Subway Can Be Sued Over Allegedly Deceiving Customers About Its '100% Tuna'

The ruling comes after a California resident claimed that the restaurant chain's tuna products "partially or wholly lack tuna as an ingredient"

A "Tuna Sandwich" from the fast food chain "Subway" lies on a table.
Subway tuna sandwich . Photo: Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty

A judge in California has ruled that Subway can now be sued for claims that its sandwiches are "100% tuna."

NBC News reported that a federal judge made the announcement Monday following a 2021 suit by Nilima Amin, a California resident, who claimed that the restaurant chain's tuna products "partially or wholly lack tuna as an ingredient" and "contain other fish species, animal products, or miscellaneous products aside from tuna."

The claims were made based on testing done at a UCLA marine biology laboratory, NBC reported.

According to the outlet, Subway has said that anything that is not tuna in its tuna products are "most likely" because of "cross-contact" from an employee preparing a sandwich.

On a page of Subway's website, the chain denies any claims that say their tuna is not 100 percent just that.

"Subway Tuna is real tuna," the page reads in big white letters. "That's right. The truth is, Subway uses wild-caught skipjack tuna regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A favorite among sub lovers, our tuna is and has always been high-quality, premium, and 100% real."

Subway doubled down in a statement provided to PEOPLE following the judge's recent decision. "Subway serves 100% tuna," said a spokesperson. "We are disappointed the Court felt it couldn't dismiss the plaintiffs' reckless and improper lawsuit at this stage. However, we are confident that Subway will prevail when the Court has an opportunity to consider all the evidence."

According to U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar even if Subway's claim of cross contamination is true, the 100% tuna claim could still be false.

"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, according to NBC.

Earlier this month, the sandwich chain announced their biggest menu change in years when they released the Subway Series — a menu revamp of 12 new sandwiches.

The recently unveiled menu items all have unique names and numbers, which can make ordering faster and easier.

According to a release, the sub chain's culinary team tested hundreds of recipes and took over a year to decide on which 12 sandwiches would make the Subway Series lineup.

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