Subway bread isn't bread, Ireland's Supreme Court says
Ireland's Supreme Court has ruled that bread sold by the fast food chain Subway contains so much sugar that it cannot be legally defined as bread. The ruling came in a tax dispute brought by Bookfinders Ltd., an Irish Subway franchisee, which argued that some of its takeaway products — including teas, coffees and heated sandwiches — were not liable for value-added tax.
A panel of judges rejected the appeal Tuesday, ruling that the bread sold by Subway contains too much sugar to be categorized as a "staple food," which is not taxed.
"There is no dispute that 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, and thus exceeds the 2% specified," the judgment read.
The law makes a distinction between "bread as a staple food" and other baked goods "which are, or approach, confectionery or fancy baked goods," the judgement said.
Bookfinders was appealing a 2006 decision by authorities who refused to refund value-added tax payments. Lower courts had dismissed the case before it reached the Supreme Court.
The ruling comes years after Subway suffered from an onslaught of bad publicity sparked by a food blogger who petitioned the chain to remove a bread ingredient found in many products, including yoga mats. In 2014, the popular sandwich chain phased the chemical out of its bread.
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