Subway CEO: Our sandwiches are '100% tuna', urges customers to 'follow the science'

Amid pointed questions — and even a lawsuit — about the authenticity of Subway's tuna, CEO John Chidsey has an unequivocal message for its customers.

The sandwich chain's highly popular item is pure fish and nothing but, he told Yahoo Finance in an interview on Wednesday. 

"Yes, it's 100% real tuna. We're very proud of our tuna," Chidsey said on Wednesday. He referred to the company's decision to not nix the embattled item last week, when it announced the largest menu update in its history, dubbed "Eat Fresh Refresh."

Chidsey said the menu changes, which include a mix of ingredient changes and new sandwiches, have been going on for 15-16 months. 

"We touched turkey, we touched ham, we touched chicken, and we touched steak. The one thing we did not touch was our tuna." However, a New York Times analysis in June suggested the item's origins were, well, fishy.

On that score, Chidsey insisted that people should "follow the science" to discover what happens to tuna during the cooking process. 

"Once tuna is cooked, its DNA becomes denatured," the CEO explained, urging people to head to to de-mystify the controversy. "Once it's cooked and you test it, you can't prove one way or the other, given just the nature of the test." 

According to Chidsey, 92 percent of Americans live within a five-mile radius of a Subway, providing a leg up against fellow competitors in the fast food industry.

"While we have competition out there, they're all considerably smaller," Chidsey added.

He hopes the "Eat Fresh Refresh" menu update assures its customers "there's a lot of great things" at Subway and the brand is "still in the game." 

Chidsey added: "While we've had a tremendous first six months of the year, I like to look at this as just throwing gas on a fire in terms of continuing to drive excitement and innovation around the brand." 

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at [email protected] Check out her latest:

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