Subway on Friday rejected the basis of a lawsuit claiming the ingredients used in its tuna sandwiches are anything but, defending itself against allegations it called “baseless.”
On Thursday, The Washington Post first reported on the existence of a lawsuit claiming the fast food chain — known for its foot-long sandwiches — is serving "a mixture of various concoctions" in order to create its tuna. According to the filing, an independent analysis showed there was no tuna or fish present based on "multiple samples" of the sandwich.
In the complaint, which was recently filed under the US District Court for the Northern District of California, plaintiffs Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Aminclaims accuses the chain of fraud, intentional misrepresentation and unjust enrichment, among other offenses.
However, the restaurant chain hit back, with a Subway spokesperson telling Yahoo Finance that its tuna is authentic, and it plans to fight back against the accusations.
“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California. Subway delivers 100% cooked tuna to its restaurants, which is mixed with mayonnaise and used in freshly made sandwiches, wraps and salads that are served to and enjoyed by our guests,” the statement read.
“The taste and quality of our tuna make it one of Subway's most popular products and these baseless accusations threaten to damage our franchisees, small business owners who work tirelessly to uphold the high standards that Subway sets for all of its products, including its tuna,” the company added.
“Given the facts, the lawsuit constitutes a reckless and improper attack on Subway's brand and goodwill, and on the livelihood of its California franchisees. Indeed, there is no basis in law or fact for the plaintiffs' claims, which are frivolous and are being pursued without adequate investigation,” it said.
However, Alex Brown, managing attorney at The Lanier Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit, stood behind the claims against Subway. In a statement to Yahoo Finance, Brown said the firm’s tests “showed the absence of tuna or even a fish protein. What is Subway selling?” he asked.
We don’t know yet, but we are certain it is not tuna,” Brown added. “This matters because customers rely on Subway’s massive advertising and product labels and are being ripped off.”
Insisting that the firm refused to respond to the claims before the lawsuit was filed, Brown said that he was “confident that our clients will prevail when they get their day in court.”
For its part, Subway charged the attorneys with filing frivolous lawsuits as part of a “targeting” of specific companies in the food industry, “in an effort to make a name for themselves in that space.”
However, this is not the first time the fast-food chain has been accused of using “not real” ingredients. Back in October, the Ireland Supreme Court claimed that Subway’s bread is too sugary to be called “bread.”
Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.