SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two San Francisco Bay Area residents have sued the fast-food chain Subway alleging that its tuna is "anything but tuna" and calling it "tuna salad" constitutes fraud and false advertising.
Plaintiffs Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, two Alameda County residents, claim in their lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that Subway has been trying to "capitalize on the premium price consumers are willing to pay for tuna," the East Bay Times reported Thursday.
Dhanowa and Amin had samples from several California restaurants analyzed and the filling was determined to be "a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna," according to the complaint. However, the complaint doesn't say precisely what the lab tests discovered in lieu of tuna.
In a statement, Subway said the accusations are "reckless and improper" and that the company intended to "vigorously defend itself."
"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 said.
The plaintiffs are represented by Lanier Law Firm of Houston and Shalini Dogra of the Dogra Law Group of Santa Monica. The attorneys did not make their clients available for comment.
According to the suit, the attorneys for Dhanowa and Amin are hoping to get the claim certified as a class action, which would allow other customers who purchased Subway's tuna sandwiches and wraps after Jan. 21, 2017, in California to join the case.
The company said the lawsuit seems to be "part of a trend in which the named plaintiffs' attorneys have been targeting the food industry in an effort to make a name for themselves."
"Subway will vigorously defend itself against these and any other baseless efforts to mischaracterize and tarnish the high-quality products that Subway and its franchisees provide to their customers, in California and around the world, and intends to fight these claims through all available avenues if they are not immediately dismissed," it said.