Subway's Getting Sued Over Their Tuna, And Who The Hell Eats Tuna At Subway?

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance/Getty

The suit won’t say what the ‘concoction’ actually is, though

If you are a lover of Subway’s tuna sub, perhaps now is the time to stop reading this article entirely. The company is being sued by two California residents who say the sandwich isn’t actually made of tuna at all.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 21 in the U.S. Northern District of California by Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, asserts Subway Restaurants Inc. engaged in “intentional and negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, common-law fraud, and violated federal and state laws against false advertising,” because it allegedly doesn’t actually contain any tuna at all.

According to Subway’s description, the sub is “freshly baked bread” layered with “flaked tuna blended with creamy mayo then topped with your choice of crisp, fresh veggies.”

Unfortunately, we’ll revisit the bread part in a minute.

Stating the sub is “completely bereft of tuna as an ingredient,” the lawsuit goes on to say the restaurant chain “packaged, advertised, marketed, distributed and sold the Products to consumers” based on the “misrepresentation that the products were manufactured with tuna.” In reality, it claims, independent testing revealed the sub is “made from anything but tuna.” Based on independent lab tests of “multiple samples” taken from Subway locations in California, the main ingredient in question is “a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.”

Subway defended itself in a statement provided by spokesperson Maggie Truax, saying it only uses wild-caught tuna.

“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California. 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,” Subway said, calling the lawsuit “baseless.”

The company added: “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.”

Now, back to the bread.

Subway also received bad press for using the ingredient azodicarbonamide, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner (and, unfortunately, is also used to make yoga mats). The company said it will be entirely phased out of its bread by this week.

The tuna plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status for their lawsuit and a jury trial, are asking for “proper equitable and injunctive relief, the proper amount of restitution or disgorgement; and the proper amount of reasonable litigation expenses and attorneys’ fees.”

Here’s hoping this is resolved quickly and that, in fact, tunas were harmed in the making of its sandwiches.

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