We heard on Thursday how people around the world are measuring their Subway footlong subs and posting photos online . . . showing that they're ONLY 11 inches long.

At the time, Subway hadn't commented on the controversy.  But they did over the weekend, with a statement that's a P.R. NIGHTMARE.

First, they responded to the person in Australia who posted the first photo.  They admitted that the sub was, quote, "slightly undersized" and blamed it on the bread not being baked to their standards.

That ignores EVERYONE ELSE who has posted photos of 11-inch subs.  So Subway ALSO said, quote, "FOOTLONG is a registered trademark as a descriptive name . . . and not intended to be a measurement of length."

That's right:  They have no idea why you would expect a Subway footlong to be a foot long.