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Dough! Subway sandwich bread isn't legally bread, Irish court rules

A tax ruling in Ireland may prove difficult to swallow for the chain.

Just trying to earn a crust.
Hanna Lassen/Getty Images

Subway bread isn't technically bread at all, at least not in Ireland. The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that the stuff that encases a Subway sandwich contains too much sugar to legally count as bread.

As funny as this sounds, it should be noted this is a pretty arcane legal ruling. Obviously a Subway sandwich is made with bread, but occasionally courts have to consider the ingredients of a food item to determine its status for tax purposes.

The ruling was prompted after a Subway franchisee in Ireland tried to claim exemption from VAT, a sales tax that isn't applied to staple items. Tax laws set a legal definition of what counts as a staple and should be exempted from tax so the price stays affordable to all.

The sugar in a bread product's dough must weigh less than 2% of the weight of the flour, in order for that product to avoid the tax. The stuff on the Subway menu is five times over that limit and therefore can't legally be considered a staple.

So who's hungry?