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Irish court rules Subway sandwiches too sugary to legally be called bread

Ireland's supreme court says the bread has too much sugar content to be considered a 'staple' food eligible for a tax exemption.
Credit: AP
FILE - This Aug. 11, 2009, file photo, shows a chicken breast sandwich from Subway. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — A court in Ireland has reportedly declared the bread Subway uses to make its sandwiches doesn't legally qualify as bread because it is too sugary.

The Irish Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that due to the bread's high amount of sugar, it can't be deemed a "staple" food under that country's law, according to the Irish Independent. Staple foods in Ireland are supposed to be eligible for a zero Value Added Tax (VAT) rate.

The ruling, which came after an appeal by a Subway franchisee, said the sugar content made up 10% of the weight of the flour in the dough. The five-person court said that puts the bread outside the definition to attract a zero VAT, according to the Independent.

The Value-Added Tax Act of 1972 reportedly determined that amount must be no more than 2% of the weight of the flour in the dough.

The law is designed so that Irish "staple" foods like bread will qualify for the tax exemption but are not lumped in with pastries and other sweet baked goods, according to Food and Wine

Six varieties of Subway bread -- nine-grain multi-seed, Italian white bread, Italian herbs and cheese, nine-grain wheat, hearty Italian, and honey oat -- reportedly do not qualify as bread under Irish law due to their sugar content.

According to the nutrition facts posted by Subway, a 6-inch white bread roll has about 5 grams of sugar, which is about as much as some cookies.

In 2014 Subway reportedly faced another bread controversy when a petition called for the massive global fast-food chain to remove the ingredient azodicarbonamide from its bread. The whitening agent is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is found in cereal flour. But, it is also commonly found in yoga mats, shoe soles and synthetic leathers as well. Subway removed the ingredient.

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