Subway is Facing a Lawsuit Over Alleged “Anything but Tuna” Sandwiches
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Californians Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin have filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated alleging that Subway’s tuna sandwiches do not, in fact, contain any tuna.
The plaintiffs allege that Subway intentionally misleads consumers about the ingredients in their tuna in the interest of charging premium prices.
The health benefits of fish motivate some consumers to pay a higher price for alternative meat options, like fish. What Subway describes as their “flaked tuna blended with creamy mayo then topped with your choice of crisp, fresh veggies” is a popular choice for both fish-lovers and those trying to make healthier eating choices. This tuna is popular in both sandwich and wrap forms, and customers are generally content to pay around a dollar more in comparison to the cost of Subway’s other meats.
However, the official class action complaint claims that Subway’s tuna does not “...contain tuna nor have any ingredients that constitutes tuna. The Products lack tuna and are completely bereft of tuna as an ingredient.” The lawsuit goes on to argue that not only is the substance marketed as “tuna” to customers not fish, but it claims that the ingredients which do make up the substance are of substantially less value, constituting both intentional misrepresentation and common law fraud, resulting in unjust enrichment for the popular sandwich chain.
The complaint does not identify the ingredients which supposedly make up the tuna-like substance.
One of the big questions revolving around this lawsuit is what exactly Subway’s “tuna” is made from, if it is not, in fact, fish. A perusal of the letter of complaint does not identify the alleged ingredients that do not constitute tuna, leaving many wondering what they’ve been consuming when ordering a tuna sandwich or wrap, if the allegations are true. The only insight offered as a pseudo-answer to this question can be found on page 6 of the complaint, where the text reads, “As independent testing has repeatedly affirmed, the Products are made from anything but tuna. On the contrary, the Products are made from a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna.”
Adding to the doubts surrounding the legitimacy of this lawsuit is the fact that Subway responded by offering a 15% discount on any tuna footlong sub ordered through Subway’s app or website to let customers taste their “100% delicious” “100% wild caught tuna” for themselves.
California and federal laws prohibit companies from using false or misleading labeling to sell food products to consumers.
The plaintiffs allege that Subway has deceived consumers in regard to their “tuna”, violating California and federal laws as well as causing customers to lose money. The lawsuit further points out that Subway could have “refrained from displaying untruthful ‘tuna’ claims on the Products’ labeling and advertising. Similarly, Defendants could have abstained from misrepresenting the Products’ ingredients, composition and identity.”
The lawsuit is seeking a declaration that Subway’s alleged conduct violates the state and federal statutes referenced in the complaint and an order preventing Subway from continuing to sell the alleged tuna substance as “tuna” in the future. The plaintiffs are also seeking compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages as decided by the Court on behalf of the class.