Sandwich maker Subway can be sued for allegedly deceiving customers about its tuna products, a federal court has ruled. The company was accused of using other fish species and meat instead of the advertised 100% tuna in its products.
In response to the ruling, Subway, which has more than 37,000 restaurants, said it serves 100% real, wild-caught tuna, and that the claims are unsupportable as a matter of fact and law.
In a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California, plaintiff Nilima Amin accused Subway of cheating consumers, claiming that the sandwiches advertised as contains tuna did not have tuna at all. Amin’s lawsuit reportedly relied on findings from a marine biologist who tested 20 tuna samples from Subways in southern California.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco now elected to allow the complaint to survive. The court dismissed Subway’s argument that any presence of non-tuna DNA might result from eggs in mayonnaise, or cross-contact with other ingredients.
Reuters quoted Tigar as saying, “Although it is possible that Subway’s explanations are the correct ones, it is also possible that these allegations refer to ingredients that a reasonable consumer would not reasonably expect to find in a tuna product.”
According to the judge, Amin, who claimed to order Subway tuna products more than 100 times from 2013 to 2019, could try to prove that the salads, sandwiches and wraps wholly lack tuna.
An earlier complaint was dismissed by the Court on October 7, 2021. The plaintiff then filed another amended complaint which Subway moved to dismiss.
Following the initial lawsuit, the fast food restaurant franchise in January last year had called the allegations baseless, noting that it delivers 100% cooked tuna to its restaurants, which is mixed with mayonnaise and used in freshly made sandwiches, wraps and salads.
In its webpage created to address the misinformation and misunderstandings generated in the media regarding tuna, Subway says it uses wild-caught skipjack tuna regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which has always been high-quality, premium and 100% real.
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