Subway denies weird lawsuit claiming tuna salad is "entirely non-tuna"

There's a Subway storm brewing, with a strange new lawsuit alleging that the sandwich-maker's tuna isn't, in fact, tuna, and fishing to start up a lucrative class-action suit. The unexpected case – allegations from which Subway has strenuously denied – claims what's billed as tuna salad is something completely different.

Rather than offering a tasty blend of tuna and mayonnaise, the lawsuit says, Subway and its franchise stores are actually pushing something which has no tuna in it at all. Instead, the case – filed on January 21st, in the US Northern District of California – insists, "the filling in the Products has no scintilla of tuna at all. In fact, the Products entirely lack any trace of tuna as a component, let alone the main or predominant ingredient."

The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, claims to have undertaken independent testing that has "repeatedly affirmed" that it's an "entirely non-tuna-based mixture," USA Today reports. They allege that Subway knowingly mixed up those alternative ingredients to look like real tuna, and to "imitate its texture."

Unsurprisingly, Subway disagrees, and vehemently. "There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California," spokesperson Maggie Truax said in a statement. "Subway delivers 100% 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."

Indeed it sounds a lot like Subway is ramping up to push back with some litigation of its own, accusing the plaintiffs of damaging its reputation. "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," the spokesperson said. "Indeed, there is no basis in law or fact for the plaintiffs' claims, which are frivolous and are being pursued without adequate investigation."

Still a mystery right now is just what's actually in the Subway tuna salad, at least according to the people behind the lawsuit. That's not actually been disclosed.

Subway franchise locations source their ingredients from organizations like Independent Purchasing Cooperative Inc., a Subway restaurant franchisee-owned group that collectively negotiates with suppliers. It's designed as an independent non-profit, with more than 25,000 owners in the US and Canada involved.