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Subway Says "Outrageous" Allegations Are Hurting Sales of Its Tuna Sandwich

The chain is asking a federal judge to dismiss the January lawsuit.

As the integrity of Subway's tuna continues to be the #1 topic of the fast-food industry, the original lawsuit that started it all is still without a resolution. Now, the chain has stepped in and asked a federal judge to dismiss the "frivolous lawsuit" which has affected the sales of one of their most popular sandwiches.

Subway said in a court filing last Friday that plaintiffs didn't offer a single factual piece of support for their claims that the chain's tuna did not contain "100% sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna" or might have contained tuna "from anything less than healthy stocks, for example, Albacore and Tongol," according to Reuters.

The chain also stated that the sales of its popular tuna sub have suffered as a direct result of these allegations.

"The plaintiffs, and much more likely their attorneys, made these irresponsible claims with callous indifference not only to the facts but to the hard-working Subway franchisees around the world who have since suffered decreases in sales of one of their best-selling products because of press reports about the lawsuit and its sensational, and wholly meritless, claims," the company said.

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The lawsuit was initially filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in January by customers Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin. In it, the plaintiffs stated that the chain's tuna, which is advertised as a blend of flaked tuna in brine and creamy mayo, is actually anything but. The lawsuit went on to say that the sandwich ingredient is, in fact, "a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna." The plaintiffs said they were basing their claims on an independent lab test conducted on Subway tuna samples, and accused the company of deceiving customers in order to charge premium prices.

It was then amended in June, and while the "no tuna" claim was no longer part of it, the lawsuit now said the product didn't contain "100% sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna" and called the company's labeling, marketing, and advertising of the product "malicious."

Subway maintained from the very beginning that the claims were "baseless" and that the lawsuit constituted a "reckless attack" on their brand. Unfortunately for the chain and its franchisees, the case spawned unprecedented media attention and a subsequent lab test performed by the New York Times, which continued to challenge the integrity of the fish as it found "no amplifiable tuna DNA."

On Friday, the chain said it wanted the plaintiffs and their attorneys to "be held accountable" for pressing forward with the complaint "that violates the most basic requirements of federal pleading standards."

"While Subway has offered the plaintiffs and their counsel a graceful exit from the morass they had created by simply dismissing their claims with prejudice and issuing a public apology, they have instead doubled down on their destructive behavior with new, equally unsupportable claims," the company said.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura