is preparing a sandwich. United States District Judge Jon Tigar says, however, that claiming that it is “100% tuna” might still not be a factual statement.
“Although it is possible that Subway’s explanations are the correct ones, it is also possible that these allegations refer to ingredients that a reasonable consumer would not reasonably expect to find in a tuna product,” the judge stated. (1)
The Former Complaint
This ruling was brought about because of the January 2021 filing by Oakland resident Nilima Amin. She said that, after lab testing, Subway’s tuna products at least partially if not wholly lacked tuna as an ingredient. The results, based on testing done at a UCLA marine biology lab, found that the tuna included DNA from other fish species, animal products, and miscellaneous ingredients.
Subway, of course, was entirely against the accusation. They refuted the claims, saying that those filing the lawsuit were only going to her the franchisee owners. Naturally, they denied the claim that their tuna isn’t tuna.
“These baseless accusations threaten to damage our franchisees, small business owners who work tirelessly to uphold the high standards that Subway sets for all of its products, including its tuna,” Maggie Truax, Subway’s director of global PR, said. “Given the facts, the lawsuit constitutes a reckless and improper attack on Subway’s brand and goodwill, and on the livelihood of its California franchisees. Indeed, there is no basis in law or fact for the plaintiffs’ claims, which are frivolous and are being pursued without adequate investigation.” (2)
Naturally, judge Tigar expects that Amin and her legal team will file an amended complaint against the fast food restaurant. Still, Subway has continued to state that the accusations are ridiculous.
“Subway serves 100% tuna. We are disappointed the Court felt it couldn’t dismiss the plaintiffs’ reckless and improper lawsuit at this stage,” Subway spokesperson Carsen Anderson said. “However, we are confident that Subway will prevail when the Court has an opportunity to consider all the evidence.”
Fake or Real?
So if you take into account the Irish court ruling about the bread and couple it up with the claims from some people in California about their tuna, what does this mean? If you order a tuna sandwich from Subway, what are you really eating? Subway says their food is natural and healthy, but according to other parties that might not be the case. Who do we believe? Already the state of food additives, food safety, and miscellaneous ingredients in food in the United States is hotly debated. We suppose what you choose to eat, knowing what we know (or may not know) about Subway’s ingredients, is up to you. Eat with caution.
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- “Judge rules Subway can be sued over claims that its tuna sandwiches contain other fish species or animal products.” NBC News. Rob Wile. July 11, 2022.
- “Lawsuit claims Subway’s tuna sandwiches contain no tuna.” NBC News. Tim Fitzsimons. January 29, 2021.