Chew on this: The loaves used to make the sandwiches at Subway apparently don’t count as bread.
At least not in Ireland, where the country’s Supreme Court has ruled that the starch used in the loaves is too sugary to meet the country’s legal definition of bread, according to the New York Post.
Apparently, the sugar content in the loaves is 10% of the weight of the flour included in the dough, according to the Irish Independent.
The court ruling could cost Subway shops on the Emerald Isle some dough. The high sugar content means the bread can’t be deemed a staple food and therefore isn’t eligible for a zero value-added tax rate in Ireland.
For the chain to get that deal, the sugar, fat and bread improver in the loaves would have to be only 2% of the weight of flour in the dough.
Customers in the European Union typically pay a VAT on goods or services that is usually included in the price.
But the VAT doesn’t apply to staple food items like bread, according to Newsweek.
The court ruling is only a legal definition for tax purposes: Subway can still refer the doughy loaves on its sandwiches as “bread.”
In a statement, Subway insisted that “Subway’s bread is, of course, bread,” and added, “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.”
The company is reviewing the complex tax ruling, which it claims is based on an outdated bread exemption set by the Irish government in 1972.
Subway said the law was updated in 2012 and its bread can legally considered bread.
Still, isn’t the first time that the chain has been chewed out for the way it makes its bread.
Back in 2014, the chain faced controversy after it was revealed that its loaves contained azodicarbonamide ― a chemical used in shoe rubber and yoga mats.