Subway Sandwich Bread is Not Legally Bread, Irish Court Says

Ireland’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling stating when it comes to tax law, bread served on Subway’s hot sandwiches does not meet the legal definition of “bread,” according to ABC News. As a result, the court said the bread on its $5 footlong, or any other sandwich, is actually a “confectionary or fancy baked good.”

“The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains ‘bread’ as defined, and therefore can be said to be food for the purposes of the Second Schedule rather than confectionary,” the high court stated. “Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail.”

The case landed in the Irish Supreme Court after a Subway franchisee, called Bookfinders Ltd., claimed Subway’s bread qualified as a “staple food.” Such food in Ireland is exempt from value-added tax which would cause Subway to save money. The ruling, which was handed down on Sept. 29 by the five-judge court, stated the bread’s sugar content is five times higher than what was established in Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972. As a result, it contains too much sugar to meet the legal definition of bread or be called a staple food. In Subway’s recipe, sugar makes up 10 percent of the weight of the flour, according to the judgment, according to NPR.

Bookfinders Ltd. had originally submitted a claim 14 years ago, asking for a refund of some of the value-added taxes the franchisee had paid in 2004 and 2005.