When is a foot long not a foot long?

Sydney - The US fast-food chain Subway got caught up in an online furore after an Australian teenager measured his “footlong” Subway sandwich and found that it was an inch (2.54 cm) short.

Matt Corby's photo of the sandwich next to a tape measure attracted hundreds of thousands of likes and hundreds more comments when he posted it on Subway's Facebook fanpage.

A 2009 file photo shows a chicken breast sandwich and water from subway on a kitchen counter in New York. Credit: AP

In response, Subway Australia said the “Subway Footlong” was a registered trademark “as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length.”

“Looking at the photo doing the rounds, showing a slightly undersized sub, this bread clearly is not baked to our standards,” the company said in a statement posted on the Facebook fanpage.

Angry sandwich fans quickly took to the internet to knock the company's response.

“I refuse to eat at restaurants where I need to bring a measuring tape to choose my bread,” said Phil Tripp.

And John Ralph made the case for the necessity of that extra inch: “An inch or two can mean a big difference ... if the Titanic had missed the iceberg by an inch or two it wouldn't have sunk.” - Reuters