Irish Supreme Court deems Subway sandwich bread 'too sugary' to be called bread

The amount of sugar in the bread far surpasses the amount that is allowed for it to be classed a "staple food".
The amount of sugar in the bread far surpasses the amount that is allowed for it to be classed a "staple food". Photo credit: Getty.

If you typically reach for a foot-long Italian Cheese and Herb when seeking a quick and healthy lunch option, this is probably going to come as a blow. 

The Supreme Court of Ireland has issued a ruling that due to its high sugar content, the sandwich bread used by takeaway chain Subway cannot actually be classed as 'bread'. 

Instead it falls into the category of a "confectionary or fancy baked good".

According to the BBC, the ruling was made on September 29 after Subway claimed its bread should be classed as a "staple food", which in Ireland means it would be exempt from value-added tax (VAT). 

Ireland's 1972 VAT act proclaims the sugar allowed in a bread product must not be more than two percent of the total weight of flour in the dough. 

"The bread supplied by Subway in its heated sandwiches has a sugar content of 10 percent of the weight of the flour included in the dough," Justice Donal O'Donnell reportedly said upon giving the verdict. 

But in good news for Kiwi Subway fans, according to the nutritional information on Subway's New Zealand site, our doughs contain less sugar than their Irish counterparts. 

The classic white bread option contains 2.7 grams of sugar per 67g serving, meaning the dough is 4.02 percent sugar - less than half the amount of the Irish version.

Even the bread type with the highest sugar content - roasted garlic - contains 5.1 grams sugar per 77.6g serving, coming in at 6.5 percent. 

A spokesperson for Subway in New Zealand told Newshub the sandwich chain is "committed to providing healthier options for its New Zealand guests".

"Bread served in Subway New Zealand restaurants has been formulated especially for our Kiwi guests and the dough is prepared locally by Yarrows," the spokesperson added. 

"[It] has been classified under New Zealand nutritional guidelines as low-sugar."

A spokesperson for Subway in Ireland told BBC that the bread is "of course, bread". 

"We have been baking fresh bread in our stores for more than three decades and our guests return each day for sandwiches made on bread that smells as good as it tastes."

Subway became known as a 'healthy option' in the public consciousness back in the early 2000s, with many trying the 'Subway Diet' made famous by spokesperson Jared Fogle who lost around 100kg eating the sandwiches. 

Fogle is currently serving a nearly 16-year prison sentence, after being charged for having sex with minors and possessing child sexual abuse material.