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Fast Food Opinion Science

Is Subway’s Tuna Lawsuit Too Fishy To Be True?

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Fast food sandwich giant Subway was rocked with another potential scandal this week. Years after dealing with allegations about their chicken containing other proteins, a lawsuit has been filed claiming that Subway’s tuna salad isn’t made with tuna.

According to the Washington Post, plaintiffs in the lawsuit got samples of the tuna from multiple locations in California. They declined to say the ingredients found, but claim that the salad mix was “not tuna” and “not fish.”

Subway has vehemently denied the allegations, saying they use “pure tuna” in a statement to the Post. Their ingredients list on the chain’s website also only has two ingredients for the salad mix: Flaked tuna in brine (which has tuna, water, and salt) and mayonnaise (which also contains spices and a preservative called EDTA that protects its flavor).

Obviously, given the history of fast food claims in the past, this controversy has swarmed swarmed the food news cycle. However, there are some questions brought up in the nature of the lawsuit that suggest it may not succeed.

Specifically, the lawsuit does not name what tests it used to determine how Subway’s tuna salad has no tuna. The most obvious forms of testing would be DNA barcoding or identification tests, which were used back when the chain’s chicken was evaluated in Canada.

While we don’t know if the plaintiffs used that kind of testing, we do know that it can raise some potential concerns on accuracy. Canned tuna (which the flakes come from) is known to cause issues when used in a DNA barcoding test. A 2017 review of DNA barcoding techniques in fish from Chapman University found that canned fish products often had a lower success rate and quality when it came to results.

The DNA barcoding sequences used could also be hindered by other ingredients in the salad mix. Given how the tuna is blended into mayonnaise, which is made with eggs, the possibility exists that the test results could be mixed with chicken DNA from the mayo.

The tests were conducted in independent labs, which should help reduce bias in the plaintiffs’ results. Unless they would be able to get the actual pre-mixed tuna from Subway, however, we don’t know for sure if any test results would be accurate. To date, the plaintiffs haven’t offered up additional information on how their testing was conducted.

It’s also unclear if any replications were performed to confirm results for the same samples, which was done back when CBC did their investigation of Subway’s chicken. Without knowing more information about how testing was conducted, given the data the plaintiffs have released, it’s hard to trust the veracity of the claims they’ve made to news outlets.

Of course, the plaintiffs could also be right, and probably wouldn’t be going to court unless they believed they had a strong case. Either way, we’ll have to see how this lawsuit plays out in court.

Categories
Drinks Health News

Lawsuit Alleges That LaCroix Contains Insecticides, Here’s What We Know

Popular sparkling water brand LaCroix is in the middle of a lawsuit for allegedly containing a key ingredient found in insecticides, but labeling their water as “all natural.”

According to a statement from Beaumont Costales, the law firm suing LaCroix’s parent company Natural Beverage Corporation, tests revealed that there were a number of artificial ingredients in the popular beverage brand. These ingredients listed were identified by as “synthetic” by the Food and Drug Administration.

So here’s what people see on the back of a LaCroix can:

  • Carbonated water
  • Natural flavor

A pretty simple combination, right? So what’s the problem?

In the lawsuit, the chemicals under “natural flavor” identified were limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool. Limonene is known to cause tumors and kidney toxicity and linalool can be found inside cockroach insecticide.

When news of the lawsuit broke, many people on our social media disavowed LaCroix for their alleged “shadiness.” The company, however, publicly denied all of this.

To mollify the masses dumping their LaCroix in the trash, Popular Science broke down the three “synthetic” ingredients listed in the lawsuit so consumers would have a better idea exactly how dangerous LaCroix actually is. Spoiler alert: It’s not.

Limonene

Limonene is a “naturally occurring chemical” that’s derived from the oil of citrus peels. The Food and Drug Administration lists limonene as safe in food, where it’s commonly used as a flavor and fragrance. There is little evidence that the chemical is cancerous to humans (though some in rodents), and some studies have even shown that it helps battle cancer.

Linalool

PubChem states that linalool is another “naturally occurring” agent found in flowers and spice plants. This includes herbs, cinnamon, mints, and laurels. While it is used in insecticides, PubChem advocates that it isn’t necessarily harmful to consume. The only side effects are mild eye and skin irritation, where someone eating spicy foods would experience the same results.

Linalool Propionate

The final ingredient linalool propionate, or linayl propionate, is found in ginger and lavender oils. The chemical ingredient is also said to be used as a means to help treat prostate cancer. Popular Science notes that the lawsuit’s statement of linalool propionate battling cancer cells really doesn’t do much for their argument.

So where does this leave the casual LaCroix drinkers worried that they could be pounding chemicals into their bodies?

 

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Facts on the table, it sounds like LaCroix is still safe to drink. While we won’t really know if the ingredients found in LaCroix were derived naturally or synthetically until a full investigation is launched, the quantity used in a can appears to be nothing to stress over.

The National Beverage Corps has since snapped back at the lawsuit, stating that it was filed “without basis in fact or law regarding the natural composition of its LaCroix sparkling waters” and that the parent company “will vigorously seek actual and punitive damages among other remedies from everyone involved in the publication of these defamatory falsehoods.”

We’ll see in the weeks to come where this case leaves sparkling water brand.

Categories
Fast Food Health News Restaurants

Chipotle Just Got Subpoenaed and Is Under Federal Investigation Over Recent Outbreaks

In the last few years, Chipotle has been taking beating after beating, not unlike Steve Rogers in the first act of Captain America: The First Avenger. To add on to the beatdown of Chipotle, the fast-casual Mexican Grill recently had more than a hundred customers get sick from their food, as well as a couple confirmed cases of norovirus resurfacing.

Now, Business Insider reports, Chipotle has been served a subpoena and is currently undergoing a federation investigation for all the recent food related illnesses that occurred at the restaurant since 2015.

Last week, a Chipotle location in Sterling, Virginia, was ground zero for another norovirus outbreak. The restaurant responded on Wednesday with a filing stating that they fully intend to cooperate with the investigation.

So far more than 100 people reported to iwaspoisoned.com that they became sick after eating at the Virginia location. It has also been confirmed that two of those customers have tested positive for the norovirus: a pathogen that causes diarrhea, stomach aches, and vomiting.

Chipotle’s recent foray into food safety issues parallels the events two years ago where customers also tested for norovirus as well as E. coli. It appears too many people are getting sick in such a short amount of time for food safety authorities to ignore.

The investigation will be conducted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

According to Business Insider, criminal investigations on outbreaks of food borne illnesses aren’t that common. This recent resurgence of norovirus, however, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Hopefully they’ll soon get to the bottom of what’s making customers sick all the time.

Categories
News Now Trending Products Sweets

Woman Suing Jelly Belly For ‘Deceptively Adding Sugar’ Could Actually Win, Here’s Why

Photo: Brandon Dilbeck (Wikimedia Commons)

Some formerly used language on one of Jelly Belly’s products may have them in some trouble.

A woman by the name of Jessica Gomez is currently suing the candy-making giant for allegedly tricking her into buying a product she believed to be free of sugar, according to FOX News. The plaintiff purchased Jelly Belly’s Sports Beans that she thought to be free of sugar since that word did not show up in the ingredients. However, she is now arguing that she was confused by “fancy phrasing” since the ingredients listing called the sugar added into the product “evaporated cane juice” instead of just sugar.

Gomez contends in her class-action lawsuit that by using this descriptive word choice for what is essentially sugar, Jelly Belly’s Sports Beans become more appealing to the athletes that consume them for their energy, electrolytes, and vitamins.

Gomez is seeking a trial by jury against Jelly Belly for false advertising, along with reparations for legal fees, damages, and restitution for the “extra amount of money” she and others spent on the jelly beans because of their perceived healthiness, according to Forbes. Jelly Belly, of course, has called the entire lawsuit “ridiculous” since they label added sugars on the nutrition label.

While the whole lawsuit does sound a little absurd, Jelly Belly could find itself in hot water due to the wording of “evaporated cane juice.” Legally, the FDA has recommended companies to avoid using that phrase in their label, and Jelly Belly in fact changed their label to say “cane sugar” on the Sports Beans recently, according to Grubstreet. Thus, the argument could be made that Jelly Belly knew their language was deceptive and changed it to prevent lawsuits like this one from happening. Gomez must have bought some of the beans that were in circulation without the new label change, which could have led to this lawsuit.

If that is the case, there is a chance that Gomez could actually win her lawsuit. For now, we’ll just have to see where it progresses.

Categories
Celebrity Grub

Chef Suing Diddy For Constantly Making Her Cook Post-Sex Meals

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As DJ Khaled has shown us through his daily Snapchats, when you’re rich and famous, you can afford to have a personal chef in-house, ready to cook you up anything on demand. P Diddy can afford this same luxury, but allegedly was being a bad boy with his chef Cindy Rueda.

According to court documents collected by TMZ, Rueda filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Diddy, claiming that he’d make her serve food after, and sometimes while Diddy was doing the nasty with “guests.”

Rueda said there were times Diddy would walk out with his cock out, and asked her if she liked the goods.

Adding more to the conflict, Rueda was fired for allegedly stealing one of Diddy’s watches, although she claims that she was set up.

One of Diddy’s reps told TMZ that, “This is a frivolous lawsuit by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for cause.”

Put it all together and Diddy’s being sued for wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and violation of whistlelblower protection.

We miss you, Big.

Categories
Deals Fast Food News Restaurants

Burger King Getting Sued For ‘Deceiving Customers’ With BOGO Croissan’wich Deal

We have breakfast. We have all of the breakfast.

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Usually, when you see a “Buy One, Get One Free” (or BOGO) deal at restaurant, you’d expect to pay the price of one item to get two. At Burger King, that may not be the case.

Maryland resident Koleta Anderson discovered that the hard way, and is now suing the fast food chain for deceiving customers with its BOGO coupon deal on their breakfast Croissan’wich. Her class action suit, filed in the U.S. district court in Maryland, claims that on multiple occasions at multiple Burger King locations, she paid more for the two sandwiches using the BOGO coupon than she did paying for a single sandwich.

In one such case in Washington D.C., she was able to obtain a single Croissan’wich for $1.00, but when she used the BOGO coupon for two sandwiches, she paid $4.61. On her other purchasing attempts at Burger Kings in Maryland and Virginia, Anderson paid about a dollar more for the BOGO deal than she did for a single sandwich. The consistency of these price increases makes it look like Burger King’s corporate policy is to inflate the price of a single sandwich under the BOGO deal, which is then basically a scam to anyone using these coupons.

As such, Anderson’s class action lawsuit extends to anyone who purchased two Croissan’wiches with the BOGO Coupon in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. The suit accuses Burger King of misleading consumers with the BOGO coupon, and wants the chain to turn over any “unjustly acquired profits” made from this promotion.

If you used this coupon and live in the affected areas, I’d definitely pay attention to this lawsuit, as you might be walking away with some extra refund money as a result.

Categories
Drinks News Restaurants Sweets

Starbucks Is Getting Sued Over The Unicorn Frappuccino, Here’s Why

Unicorn Frappuccinos hitting @starbucks tomorrow. Plan your commute accordingly.

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When Starbucks sold the Unicorn Frappuccino a couple of weeks ago, they may have made a critical legal misstep, and one cafe is vowing to make them pay for it.

Brooklyn cafe The End, who created the original Unicorn Latte a few months ago and has a trademark pending for the name, is suing the mega coffee chain for infringing on its trademark with the Unicorn Frappuccino.

The End claims in their lawsuit that Starbucks never approached them to see if they could use a “name deceptively similar to Unicorn Latte.” Neither the Unicorn Frappuccino or Unicorn Latte are made with coffee, but The End’s Unicorn Latte is a superfood health drink that only resembles Starbucks’ sugar-laden crap in terms of color. Apparently, some news articles also ran with the story that Starbucks’ drink was a Unicorn Latte, and the hashtag #unicornlatte was even associated with the beverage, causing even more confusion.

As a result, customers at The End even accused their OG beverage of being a knockoff and asked if they could get Unicorn Frappuccinos instead, which would definitely be an insult to a coffee shop claiming to have originated the Unicorn Latte.

Between all of these events transpiring while the Unicorn Frappuccino was in stores (and even when it was no longer available), the Brooklyn cafe feels that Starbucks infringed on its trademark and utilized “unfair competition” to push its product.

While Starbucks is no longer selling the mythical beverage, their press release did suggest that the Frappuccino may return at some point in the near future, and The End doesn’t want that to further damage their brand and cafe.

Thus, The End is looking for judges to permanently prevent Starbucks from using names like the “Unicorn Frappuccino” that are confusingly similar to the Unicorn Latte, and also want Starbucks to fork over “all gains, profits, and advantages” they obtained from selling the Unicorn Frap. On top of that, they’re asking for the coffee chain to put a statement on its website and in print media that corrects “the confusion as to the unlawful use of the mark and the origination of the UNICORN LATTE” for six months. 

In a statement to USA Today, Starbucks harshly countered the lawsuit, claiming it to be “without merit.”

“The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending in social media. The beverage was offered for a limited time in April and is no longer available in our stores.”

We’ll see if you’re right here, Starbucks. If you’re wrong, you could be out potentially millions.

 

Categories
News Now Trending Packaged Food

Chobani Settles Fake News Lawsuit With Infowars’ Alex Jones

One of the consequences of spreading fake news about a food company: they’ll come after you and sue you.

Chobani is doing just that to right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose website Infowars has repeatedly published inaccurate articles linking the Greek yogurt company to child rape and an outbreak of tuberculosis near its massive Idaho plant. Now, the Washington Post reports that Chobani is suing Jones for defaming and harming the company and those associated with it living nearby the facility.

Chobani and its CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, specifically highlighted an erroneous tweet linking the company to the sexual assault of a five-year-old by two minors (the only connection to Chobani being that the crime occurred in the same city the Chobani factory is located in) and an uncited claim that Chobani’s increased the tuberculosis incidences in the city by 500%.

Alex Jones, also known for promoting the infamous “Pizzagate” controversy, has utilized Chobani’s practice of hiring refugees as the basis for his claims, utilizing a noble gesture by a food manufacturer as a way to generate fake news. His stories have not been taken down on either his YouTube channel or the Infowars website, continuing to spread exaggerated fabrications that have triggered a call by some to boycott Chobani products.

Jones has defended himself by targeting billionaire George Soros and outlandishly connecting Soros to the lawsuit when no evidence is available to suggest otherwise, and claimed the case had no credibility while vowing to not back down.

AOL reports that Chobani is seeking at least $10,000 in damages for the fake news Jones and Infowars have been spreading.

It’s not that much reward for such a high-profile lawsuit, but the message Chobani sends with it is clear: don’t spread tall tales about them. If you do, you’re gonna pay for it.

UPDATE: Per the Los Angeles Times, Chobani has settled with Alex Jones over the whole matter. Any tweets, videos, and statements Jones and Infowars have made defaming Chobani over these fake news matters have been retracted. Jones also issued the following statement:

“During the week of April 10, 2017, certain statements were made on the Infowars, Twitter feed and YouTube channel regarding Chobani LLC that I now understand to be wrong. The tweets and video have now been retracted, and will not be re-posted. On behalf of Infowars, I regret that we mischaracterized Chobani, its employees and the people of Twin Falls, Idaho, the way we did.”

It is unknown if Chobani also received monetary compensation as part of the settlement, with Chobani only telling the LA Times that “the matter has been resolved.”