Subway bread is not considered bread in Ireland. According to The Guardian, the court ruled that the dough of Subway’s bread contains 10% sugar, which exceeds the maximum of 2% to be considered bread under Irish law.
The lawsuit took place in Ireland’s Supreme Court on Sept. 29, due to a request for a tax refund from Subway, claiming that their bread is staple food and therefore not taxable, according to CNN. After reviewing Irish law, five judges determined that this product could not be described as bread in Ireland, due to the sugar content in the dough.
“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,” Justice Donal O’Donnell said when delivering the judgment, according to CNN.
In a Facebook comment to The Courier, Taylor Turner, a former Brookhaven student, said she was not surprised by the case in Ireland. “A lot of the food I’m used to here could only be found in literal candy stores when I lived there,” Turner said.
The tuna sandwich in Subway Ireland has flaked light tuna in brine, mixed with lite mayo and heaped into the customer’s choice of bread. It contains 40 grams of carbohydrates, of which 6.5 grams are sugar, according to Subway’s Ireland website. The same tuna sandwich in the U.S. has bread, vegetables and chips of the customer’s choice, and flaked tuna with creamy mayo. It contains 38 grams of carbohydrates, of which 5 grams are sugar, according to the U.S. Subway website. The serving size for both sandwiches is 233 grams.
Michael Mulvey, a Dallas based photographer, said in a Facebook comment to The Courier, “While we’re surely the biggest sugar-based country, we are not the only one this way … possibly to our own demise.”
Data from 2016 shows the U.S. is the most sugar-consuming country, according to Statista: “In that year, the average American consumer ate 126.4 grams of sugar. … The per capita consumption of chocolate confectionery in the United States amounted to 4.5 kilograms in 2018, while per capita consumption of sugar confectionary stood at 3.1 kilograms in that year.”
Ivan Rodriguez, a Dallas College Brookhaven student, said he used to gather and eat at the campus Subway Treetop Café with his group of friends. He said he used to buy a footlong with teriyaki chicken, but after hearing about the contents of the bread dough he was shocked. Ivan said he would stop buying at Subway.
This is not the first controversy Subway has faced. According to USA Today, in 2014, the chain came under fire for the presence of azodicarbonamide in bread, a chemical also found in yoga mats and synthetic leather. According to CNN, Subway said azodicarbonamide is completely safe and common in bread.
According to CNN, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said azodicarbonamide does not present a high risk, and that there are other chemicals in fast food that should be reduced.
Although the chemical compound was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer, told the Associated Press they had been removing azodicarbonamide from bread since 2013.