The Irish Supreme Court rules: Subway bread is not bread. In a ruling earlier this week, the country's highest court ruled that the bread used in the restaurant's sandwiches could not enjoy an exemption from staple food tax because the sugar content is too high. so that it is legally considered as such.
Posted Oct 2, 2020 at 8:00 am
In a 51-page ruling released Tuesday that toured the world following the publication of an article in The Guardian, Ireland's Supreme Court rejected Brookfinders' claim, a franchisee of the Subway restaurant chain. She wanted a 0% tax rate on branded bread. However, in order for bread to be considered a staple food for the purposes of Irish law, the sugar content must not exceed 2% by weight of the flour in the dough. "In this case, it is established that the bread supplied by Subway in its heated sandwiches has a sugar content that represents 10% of the weight of the flour used in the dough," the ruling said.
The product should therefore fall under the confectionery category, judge the magistrates. Calling to respond, Subway Canada, through the voice of its spokesman Laetitia Harty, underlined that the bread recipe in Ireland was not the same, without however specifying the difference between the two.
“Subway bread is, of course, bread. We've been baking fresh bread in our restaurants for over three decades and our customers come back every day for sandwiches made from bread that smells as good as they taste, ”the company said in an English email.
Something to think about
The Canada Revenue Agency and Revenue Québec both consider bread to be a staple food, as do milk, eggs or fruits and vegetables. So the price is not subject to GST and QST. On the other hand, Canadian excise law does not consider sandwiches as staples, while Revenu Québec taxes products that are heated for consumption.
Catherine Lefebvre, nutritionist and author of the book Sugar: Truths and Consequences, hopes this news will open the debate about processed foods and the ubiquity of sugar in our society.
"I hope this discussion goes beyond: should we tax Subway bread as a staple or not? I would like it to think about saying: indeed, at what point can we call an ultra-processed loaf a loaf? In retrospect? we can reject that in many products ”, she emphasizes.
She cites the example of processed cheese preparations" whose ingredients have nothing to do with cheese ".
" When is the limit: in bread, in yogurt, in sauces where you stray so far from the basic recipe?