A pair of Subway customers have filed a lawsuit alleging the tuna spread on the restaurant chain’s sandwiches and wraps contains no fish.
California residents Karen Dhanowa an Nilima Amin filed the lawsuit Jan. 21 in U.S. Northern District of California court suing for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment as well as other state and federal laws, the Washington Post reported.
The restaurant advertises its tuna sandwich as a “flaked tuna blended with creamy mayo,” however the plaintiffs claim they “were tricked into buying food items that wholly lacked the ingredients they reasonably thought they were purchasing,” according to the lawsuit.
Attorneys said the restaurant uses a “mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.” The lawsuit does not offer what they believe the ingredients to be. Attorneys said “independent testing has repeatedly affirmed the products are made from anything but tuna.”
“We found that the ingredients were not tuna and not fish,” Shalini Dogra, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, told the Post.
Subway denies the claims.
“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California,” said Maggie Truax, spokesperson for the brand, USA Today reported. “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.”
The sandwich maker says it uses a flaked tuna in brine, mayonnaise and an additive to ensure flavoring.
“(The lawsuit) threaten(s) 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,” Truax said. “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.”
The plaintiffs are seeking class action status and a jury trial. They want “proper equitable and injunctive relief, the proper amount of restitution or disgorgement; and the proper amount of reasonable litigation expenses and attorneys’ fees.”
If certified as class action, the lawsuit will be open to thousands of customers who bought tuna sandwiches or wraps since Jan. 21, 2017 from any of the chain’s 2,266 locations.
It’s not the first time the restaurant chain has faced lawsuit over its ingredients.
“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,” Truax said.
In September, Ireland’s Supreme Court said the bread the restaurant uses could not legally be called bread because of its high sugar content.
In April 2017, a class action lawsuit claiming the sandwiches were not “footlong” was thrown out of an appellate court.