The New York Times stated that it submitted samples from three locations in Los Angeles to test Subway's tuna fish amid a lawsuit.
According to the Times, the results revealed that there was no amplifiable DNA from tuna in the samples. This means that the lab could not identify five species of tuna it tested. According to the Times, 15 species of fish can be classified as tuna by the Food and Drug Administration.
Two California plaintiffs who originally claimed in court documents Jan. 21 that Subway's tuna sandwiches did not contain tuna, but a "mixture from various concoctions," have since dropped those claims in court filings starting June 7. Karen Dhanowa, Nilima Amin and Nilima Amin accuse Subway of misleading customers by promoting their product as "100% sustainably captured skipjack and yellowfin tuna", or "100% tuna."
Subway responded to the original lawsuit in January by stating that "there simply is not truth to the allegations" as well as vowing to "vigorously defend" itself against the suit.
Subway reached out to Subway regarding the Times report and amended lawsuit. A spokesperson for Subway told TODAY via email Wednesday that the new claims were false and had no merit. The amended complaint doesn't address any fundamental flaws in plaintiffs' cases that should lead to the case being dismissed.
A spokesperson for the lab explained to the Times that the tuna was tested and the results were not consistent. "One, it has been so processed that we can't pull out any identifications." Oder we found some tuna in the sample.
According to the Times, tuna can become denatured when it is cooked. This means that the protein structure is altered and test results may be incorrect.
According to The Times, before the test, the laboratory was "wary of the challenges of identifying fish that has been cooked at least once, combined with mayo, frozen, and shipped across the nation."
Subway spokesperson addressed these points in an email to TODAY. He stated that the Times' report "indicates DNA testing is unreliable for identifying processed tuna."
The spokesperson stated that "all (the test) states is that the testing couldn't confirm tuna", which is exactly what one would expect from DNA tests of denatured protein."
Subway's website says that the company sources tuna only from fisheries with non-threatened stocks levels and uses only skipjack and yellowfin tuna as per the Times.