A viral TikTok video from last year showing Subway tuna-mayonnaise being made has resurfaced as the fast food chain is hit with allegations that the product doesn’t include any tuna – or even fish.
The short video, shared by a user named @highimmar in June 2020, shows a Subway worker as they prepare the sandwich for customers by dunking a frozen block of the tuna in a bowl and mixing it with mayonnaise.
The employee takes the tuna from vacuum-sealed packaging labeled as ‘flaked light tuna in brine’. The ingredients on the packaging read: ‘tuna, water, salt’.
It comes as Subway pushes back after a lawsuit filed against the company on January 21 claimed the tuna sandwiches do not contain real tuna.
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A Subway employee last year shared this video of themselves preparing the company’s tuna salad from a frozen package. The ingredients read tuna, water, and salt
It comes as two California customers accuse the company of using fake tuna meat
Last year, social media users were disgusted by the video of the tuna mayonnaise
The video was shared by this unidentified Subway worker in June 2020
The video had already sparked controversy when it was first posted last summer with some of its million-plus viewers disgusted at how the tun was really made.
‘Lol guess whose no longer eating tuna at Subway,’ one user wrote of the company, whose motto is ‘Eat Fresh’.
‘Doesn’t look fresh,’ said user Sean McBride while Sierra Rose added, ‘So it’s not frsh’.
‘This reaffirms my choice to only eat sushi-grade tuna,’ claimed user Shannon Antoinette.
Yet others defended the chain, asking how it was so bad.
‘What’s the difference from this and a can of tuna….. nothing,’ wrote user Courtdizzle.
The viral TikTok video showed the employee mixing a jug of mayonnaise in with the tuna
The employee then mixed it all together with their gloved hands
The employee showed off the finished product ahead of serving it to customers
‘Everyone grossed out by this has never bought tuna that isn’t sushi,’ said another.
‘Tuna from subway is good. Idc what it came in,’ added Layla.
Some users claiming to be Subway workers added that this was not a favorite part of the job.
‘I HATED DOING THIS! Lol,’ said one ex-staff member.
‘When I worked at subway the owner made us do it with our hands, he wouldn’t let us use a spatula,’ another claimed.
User Morgan confessed: ‘I was a manager at subway for three years and literally never measures out the mayo. It’s a waste of time and adds another dish to the pile.’
The video resurfaced this week as two Bay Area customers alleged that Subway is guilty of misrepresenting its tuna sandwich.
Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin of Alameda County filed a lawsuit last week in San Francisco federal court against the American fast food restaurant.
Social media users commented on the video claiming they would not eat the tuna again
Others defended Subway, claiming the tuna mayonnaise didn’t look bad
The plaintiffs claim that they performed independent lab tests of samples of tuna taken from several Subway locations in California.
The tests prove that the ‘tuna’ is actually a ‘mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by [Subway] to imitate the appearance of tuna,’ according to the complaint.
The complaint does not specify what the lab tests revealed or what the tuna is actually made of.
A Subway representative told DailyMail.com: ‘These claims are meritless.
‘There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California.
‘Subway delivers 100 per cent 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 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.
Two Subway customers from Alameda County, California are suing the popular fast food restaurant chain because they claim lab tests prove that its tuna sandwich isn’t made from real tuna. The above image is a stock photo of a Subway tuna sandwich
‘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.’
The spokesperson added: ‘Unfortunately, this lawsuit is 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 in that space.
‘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.’
Subway bills its tuna sandwich as ‘freshly baked bread’ that contains ‘flaked tuna blended with creamy mayo then topped with your choice of crisp, fresh veggies.’
But the plaintiffs’ attorney, Shalini Dogra, told The Washington Post: ‘We found that the ingredients were not tuna and not fish.’
Dogra’s clients, Dhanowa and Amin, want to have their claim certified as a class action, which would allow thousands of other potentially dissatisfied customers to join in the legal action.
Anyone wishing to join the lawsuit would have had to purchase a tuna sandwich or tuna wrap sometime after January 21, 2017.
Dhanowa and Amin are suing Subway for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and other civil violations.
They claim they ‘were tricked into buying food items that wholly lacked the ingredients they reasonably thought they were purchasing’ based on Subway’s advertising and marketing of the product.
A Subway spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the claims are ‘meritless.’ The above image shows a Subway location in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida
Dhanowa and Amin allege Subway ‘is saving substantial sums of money in manufacturing the products because the fabricated ingredient they use in the place of tuna costs less money.’
They claim they are being cheated out of the health benefits they thought they were getting by buying tuna sandwiches.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as attorneys’ fees.
‘Consumers are consistently misled into purchasing the products for the commonly known and/or advertised benefits and characteristics of tuna when in fact no such benefits could be had, given that the products are in fact devoid of tuna,’ according to the complaint.
Subway says its tuna is flaked in brine, mayonnaise and an additive to ‘protect flavor.’
On Twitter, social media users piled on Subway with some expressing relief they never bought a tuna sandwich from the chain.
‘Subway: where you can get a tuna that’s not really tuna sandwich on bread that’s not really bread all under a sign that says “Eat Fresh”,’ tweeted Kamaron McNair.
McNair was referring to a ruling last fall in which Ireland’s Supreme Court found that Subway’s bread contained too much sugar to be called bread.
Another Twitter user commented: ‘I don’t eat Subway and haven’t for years, but this “tuna” sandwich was the only thing I ate.
‘Fish mystery meat. Proof that mixing mayo into anything makes it good.’
Esther tweeted: ‘Wait.. it’s not tuna?! I remember they had to take down the crab (or lobster) sandwich because it was misleading. Im getting a stomachache.
‘I worked at a subway in my teens. It was tuna. But this was decades ago.’
Another Twitter user, Adam Rayes, tweeted: ‘As a former “sandwich artist”, this allegation being true would not surprise me one bit.
‘Tuna should not come in moisture-less bricks, and yet at Subway it does. Never even smelled like tuna.’
Elise Hu tweeted: ‘Wow. So, to review: An Irish court already ruled that Subway sandwich “bread” is not bread.
‘A US lawsuit tried to prove their “footlongs” aren’t actually a foot long, and now … a new suit alleges its tuna salad is not tuna?!’
Another Twitter user posted an emoji showing a fish after the word ‘Seems’ as if to say ‘Seems fishy.’
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Lab tests revealed that the Subway Tuna sandwich isn’t tuna or even fish. So it’s not tuna, it’s not fish, is it…..chicken?’
That tweet included a gif showing singer Jessica Simpson eating from a can of tuna.
In 2003, Simpson and her then-husband, fellow singer Nick Lachey, starred in the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.
In one famous episode, Simpson was eating tuna taken from a ‘Chicken of the Sea’ tin can.
On Twitter, social media users piled on Subway with some expressing relief they never bought a tuna sandwich from the chain
‘Subway: where you can get a tuna that’s not really tuna sandwich on bread that’s not really bread all under a sign that says “Eat Fresh”,’ tweeted Kamaron McNair. McNair was referring to a ruling last fall in which Ireland’s Supreme Court found that Subway’s bread contained too much sugar to be called bread
Esther tweeted: ‘Wait.. it’s not tuna?! I remember they had to take down the crab (or lobster) sandwich because it was misleading. Im getting a stomachache…I worked at a subway in my teens. It was tuna. But this was decades ago.’
Another Twitter user commented: ‘I don’t eat Subway and haven’t for years, but this “tuna” sandwich was the only thing I ate. Fish mystery meat. Proof that mixing mayo into anything makes it good.’
Elise Hu tweeted: ‘Wow. So, to review: An Irish court already ruled that Subway sandwich “bread” is not bread. ‘A US lawsuit tried to prove their “footlongs” aren’t actually a foot long, and now … a new suit alleges its tuna salad is not tuna?!’
Another Twitter user, Adam Rayes, tweeted: ‘As a former “sandwich artist”, this allegation being true would not surprise me one bit. Tuna should not come in moisture-less bricks, and yet at Subway it does. Never even smelled like tuna.’
Another Twitter user posted an emoji showing a fish after the word ‘Seems’ as if to say ‘Seems fishy.
One Twitter user included a gif showing singer Jessica Simpson eating from a can of tuna. In 2003, Simpson and her then-husband, fellow singer Nick Lachey, starred in the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. In one famous episode, Simpson was eating tuna taken from a ‘Chicken of the Sea’ tin can. ‘Is this chicken what I’m having or is this fish?’ Simpson asks Lachey. ‘I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘chicken…by the sea’.”
‘Is this chicken what I’m having or is this fish?’ Simpson asks Lachey. ‘I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘chicken…by the sea’.”
The comments ignited a firestorm of mockery from the public.
What is the nutritional value of a tuna sandwich? That depends on several factors, including the type of bread, cheese, veggies, sauces, and seasonings one may choose.
According to Subway, a six-inch tuna sandwich with Italian-style bread, pepper jack cheese, cucumbers, green peppers, red onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon translates into 580 calories, 35 grams of fat (9 grams saturated fat), and 70mg of cholesterol.
It would also contain 1,000mg of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of protein, and some vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
A footlong version of the same sandwich equals double the nutritional values listed above.
‘Tuna is one of our most popular sandwiches,’ Katia Noll, Subway’s senior director for global food safety and quality at Subway, told DailyMail.com.
‘Our restaurants receive 100 per cent wild-caught tuna, mix it with mayonnaise and serve on a freshly made sandwich to our guests.’
Subway is the fast food chain with the largest number of restaurants both in the United States and worldwide.
According to its web site, there are more than 22,000 Subway franchises in the US; more than 2,800 in Canada; 1,674 in Brazil; more than 1,200 in Australia; and thousands more combined in Europe, Russia, and China.
Restaurateurs looking to start a business choose Subway because of their relatively cheap franchise fee, which is just $15,000.
By comparison, the franchise fee to start a McDonald’s costs $45,000.
Construction costs for Subway locations are also relatively cheap. While it could cost around $250,000 to open up a Subway, a McDonald’s restaurant could set you back as much as eight times that amount before serving one customer.
This is not the first time that Subway has been accused of making false claims misrepresenting its products.
In March 2017, Subway sued the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation over a television news report claiming its chicken is packed with soy fillers.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as attorneys’ fees
In a TV expose, the CBC said Subway’s chicken was only around 50 per cent poultry and the rest of it soybeans.
Subway sought $210million in damages in the lawsuit calling the allegations ‘defamatory and absolutely false’.
That same year, a US federal appeals court threw out a class-action settlement intended to resolve claims that the Subway sandwich chain deceived customers by selling ‘Footlong’ subs that were less than a foot long.
The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago called the settlement ‘utterly worthless,’ even as it rewarded the customers’ lawyers for convincing Subway it was better to make the case go away than fight.
‘A class action that seeks only worthless benefits for the class and yields only fees for class counsel is no better than a racket and should be dismissed out of hand,’ Circuit Judge Diane Sykes wrote for a three-judge panel.
‘That’s an apt description of this case.’
This past fall, Ireland’s Supreme Court ruled that bread sold by Subway contains so much sugar that it cannot be legally defined as bread.
The ruling came in a tax dispute brought by Bookfinders Ltd., an Irish Subway franchisee, which argued that some of its takeaway products – including teas, coffees and heated sandwiches – were not liable for value-added tax.
A panel of judges rejected the appeal, ruling that the bread sold by Subway contains too much sugar to be categorized as a ‘staple food,’ which is not taxed.
‘There is no dispute that the bread supplied by Subway in its heated sandwiches has a sugar content of 10 per cent of the weight of the flour included in the dough, and thus exceeds the 2 per cent specified,’ the judgment read.
The law makes a distinction between ‘bread as a staple food’ and other baked goods ‘which are, or approach, confectionery or fancy baked goods,’ the judgment said.