Judge Rules That Subway Can Be Sued for Misleading Customers With ‘100 Percent Tuna’ Claims

A judge has ruled a class action lawsuit filed against Subway can move forward, as the chain is accused of misleading customers with "100 percent tuna" claims.

A tuna sandwich from Subway

Photo by Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

A tuna sandwich from Subway

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a lawsuit accusing Subway of misleading customers by claiming its tuna sandwiches are “100 percent tuna.”

The Washington Postreports U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar determined last week that a class action suit filed in January 2021 by plaintiff Nilima Amin of Alameda County, California can move forward. The ruling arrives several months after Subway asked Tigar to dismiss the suit.

Amin’s complaint is based on testing performed at a UCLA laboratory, where a marine biologist analyzed 20 samples of tuna offerings from 20 different Subway restaurants and found “no detectable tuna DNA sequences whatsoever.”

“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,” Tigar said.

The judge continued, “Moreover, even if the Court accepted Subway’s statement that all non-tuna DNA must be caused by cross-contact with other Subway ingredients, it still would not dismiss the complaint on this basis. Whether, and to what extent, a reasonable consumer expects cross-contact between various Subway ingredients is a question of fact.”

Mark C. Goodman, a lawyer for Subway, told the Washington Post that Tigar’s decision to dismiss the suit is “disappointing that this meritless lawsuit was not dismissed with prejudice.”

“While we obviously understand the Court is required to accept the plaintiff’s claims as true at the pleadings stage of the case, the fact is plaintiff’s claims are not true. Subway tuna is tuna,” Goodman wrote in an email. “We look forward to vindicating Subway once the Court is able to consider the evidence and we are very confident that judgment will be entered for Subway on each of the plaintiff’s claims.”

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