Lawsuit claims Subway’s tuna sandwiches ‘lack any trace of tuna’

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MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 21: A Subway restaurant is seen as the company announced a settlement over a class-action lawsuit that alleged that Subway engaged in deceptive marketing for its 6-inch and 12-inch sandwiches and served customers less food than they were paying for on October 21, 2015 in Miami, Florida. While it denies the claims, Subway said that franchisees would be required to have a measurement tool in stores to make sure loaves are 12-inches. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – In the latest litigation aimed at Subway’s ingredients, two people are suing the sandwich maker in California, claiming that the company’s tuna is anything but.

“In reality, the Products do not contain tuna nor have any ingredient that constitutes tuna,” claim plaintiffs Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin in court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Dhanowa and Amin claim they were “tricked” into buying mislabeled food and that an independent lab tested “multiple samples” and determined that “the ingredients were not tuna and not fish,” attorney Shalini Dogra told The Washington Post in an email.

Dogra said the lab tests found that Subway tuna is actually “a mixture of various concoctions” that have been blended together to give them the appearance of tuna. He declined to specify what the lab tests purportedly found in the “mixture,” however.

The lawsuit also accuses Subway of trying to “capitalize on the premium price consumers are willing to pay for tuna,” the only seafood item on the menu.

“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California,” Subway told Nexstar in a statement, adding that their restaurants serve only wild-caught tuna. “Subway delivers 100% cooked tuna to its restaurants, which is mixed with mayonnaise and used in freshly made sandwiches, wraps and salads that are served to and enjoyed by our guests.”

It’s not the first time Subway has been the target of a lawsuit over its sandwiches.

Last year a Subway franchisee in Ireland lost a taxation case after the Supreme Court ruled that the sandwich bread had too much sugar to meet the legal definition of bread, which has a zero value-added tax in the country.

In 2017, a U.S. appeals court tossed a lawsuit claiming Subway’s “footlong” sandwiches weren’t really 12 inches long.

Read the rest of Subway’s statement on the current lawsuit below:

The taste and quality of our tuna make it one of Subway’s most popular products and 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.  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. 

“Unfortunately, this lawsuit is part of a trend in which the named plaintiffs’ attorneys have been targeting the food industry in an effort to make a name for themselves in that space.  Subway will vigorously defend itself against these and any other baseless efforts to mischaracterize and tarnish the high-quality products that Subway and its franchisees provide to their customers, in California and around the world, and intends to fight these claims through all available avenues if they are not immediately dismissed.”

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