Subway has ambitious goals in mind.
The sandwich company announced that pre-sliced deli meat will be discontinued. They intend to slice fresh meat for their popular sandwiches in-store.
“As part of Subway’s ongoing transformation journey, we are rolling out deli meat slicers to restaurants across the United States,” a Subway spokesperson said in a statement provided to PEOPLE.
“Our goal is to have freshly sliced meats in all U.S. restaurants by summer 2023,” the spokesperson continued.
Restaurant Business Online reported the news for the first time in August. Trevor Haynes, president of Subway North America, reportedly stated that the slicers are automatic. Haynes stated, “It’s not like the old handheld deli slicer.” Everything is automated.
According to Restaurant Business Online, the machines will be on display so that customers can observe the slicing process and observe the brand’s shift in production.
The transition to freshly sliced protein follows a controversy surrounding Subway’s tuna sandwiches that began in 2021.
Following a lawsuit filed in January 2021 alleging that the chain’s ingredients do not contain real tuna, the New York Times commissioned a lab to test “more than 60 inches’ worth of Subway tuna sandwiches” at the time. Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, both of California, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Washington Post was the first to report the allegations made by Dhanowa and Amin.
In a statement released to PEOPLE at the time, a spokeswoman for Subway reacted to the lawsuit by stating, “There is no truth to the accusations in the California case.”
The New York Times said that samples of tuna from Subway were collected from three sites in Los Angeles, and a lab did a PCR test to verify if the chain’s tuna included one of five different tuna species. The Seafood List issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifies 15 kinds of fish that may be marketed as tuna.
Subway asserts that they employ skipjack and yellowfin tuna, species that would be detectable by the New York Times’ laboratory. The lab investigation stated, “No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample, and so no amplification products were recovered from the DNA.” Thus, the species cannot be identified.
The New York Times reported that when tuna is cooked, its DNA becomes denatured, suggesting that test findings may be erroneous. In February 2021, Inside Edition commissioned a lab research utilising tuna from three New York City Subway stops. According to their findings, the business uses authentic tuna.
Subway has stated that anything in its tuna products that is not tuna is “most likely” the result of “cross-contact” from a sandwich-making staff. On one portion of its website, Subway refutes any accusations that our tuna is not 100 percent tuna.
A California judge ruled in July 2022 that Subway can be sued for claims that its sandwiches include “100% tuna.”
The 100% tuna claim might be incorrect, according to U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, even if Subway’s assertion of cross-contamination is genuine.
“It’s conceivable that Subway’s answers are accurate, but it’s also feasible that these claims allude to additives that a reasonable customer would not expect to see in a tuna product,” Tigar told NBC.