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Jamie Oliver Sued for Misleading Gluten-Free Labels

Editor
The recipes are gluten-free; they’re just not certified

The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) recently sued the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation Inc. for labeling their gluten-free recipes with misleading symbols. The GIG’s “certified gluten-free” label appears as the letters GF surrounded by a circle in black — exactly the symbol Oliver is using, but without the GIG’s certified approval.

Jamie Oliver has been an advocate for healthy eating in Britain and North America for years, achieving celebrity status through his vegetable-promoting school programs and hit TV show The Naked Chef. He posts thousands of recipes on his website, many of which are gluten-free. He marks this quality the same way he marks whether a recipe is vegetarian or otherwise diet-specific — with a “V” or other letter abbreviation in a small circle. It seems an unlucky accident that his labeling technique so closely mirrors the GIG’s federal label.

The gluten-free advocacy group is upset that Oliver’s “mark showing ‘GF’ in a circle, is identical or substantially similar to GIG’s marks,” claiming that the choice “is intended to falsely certify that Oliver’s recipes are gluten-free.” As a result, the group is suing Oliver’s company for “federal certification mark infringement, counterfeiting, and unfair competition under federal statutes, with pendent claims for trademark infringement, and unfair competition” — quite the list of offenses over the apparent similarity of a small label.

Oliver’s “GF”-labeled recipes are all gluten-free. They’re simply not certified. The GIG, however, typically certifies only physical products, based on stringent inspections; their certification process is not available for recipes or recipe sources like Oliver’s website.

We hope the smoke clears soon for Oliver; in the meantime, for gluten-free recipes you can trust, you can try our roundup of gluten-free recipes that actually taste good.

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