A Top Subway Executive Just Addressed The 'Fake Tuna' Allegations

Subway has been to court on three different occasions since 2021 to defend itself against allegations that its tuna is not real. According to The Washington Post, the first lawsuit was filed in January 2021 by Alameda, California, residents Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin. The suit alleged fraud and misrepresenting menu items based on lab tests, in which the plaintiffs claimed that Subway's tuna sandwiches contained no actual tuna. Subway defended itself, noting its tuna was not only real but overwhelmingly wild-caught, with a minimum of farmed yellowfin and bluefin used.

A federal judge dismissed the suit, as well as a second. In a slightly revised lawsuit, the claimants brought, per Reuters, noted that the plaintiffs failed to meet the legal standards for proving Subway misrepresented its tuna. Undaunted, Dhanowa and Amin filed a third lawsuit in November 2021, countering Subway's claims of wild-caught tuna with new testing evidence from a marine biologist, who looked at nearly two dozen tuna specimens from a score of California-based Subway restaurants. Tuna DNA was missing from all but one of the specimens, noted Reuters, while chicken DNA was found in every specimen. Beef and pork DNA was also found in several of the tested samples.

Subway defends its tuna despite lawsuit ruling

Despite the spate of lawsuits and what are allegedly damning DNA results, Subway continues to maintain that its tuna is absolutely authentic. "Our tuna is nothing but 100% fantastic tuna," the company's North American president, Trevor Haynes, stated in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance. "It's delicious. You want to learn more about it, [go to] subwaytunafacts.com and you will find plenty of info. But tuna is there, and it's alive and kicking." The website Haynes references was launched as a response to the lawsuits, according to Reuters

However, the restaurant chain president's strong words come on the heels of a July ruling by a federal judge that the class action lawsuit initiated by Dhanowa and Amin is now cleared to proceed, NPR reports. In a separate report provided by Reuters, the publication quotes the judge in the lawsuit as saying Subway's claims may still be true. But those claims will certainly be challenged as the lawsuit continues. The New York Times, meanwhile, initiated its own lab testing with tuna specimens from three Los Angeles Subway restaurants. The results from a lab that wished to remain anonymous showed no discernible tuna DNA.