Subway Continues to Battle Lawsuit Based on Tuna Products

Two people from the San Francisco Bay Area continue to pursue a proposed class action in federal court against the restaurant chain Subway. The plaintiffs argue that Subway produces tuna sandwiches, salads, and wraps that contain animal proteins other than tuna. Therefore, the restaurant chain allegedly engaged in mislabeling that led customers to mistakenly believe that they were buying high-quality tuna products. The plaintiffs are pursuing damages for statutory consumer protection violations and fraud.

The complaint is based on testing of tuna samples from Subway restaurants in Southern California. A marine biologist stated that 19 of the 20 samples tested did not have detectable tuna DNA, but all of the samples contained detectable chicken DNA. Some samples allegedly contained pork or cattle DNA as well. People with dietary limitations or certain religious beliefs may not want to consume products of these animals. One of the plaintiffs stated that she ordered tuna products from Subway more than 100 times, relying on statements in the Subway menu that the products contained only tuna.

Earlier this year, Subway defeated two previous versions of this lawsuit. However, each complaint was dismissed without prejudice, allowing the plaintiffs to bring a claim again. The plaintiffs have changed their allegations over time. The first complaint stated that the tuna products completely lacked tuna, but the plaintiffs most recently have asserted that the tuna products “do not contain 100 percent tuna.”

Subway continues to assert that it uses wild-caught skipjack tuna that complies with federal regulations. The restaurant chain has not changed its tuna, while vigorously defending it on television and online. Subway plans to ask for the latest case to be dismissed as well.

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