Why You Should Think Twice About Ordering Jalapeños At Subway

2021 has been a tough year for Subway. Perhaps most notable was the November scandal concerning Subway's tuna, which has been the subject of a lawsuit alleging it isn't really the premium ingredient Subway claims it is, per Business Insider. This may have caused some customers to wonder whether other foods at Subway are really what they thought they were.

Although Subway's catchphrase is "Eat Fresh," it's possible that this chain's ingredients are no fresher than any other restaurant's food. Eat This, Not That! reports that some of the ingredients customers would expect to be the freshest, like vegetables and chicken, reportedly arrive at Subway restaurants weeks old and packed with preservatives. These claims were written in an open letter to one of the company's owners that was signed by more than 100 Subway restaurant operators.

If those claims weren't concerning enough, some self-identified former and current Subway employees have claimed online that they weren't required to clean the produce (via Reddit). (Still, a few self-identified employees responded that this was not the case at their locations.) Boxes of tomatoes and peppers purportedly contained more than a few rotten veggies, and a number of Subway establishments may not require washing veggies or rinsing anything off. With all of these claims about Subway's food, should we be surprised that controversy has fallen on the sandwich shop's jalapeños as well?

Subway reportedly gives customers jalapeño stems

YouTuber Gus Johnson brought his jalapeño outrage to his 3 million subscribers. In a video posted to YouTube, Johnson shared the tale of how he purchased 20 Subway sandwiches with jalapeños. He proceeded to go through every single sandwich, removing jalapeños still bearing their stems. Only one of the 20 sandwiches did not contain any stems.

When Vice collaborated with Johnson to cover the story, Subway reached out with a statement about the jalapeño stems. Subway told Vice, "While the top portion of a jalapeño is a natural part of the pepper, some guests may not enjoy it as much so we are working on ways to address this."

Johnson posted a screenshot of the statement to Twitter, where fans ran with the chain's logic. David Prigs commented, "The stem is a 'natural part' of an apple too, but you don't see us eating that." Jose Sanchez added, "The avocado pit is a natural part of the avocado as well, but you don't see me wanting it in my guac." Sorry, Subway, but they make a good point.

Subway's tuna is also questionable

If you've been thinking about getting tuna on your Subway sandwich, you might want to skip that, too. As noted earlier, Subway's tuna has been under scrutiny for quite some time. Still, according to the Subway website, its tuna "is and always has been high-quality, premium and 100% real." 

When Subway tuna was lab-tested to identify its contents, some disturbing results came back: "19 of 20 tuna samples from Subway locations throughout Southern California had no detectable tuna DNA, and all of the samples contained at least one other animal protein, whether chicken, pork or cattle," The Washington Post reported in November.

Why is this problematic? Well, besides the obvious — Subway's claim that its tuna is "100% real" — this poses ethical dilemmas for individuals who may have religious or other dietary restrictions. Those who practice Islam or Judaism, for example, can normally consume tuna, but they may not want to risk consuming Subway tuna because it may contain pork, which is forbidden.

Maybe don't order Subway's chicken, either

Just like the jalapeños and the tuna, you may want to pass on Subway's chicken. While the chicken may not be as widely controversial as the tuna, it's still pretty gross when you find out it's not 100% chicken. So if the chicken isn't entirely chicken, what else is in there?

When tested, Subway's chicken did not contain any other meats. However, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) "Marketplace" discovered (via Vice) that "Subway's oven roasted chicken contained 53.6% chicken DNA, and its chicken strips were a mere 42.8% chicken." At least the remainder was just soy protein, right? That's a little better than the reported contents of Subway's tuna.

Still, the deception goes further — those grill marks on Subway's chicken aren't real, either. To be fair, Subway isn't the only fast food chain to use meats with grill mark illusions. These marks give the impression your chicken was grilled while saving restaurants and suppliers time.