Irish Supreme Court Rules That Subway’s Sandwich Loaves Can’t Legally Be Called Bread

The bread-like rolls can't legally be called bread due to their high sugar content

A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Getty Images

There have been disputes in the past over whether Subway’s foot-long subs are actually 12 inches, but a new court ruling provides a new blow: the bread used for the chain’s sandwiches is technically not bread at all.

As Business Insider reports, the Irish Supreme Court has ruled that Subway’s sandwich loaves do not meet the legal definition of bread due to their high sugar content. The ruling comes as part of a case brought by Bookfinders Ltd., a Subway franchisee in County Galway that claimed the rolls should be exempt from value-added tax.

As the publication notes, “In Ireland, certain staple foods like bread are exempt from VAT. But to differentiate between bread and baked goods, the VAT Act 1972 provides a specific definition of bread saying the fat, sugar, and bread improver should not account for more than 2% of the weight of the flour in the product.”

Subway’s sandwich rolls do not meet this standard because sugar accounts for 10 percent of the weight of the flour. It’s not the first time the company’s bread (or, not-bread, technically) has been the subject of controversy; in 2014, Subway immediately changed their bread recipe after reports revealed it contained chemicals that are also found in yoga mats.


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