Seems Fishy: Is Subway’s Tuna Really Tuna?

Earlier this year, Subway got hit with a lawsuit alleging its tuna is not actually tuna. The country’s biggest sandwich chain called the lawsuit “meritless” and maintains it buys only skipjack and yellowfin tuna from fisheries with stocks that aren’t overfished.

Not so much, says a new report from The New York Times. In fact, none at all.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]Anyone who’s watched the documentary “SeaSpiracy” on Netflix will know there’s actually no way to verify that the tuna you’re eating was caught humanely, or that no other species suffered to put that tuna in the can you’re holding. Seeking to get to the bottom of the mystery fishery, the Times published a report on Sunday with the results of a commercial lab analysis of “60 inches worth of Subway tuna sandwiches” purchased from three different locations in Los Angeles. The tuna meat was removed, frozen, and shipped for testing.

The results: “No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA,” the email read. “Therefore, we cannot identify the species.”

The Times also openly admitted that it’s not the first to try and uncover whether Subway’s popular tuna sandwich does indeed contain all tuna. TV tabloid Inside Edition did its own investigation in New York and found the tuna purchased in the sandwiches was in fact tuna.


Meanwhile, Subway continues to fight a class-action complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California alleging it makes false claims about its tuna meat. The lawsuit alleges “independent testing repeatedly affirmed” Subway makes the tuna product with no actual tuna fish, but it did not name the agencies that conducted such tests. The suit also claims Subway profits off mislabeling the tuna products by using cheaper ingredients.

Subway has dismissed the claims as baseless.

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