The New York Times tested “more than 60 inches worth of Subway tuna sandwiches” from California locations to establish which of five tuna species were used in the sandwiches.
The Subway tuna scandal continues after a lab test revealed no trace of tuna DNA in the sandwiches and wraps tested by Subway.
The New York Times commissioned a lab to analyze “more than 60 inches worth of Subway tuna sandwiches” in response to a complaint filed in January alleging that the chain’s ingredients lack actual tuna. The Washington Post first reported the accusations made by two California residents – Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin – who filed the complaint in the Northern District of California’s United States District Court.
The New York Times reported that samples of tuna from Subway were taken from three locations in Los Angeles. A lab did a PCR test to verify whether the chain restaurant’s tuna included one of five different tuna species. As the site explains, the US Food and Drug Administration’s Seafood List records 15 kinds of fish that can be branded as tuna.
“No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample, and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA,” the lab study concluded. “Therefore, we cannot identify the species.”
The lab spokesperson added: “There are 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.”
When tuna is cooked, its DNA is denatured, the New York Times reported. This means that test results may be erroneous as a result of the change.
Plaintiffs contend in their January lawsuit that Subway’s tuna is manufactured “from a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by Defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.” In addition, the complaint claims that the plaintiffs had “multiple samples” of tuna taken from Subway outlets throughout California evaluated by independent laboratories.
A spokeswoman for Subway told PEOPLE: “There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California.”