Subway Tuna Lawsuit Has Taken a New Turn

3rd version of complaint claims sandwich chain's tuna contains cattle, pork, chicken DNA
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2021 2:36 PM CDT
Updated Nov 12, 2021 5:59 AM CST
Subway: Stick a Fork in This Lawsuit, It's Done
The Subway logo is seen on takeout boxes at a restaurant in Londonderry, NH, on Feb. 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Newser) Update: The first version of a lawsuit against Subway claimed its tuna wasn't really tuna. The second, which was dismissed, said the tuna wasn't the right kind of tuna. Now, in a new amendment to that proposed class-action complaint, the plaintiffs say testing has found animal proteins in the supposedly "100% tuna," reports NBC News. Per the complaint filed Monday, 19 of 20 samples taken from Southern California Subway locations had "no detectable tuna DNA sequences." However, seven contained cattle DNA, 11 had pork DNA, and all 20 contained chicken DNA. The samples were tested at UCLA's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, per the Wall Street Journal. Subway is again pushing back: "The fact remains that Subway tuna is real and strictly regulated by the FDA," says a rep. Our original story from July follows:

Subway has had enough and would prefer to focus on sandwiches. The sandwich chain has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit against it, calling it frivolous. Two people in California filed a class-action lawsuit—Amin et al v. Subway Restaurants Inc. et al—earlier this year claiming there’s no tuna in Subway’s tuna salad sandwiches. Then, the lawsuit walked back the claim, asking only for proof that the tuna was “100% sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna.” That’s an accusation that is hard to reconcile with claiming Subway labeling tuna as tuna is "malicious."

Meanwhile, Subway says the bad press stemming from the accusation, including a write-up in the New York Times, has had a lousy effect on sales. While the lab used by that newspaper couldn’t find tuna DNA in that sandwich, the report pointed out that cooked and processed fish would not be especially likely to have DNA that could be analyzed by a lab. Subway’s filing called the claims "unsupportable." The sandwich chain has some prior experience with the harm of frivolous cases, having been stuck with a huge legal bill for suing the CBC for (falsely) claiming there's soy in Subway’s chicken. (Just don’t ask about how their bread is actually cake.)

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