Home » Is Subway tuna fake? CEO backs sandwiches ‘100%’ amid lab tests, lawsuit

Is Subway tuna fake? CEO backs sandwiches ‘100%’ amid lab tests, lawsuit

Is Subway tuna fake? CEO backs sandwiches '100%' amid lab tests, lawsuit

Subway’s CEO insists there’s nothing fishy about his tuna.

The sandwich chain’s head vehemently denied allegations that the tuna in the fast-food giant’s sandwiches is fake — as he declared that the Subway’s fish is no chicken or mystery meat of the sea.

“[It’s] 100-percent tuna,” John Chidsey said Tuesday on on Fox Business. “We 100 percent stand behind our tuna.”

Chidsey’s defiant backing of his company’s tuna comes on the heels of an investigation last month by The New York Times, which sent frozen samples to a testing lab that said it couldn’t find any tuna DNA.

The newspaper said the lab did a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test to see if the substance in the sandwiches had any of five different tuna species.

More than a month after the samples were submitted, the lab results read, “No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA.”

“Therefore, we cannot identify the species,” the results said, according to the Times.

Subway tuna sandwich.
A lab that tested samples of Subway’s tuna sandwiches reported “no amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample.”
Getty Images

A spokesman for the lab offered two possible conclusions from the results.

“One, it’s so heavily processed that whatever we could pull out, we couldn’t make an identification. Or we got some and there’s just nothing there that’s tuna,” he told the Times.

Subway pushed back on the results immediately, with spokeswoman Lorri Christou dismissing the allegations as “baseless” and saying that “DNA testing is an unreliable methodology for identifying processed tuna.”

The testing “does not show that there is not tuna in Subway’s tuna.  All it says is that the testing could not confirm tuna, which is what one would expect from a DNA test of denatured proteins,” Christou previously told The Post.

Chidsey echoed that point in his remarks Tuesday.

“If you follow the science, once tuna is cooked, its DNA becomes denatured, which means you can’t tell once the product’s been cooked,” he said.

 “Even the New York Times said that in its article,” he added.

Subway CEO John Chidsey.
Subway CEO John Chidsey defended his company’s tuna, claiming “once tuna is cooked, its DNA becomes denatured.”
South China Morning Post via Getty Images

It was two California women who sparked the food fraud controversy in January, when they filed a class-action lawsuit against the company alleging that Subway’s tuna sandwiches aren’t actually made of the fish.

The women ordered tuna from the sandwich giant at locations near their home, but “independent testing has repeatedly affirmed, the products are made from anything but tuna,” the suit said.

The suit alleged that Subway’s tuna is “made from a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.”

In an amended complaint from June, the plaintiffs toned down their allegations, saying that Subway claims to sell sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna, but was in fact selling “anything less than healthy stocks.”

Subway has been “selling and continuing to sell some mixture that is deceptively and dishonestly being passed off as in line with their representations to purchasers but are not actually compliant,” the amended suit states.

Subway tuna sandwich.
In January, two California women filed a lawsuit against Subway alleging that the tuna sandwiches aren’t actually made of the fish.
Getty Images

Subway has repeatedly disputed the allegations and defended its tuna sandwiches in a marketing blitz.

Chidsey pointed to the website Subwaytunafacts.com, which the company created “to set forth the facts and help clarify any misunderstandings” about the tuna controversy.

The website notes that Subway uses “wild-caught skipjack tuna regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.”

It goes on to explain that “what actually happened is that the New York Times commissioned a test that couldn’t detect tuna DNA in their sample” and that “according to scientific experts, this is not unusual when testing cooked tuna.”

About the author


Julia Mangels

Julia has handled various businesses throughout her career and has a deep domain knowledge. She founded Stock Market Pioneer in an attempt to bring the latest news to its readers. She is glued to the stock market most of the times and just loves being in touch with the developments in the business world.

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