Metro bread is not bread, according to Irish court


LONDON – The Supreme Court of Ireland has ruled that bread sold by fast food chain Subway contains so much sugar that it cannot be legally defined as bread. The decision came in a tax dispute brought by Bookfinders Ltd., an Irish metro franchisee, which argued that some of its take-out products – including heated teas, coffees and sandwiches – were not subject to value added tax.

A panel of judges dismissed the appeal on Tuesday, ruling that bread sold by Subway contains too much sugar to be classified as a “staple food,” which is untaxed.

“There is no question that the bread supplied by Subway in its heated sandwiches has a sugar content of 10% of the weight of the flour included in the dough, and therefore exceeds the 2% specified”, the judgment reads.

The law distinguishes between “bread as a staple food” and other bakery products “which are, or come close to, confectionery or fancy bakery products”, according to the ruling.

Bookfinders appealed a 2006 decision by authorities that refused to reimburse value-added tax payments. The lower courts had dismissed the case before it reached the Supreme Court.


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