DEEP DIVE: Tests show there’s no tuna in Subway’s tuna sandwiches

Lab tests found no tuna DNA in their sandwiches and wraps.

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Something fishy’s going on.

Subway is under fire after a lab study found no evidence of tuna in their sandwiches and wraps.

The New York Times tested “more than 60 inches worth of Subway tuna sandwiches” from different locations in the Los Angeles area to determine if the sandwiches actually consisted of tuna.

This comes after a lawsuit filed earlier this year in California, claiming there’s no real tuna in Subway’s ingredients.

According to the Times, the samples – which was simply the tuna on bread; no toppings, cheese or dressing – were picked up from three locations and brought to a lab where a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was conducted, which searched for DNA of five different tuna species.

Subway’s tuna and seafood sourcing statement says the chain only uses skipjack and yellowfin tuna, species the lab would be able to detect.

However, that didn’t happen.

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“No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA,” the lab concluded.


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“Therefore, we cannot identify the species.”

A spokesperson for the lab offered 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.”

Subway declined to comment on the Times’ commissioned lab results.

The outlet did acknowledge that the test results could be inaccurate because the DNA in cooked tuna is altered from its fresh state.

It should also be noted that Inside Edition commissioned a similar lab study in February with tuna subs from three Subway locations in Queens, New York, and the results from that test concluded the chain does use real tuna.

According to Subway Canada’s website, the Tuna Salad sub is described as a “classic tuna sandwich” made of “100% wild caught tuna” blended with creamy mayonnaise (though Quebec locations use a light-mayo type dressing).


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