- Bay Area residents Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin are suing the fast-food chain for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment.
Two Indian American women are suing Subway alleging that the chain’s tuna sandwiches and wraps contains absolutely no tuna. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, both residents of Alameda County in the Bay Area.
Dhanowa and Amin are suing Subway for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and other claims under federal and state laws. They say they “were tricked into buying food items that wholly lacked the ingredients they reasonably thought they were purchasing” based on Subway’s labeling, packaging and advertising.”
Shalini Dogra, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, told the Washington Post that the lawsuit is based on independent lab tests of multiple samples taken from Subway locations in California, which show that the Subway tuna is “a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.”
Meanwhile, a representative of Subway told the Washington Post said the claims are without merit, adding that the tuna sold at the chain is wild-caught, which is how the vast majority of tuna is harvested.“Tuna is one of our most popular sandwiches,” said Katia Noll, senior director for global food safety and quality at Subway, in a statement to the Post. Our restaurants receive pure tuna, mix it with mayonnaise and serve on a freshly made sandwich to our guests.
According to Subway’s nutritional information page on its website, the tuna salad for its sandwiches contains flaked tuna in brine, mayonnaise and an additive to “protect flavor.”
In a statement denying the allegation, Subway spokeswoman Maggie Truax issued a statement, as reported by the Washington Post. “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,” she said. “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.”
According to the Post, Dhanowa and Amin are seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorneys’ fees. They also want Subway to end its alleged practice of mislabeling its tuna sandwiches and surrender profits it earned from the practice.
News reports say this is not the first time that the chain has been sued. Last year a Subway franchise in Ireland lost a taxation case after the Supreme Court ruled that the sandwich bread had too much sugar to meet the legal definition of bread, which has a zero value-added tax in the country, CBS Indianapolis affiliate NewsNow4 reported. Similarly in 2017, a U.S. appeals court tossed a lawsuit claiming Subway’s “footlong” sandwiches weren’t really 12 inches long.