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Subway's Bread Shouldn't Even Be Called "Bread," Irish Court Rules

In a recent ruling, the Irish Supreme Court says the bread cannot be considered as a tax-exempt, staple food due to high sugar content.

The Irish Supreme Court has some beef with Subway's bread. In fact, in a recent ruling, the court said the company's sandwich bun shouldn't even be called bread.

The U.S. sandwich chain's bread does not fit the bill as a staple food under Ireland's Value-Added Tax Act of 1972 standards, the Irish Independent reports. The reason? It's too high in sugar. (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time)

Under this act, staple foods served at restaurants such as coffee, tea, and sandwiches are not taxed if they are taken to go. However, after a Subway franchise owner in Ireland challenged the tax authorities for their decision to not issues a refund for VAT (value-added tax), the Supreme Court ruled that Subway's bread cannot even be constituted as bread, therefore it's not a staple good and is subject to tax.

The issue is that 10% of the bread's weight of the flour in the dough is sugar and according to the VAT Act, sugar, fat, and "bread improver" cannot collectively make up more than 2% of the flour's weight. This act prevents pastries and other sweet baked goods from being exempt from tax. So you see, the argument isn't that Subway's bread is too sugary to actually be called bread, it's more so a discussion about whether or not the chain's sandwich deserves to be taxed.

"Subway's bread is, of course, bread," Subway said in a statement. "We have been baking fresh bread in our restaurants for more than three decades and our guests return each day for sandwiches made on bread that smells as good as it tastes."

For context, a six-inch sub bun contains anywhere between 3-5 grams of sugar, that's about as much sugar that's in one Oreo cookie.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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