Irish Court Rules That Subway's Bread Is Not Actually Bread

by Leah Groth
Originally Published: 
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Ireland’s Supreme Court has ruled that the rolls Subway uses for their subs cannot be defined as “bread” due to their sugar content

Have you ever wondered why Subway rolls are so darn tasty, soft, delicious, and addictive compared to breads utilized by other sandwich shops? According to the Irish Supreme Court, it might be because the sandwich chain isn’t actually using real bread to house their cold cuts, veggies, and condiments. A legal ruling this week courtesy of the top-of-the-food-chain court in the island nation has deemed that Subway “bread” cannot actually be called “bread” in legal terms due to the copious amount of sugar used to make it.

According to The Independent, the court case came to fruition due to the country’s laws that staple foods attract a zero VAT (value added tax) rate. A Subway franchisee, Bookfinder Ltd., argued that their “heated subs” and other products, including teas and coffees, shouldn’t be subject to the VAT.

However, the five-judge court found that the sandwiches did not fall into the statutory definition of bread intended under the Value-Added Tax Act 1972, and therefore could not qualify as non-taxable because of their sugar due to a sugar content of 10 percent of the weight of the flour included in the dough.” According to the act, the weight of ingredients such as sugar, fat and bread should not exceed two percent of the weight of flour in the dough.

“The bread supplied by Subway in its heated sandwiches has a sugar content of 10% of the weight of the flour included in the dough,” Justice Donal O’Donnell said when delivering the judgment.

So, which of the company’s “breads” aren’t really bread, according to the ruling? All six of them — Italian white bread, Italian herbs and cheese, nine-grain wheat, hearty Italian, nine-grain multi-seed, and honey oat.

In case you are wondering how many grams of sugar are included in a 6-inch Subway roll, according to the brand’s website there are up to 5 grams — more than that of an Oreo cookie.

However, according to Subway, despite the high sugar content of their rolls, they should still be considered bread.

“Subway’s bread is, of course, bread,” a spokesperson for Subway said in a statement to CNN. “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.”

In previous years, the international sandwich company has been under fire for the quality of their meat as well. In 2017, Matt Harnden, a researcher at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, conducted a survey examining the meat used at popular chains. When he tested the chicken used in Subway’s Oven Roasted Chicken he found that it only contained 53.6% chicken DNA, the rest comprising of soy.

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