Something is fishy about Subway’s “tuna” sandwich.
Commercial lab tests found no identifiable tuna DNA in the sandwich that purports to contain the fish.
The New York Times bought Subway tuna sandwiches from three different locations in Los Angeles, and then sent frozen samples to an unidentified commercial food testing lab after two California women filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in January alleging that Subway’s tuna sandwiches aren’t actually made of the fish.
The lab declined to be identified for fear of losing any opportunities to work directly with Subway, the country’s largest sandwich chain, the outlet reported.
The newspaper said it paid about $500 for the lab, which specializes in fish testing, to conduct a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test to see if the substance had any of five different tuna species. PCR tests rapidly replicate huge amounts of a specific DNA sample.
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.
A spokesman for the lab added that there’s two possible conclusions.
“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 did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
The suit that sparked the controversy originally 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 has repeatedly disputed the allegations and defended its tuna sandwiches in a marketing blitz.
“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint,” Subway has said about the allegations.
“Subway will vigorously defend itself against these and any other baseless efforts to mischaracterize and tarnish the high-quality products that Subway and its franchisees provide to their customers, in California and around the world, and intends to fight these claims through all available avenues if they are not immediately dismissed,” the statement continued.
While the lab tests ordered by the Times showed no identifiable tuna in the sandwiches, Inside Edition did its own test in February that yielded different results. Inside Edition tasked a lab in Florida with testing tuna samples from three Subway locations in New York.
That test confirmed that tuna was in the sandwiches.
Subway maintained in an email to the Times that it “delivers 100 percent 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.”