- November 12, 2021
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By Kate Gibson
November 12, 2021 / 7:38 AM / MoneyWatch
Pescatarians may want to avoid eating Subway’s tuna, if one is to believe the allegations in a in the restaurant chain’s seafood.
Nineteen of 20 tuna samples from Subway outlets throughout Southern California contained animal protein including chicken, pork or cattle, but no discernible tuna DNA, according to the latest complaint filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in California.
Subway dismissed the claims in the amended suit, the third filed this year, as “meritless” and defended its fish as “high-quality, wild-caught, 100% tuna.” The company’s lawyers are in the process of reviewing the claim and plan to file a new motion to dismiss what they called a “reckless and improper lawsuit.”
A federal judge dismissed a revised complaint in October, ruling that the plaintiffs had not shown they bought Subway tuna items based on misrepresentations by the chain. The judge did not comment on the actual ingredients.
The complaint filed on Monday includes findings based on DNA tests by the Barber Lab at UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Beyond finding “no detectable tuna DNA sequences whatsoever” in 19 of the samples, all 20 held “detectable sequences of chicken DNA,” according to the complaint. Eleven samples held pork DNA and seven cattle DNA, results that run counter to Subway’s marketing claims, it stated.
“Defendants do not take sufficient measures to control or prevent the known risks of adulteration to its tuna products,” according to the filing. “They actively perpetuate actions and steps that encourage mixing or allowing non-tuna ingredients to make their way into the tuna products.”
Subway tuna has been taken to the lab before. A New York Times analysis in June found “no amplifiable tuna DNA” in its sample, but reasoned that it was processed to the point that equipment might not read the species involved. Inside Edition did find tuna in tuna samples from three Subway locations.
Subway has been defending its tuna in the court of public opinion since early this year, even launching a webpage devoting to refuting any concerns about its tuna.
The suit isn’t the first legal dispute that raised questions about Subway’s products. Ireland’s Supreme Court that the bread Subway uses in its sandwiches could not legally be called bread in that country because of its high sugar content. And in the U.S. in 2017, an appeals court threw out a class-action settlement over claims the chain’s “footlong subs” were of the length advertised.
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First published on November 11, 2021 / 5:49 PM
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