Journalist Julia Carmel led a New York Times investigation on Subway’s tuna sandwiches. Carmel collected sampled sandwiches from three Los Angeles Outlets and sent them to a specialized lab for tests. As per reports, the tests failed to identify any tuna DNA in the samples.
Offering some analysis, a spokesperson from the lab told Carmel about two possible conclusions. Firstly, they said, “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.”
Tuna sub’s recent run-in with troubles
The New York Times launched this investigation to check the validity of a class-action lawsuit filed against the fast-food giants. Earlier this year in January, according to a report by The Washington Post, the plaintiffs sued the company alleging fraud and misrepresentation; claiming Subway’s Tuna was merely an imitation and a concoction of the real thing.
Based on this complaint, in February, Insider Edition ran similar tests on the sandwiches, confirming the presence of tuna. Even the aforementioned plaintiffs abandoned their original allegations. Filing for a new amended complaint in June, centered around sustainable procurement (fishing practices) of the tuna fish.
Subway acknowledged the allegations but denied its claims. According to them, the use of DNA testing is an unreliable way to identify protein in any processed food. In their official statement online, they said, “The testing that the New York Times report refers to does not show that there is no 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.”
Referencing the old plaintiffs and their amended complaint, the food chain said, “Just like the original claim, the new claims are untrue and have absolutely no merit. In fact, the amended complaint does not remedy any of the fundamental flaws in the plaintiffs’ case that should result in the case being dismissed.”
While the New York Times report has concerned consumers. As per The Guardian, many sandwich makers note that tuna is inexpensive meat, therefore they believe Subway lacks the incentive and motivation for using a cheaper alternative.
Even if we assume the legitimacy of the claims, experts do not blame Subway entirely. As the company simply imports cans of tunas, frauds potentially (in this case) happened at the canning factory, suggested Dave Rudie, president of Catalina Offshore Products.