Subway Tuna Tested by Independent Lab

Two weeks ago we told you that Subway was being sued by two California consumers whose lawyers claimed there was no tuna in the tuna sandwiches sold by the company. [See original story.] Subway denied the claims and even launched an advertising campaign saying it used 100% wild-caught tuna.

Now Inside Edition decided to have Subway’s tuna tested by an independent laboratory that specializes in analyzing fish, Applied Food Technologies.


The results of the tests on three samples showed that indeed they all contained real tuna fish.

Below is the 2021 carton containing the actual tuna pouches that Subway currently uses (at least at the Queens location where it was photographed). The description on it perfectly matches what was on the tuna package displayed by a Subway employee last summer before this became an issue.


Subway carton
Subway pouch

At the time the lawsuit was filed last month, the consumers’ lawyers refused to provide the specific ingredients that their own tests revealed that formed the basis of their case. We asked the lawyers last week to comment on Inside Edition‘s test results and whether they were still sticking by their own analysis. The lawyers did not respond… but you can add your comments below on these latest developments.

Hey, Tostitos, Where’s the Guacamole?

Just in time for the Super Bowl, Frito-Lay has introduced a new chip, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole.


Ever curious reader HMC wrote to us after checking the ingredients statement having discovered there wasn’t even a hint of real guacamole listed:


Corn, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil), Maltodextrin (Made from Corn), Salt, Natural Flavors, Whey, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cream, Spices, Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Skim Milk), Tomato Powder, Jalapeño Pepper, Maltodextrin (Made from Tapioca), Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Butter (Cream, Salt), Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake), Swiss Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), and Artificial Flavors.

In the bottom left hand corner of the bag, nowhere near the Hint of Guacamole product name, there is a small disclosure.


Tostitos artificial

Unfortunately for shoppers, this disclosure is so low down on the bag (in line with the net weight statement), that it likely gets folded under the product as it sits on store shelves.

We asked Frito-Lay twice if the guacamole flavor in the product is real or artificial and if the green specs on the chips are guac flavor or merely decoration. The company didn’t respond… and that probably says a lot.

Subway Sued Over Alleged Tuna-less Tuna Sandwiches; It Fights Back With New Ads

Two California consumers sued Subway in January for selling tuna sandwiches and wraps that allegedly had no tuna in them.

Subway tuna


According to the complaint

Defendants consistently advertise the Products as “tuna.” However, Defendants’ labeling and marketing scheme for the Products is blatantly false. As independent testing has repeatedly affirmed, the Products are made from anything but tuna. On the contrary, the Products are made from a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by Defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna. Defendants identified, labeled and advertised the Products as “tuna” to consumers, when in fact they were not tuna.

The lawsuit provided no other specifics as to the actual content of the sandwiches, but repeatedly asserts that “the Products entirely lack any trace of tuna as a component…”

A check of the ingredients statement on the Subway website, however, lists the ingredients of their tuna salad as having tuna as its primary ingredient.


Subway ingredients

To try to figure out what was really going on here, we asked one of the consumers’ two law firms for a copy of the full complaint twice, but they would not provide it. Then we asked the other law firm representing the consumers for more specifics including what the tests they conducted revealed, and whether the complaint is based on a technical violation of the federal definition of what constitutes tuna fish. They responded saying they were not answering media questions at this stage of the case.

However, we did get a response from Subway with their comments.

“Our restaurants receive pure tuna, mix it with mayonnaise and serve [it] on a freshly made sandwich to our guests.” –Subway spokesperson

Digging around a little more, we found a video shot last summer by a Subway employee who was mixing up a batch of tuna for their sandwiches which shows the actual source of the tuna.


Subway tuna package

The package is clearly labeled as “tuna” and the only other ingredients in that package are water and salt. And as noted by the Subway spokesperson, and confirmed by the video, mayonnaise is the only other thing added.

As it comes out of the package, the tuna somewhat resembles “pink slime” — the pink mash from beef bone scrapings that McDonald’s was accused of using in hamburgers years ago. The tuna version of this is called “tuna scrape” — back meat scraped off tuna bones. We asked Subway twice if they use “tuna scrape” but they did not respond.

However, over this past weekend, the company did start a national advertising campaign addressing the tuna issue head-on:

Subway 100%

Clearly, there is something fishy going on… but we just don’t know what. Stay tuned.

We invite you to offer your opinion in the comments section below about this case. Is Subway actually trying to pull a fast one on customers as the law firms allege, or could the lawyers be mistaken? And what is the actual proof underlying the claims that the lawyers won’t reveal?