In yet another twist in a fishy tale, the fast-food chain Subway is pushing back once again against its tuna critics, launching a website in defense of its popular sandwich.
The site, subwaytunafacts.com, declares in block capitals “Subway tuna is real tuna”, with real underlined, with the company countering a claim made in June by a New York Times investigation that Subway’s tuna may not, in fact, be real.
A New York Times-commissioned lab test earlier this year acquired over 60in worth of Subway tuna sandwiches from three Los Angeles stores and engaged a specialized fish-testing lab. The results failed to identify a species, having found no tuna DNA, the newspaper reported.
According to a lab spokesperson, the Times noted: “There’s two conclusions. One, it’s so heavily processed that whatever we could pull out, we couldn’t make an identification. Or we got some and there’s just nothing there that’s tuna.”
On its newly launched website, Subway rejects the premise of the story, stating: “What actually happened is that the New York Times commissioned a test that couldn’t detect tuna DNA in their sample. According to scientific experts, this is not unusual when testing cooked tuna and it absolutely doesn’t mean the sample that was tested contained zero tuna.”
In addition, the website argues that the New York Times’ conclusion lacked important context surrounding the limitations of DNA testing of denatured proteins, indicating that the process of cooking and packaging tuna ultimately breaks down DNA fragments, thus making it difficult to accurately test for the processed fish.
Subwaytunafacts.com also provides a breakdown of the company’s quality control mechanisms that include the Seafood Import Monitoring Program’s requirement of complete tuna traceability, as well as multiple authenticity certificates associated with its tuna.
The New York Times is not the first to question the authenticity of Subway’s tuna. In January, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Subway in California that claimed the sandwich giant’s popular tuna subs were “completely bereft of tuna as an ingredient” and were rather a “mixture of various concoctions”.
The plaintiffs have since walked back on their original claims and instead now claim that Subway’s tuna is not 100% wild-caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna. Subway’s new website also rejects these claims, calling them “equally wrong” and a “reckless and improper attack” on its brand and goodwill.