Flap Over the Meat in Subway’s Chicken Sandwiches Leads to Class Action Suit

By Robert Storace, March 6, 2017

Subway is now facing a prospective class action lawsuit over allegations that its chicken might not actually be chicken.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on March 3 comes on the heels of a news report on Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s “Marketplace” that found about 53.6 percent of the meat in Subway’s roasted chicken sandwiches has actual chicken DNA. Subway’s sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich fared worse, with just 42.8 percent coming back as chicken.

Of the fast-food eateries tested, Subway’s samples were the only ones that contained enough plant DNA to allow the lab to identify soy species, according to the lawsuit.

The 22-page lawsuit alleges the Milford-based chain “spends a significant amount of money to convey deceptive messages to consumers throughout the United States.” There are more than 44,000 Subway restaurants located throughout the world.

The suit was filed on behalf of Stamford resident Craig Moskowitz, who claimed he’s a frequent Subway consumer. Moskowitz has also filed several unrelated class action suits in recent years.

Subway had not assigned an attorney to the case as of Monday afternoon, and no one from the company was available for comment.

Subway has fired back against the report on social media and its website, claiming its own testing showed 99 percent of its chicken is actual chicken while less than 1 percent is soy.

Soy is added to keep products moist and flavorful, according to Subway.

Subway and scientists have also raised concerns about the methodology used in the underlying report.

“[The report] used factually incorrect data to suggest the chicken Subway serves might not be all chicken,” according to a statement on Subway’s website. “The claims made in the story are false and misleading. We use only chicken—with added marinade, spices and seasoning. Producing high-quality food for our customers is our highest priority.”

Moskowitz’s attorney, Sergei Lemberg, told the Connecticut Law Tribune on Monday that his law firm has commissioned its own study to see how much chicken is actually in Subway’s products.

“We’ll wait for the results and for the discovery process to shed light on whether this chicken is or is not completely chicken,” said Lemberg, who is the principal owner of Wilton-based Lemberg Law.

The results of that study could “take a couple of months,” Lemberg added. “We are looking forward to delving into the nitty gritty of this interesting case that is important to consumers.”

The lawsuit states it’s not clear how many people could be party to the class action, noting it could exceed “hundreds of thousands, if not millions of persons.”

It’s also unclear what would be needed to join the lawsuit.

“A [Subway] receipt is helpful, but I don’t know at this point if you just need a receipt,” Lemberg said. “This all has to be hashed out in the course of discovery.”

The lawsuit seeks compensatory, statutory and punitive damages.

Moskowitz is also a plaintiff in a November lawsuit that accuses supermarket chain Fairway of sending unauthorized text messages to his cellphone in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Original story: At the Connecticut Law Tribune

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