Bread sold by subway isn't really bread, Ireland rules

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Ireland's Supreme Court has ruled that the buns in heated sandwiches sold by a local Subway franchisee can not be legally considered bread as they contain five times more sugar than they should.

A Subway franchisee argued it was not liable for Value-Added Tax on some of its takeaway products like heated filled sandwiches, along with teas and coffees.

In Ireland, certain staple foods like bread are exempt from Value-Added Tax.

The court ruled "to exclude the bread used by the appellant in their sandwiches from being considered as bread under para".

Ireland's VAT Act of 1972 states that ingredients in bread - including sugar and fat - shouldn't exceed 2% the weight of flour in the dough, the Independent reported.

The court ruled on Tuesday that the sandwiches could not be categorised as a staple food, which would come with a zero VAT rate, rejecting a Subway franchise's arguments that it was not liable for tax on some of its takeaway products.

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However the court has found that Subway's bread, including its white and wholegrain recipes, contains five times more sugar than is allowed under the legal definition of the staple food.

Subway said it was reviewing the latest tax ruling. The objective of the law is to differentiate bread from other baked goods, such as pastry.

Subway's bread has a sugar content of 10% of the weight of the flour, and therefore, it can not be considered bread.

The US chain, which has branches in countries across the world, uses the bread for its popular filled sandwiches.

The appeal stemmed from a 2006 ruling against Bookfinders, which had sought a refund for VAT payments, claiming the bread used to make the sandwiches should be exempt from the tax. In 2014, the company announced it was removing azodicarbonamide - the so-called "yoga mat" chemical - from its rolls.

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