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Jamie Oliver Sued for Using Gluten-Free Symbol
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Photo courtesy of Today.

Summary: Jamie Oliver is being sued for his alleged copycat gluten-free logo.

Being gluten-free seemed like an annoying trend from Gwyneth Paltrow that wouldn’t go away, but for people who actually have gluten allergies, it’s imperative that the products they eat not contain the protein found in grains. That’s why chefs and food companies make sure to denote which of their offerings are gluten-free, but because of the way Jamie Oliver listed his gluten-free products, he is being sued.

  
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Oliver has a website where he lists thousands of recipes and denotes which are free of gluten by putting a special symbol next to them. According to Cleveland.com, the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) claims that Oliver’s symbol is too similar to their logo, and they filed a lawsuit against him.

But this isn’t just about looks for GIG. They offer certifications to products that meet their in-depth measures, and these certifications let consumers know what gluten-free foods they recommend. They said that Oliver’s similar symbol misleads people into thinking his food has been vetted and endorsed by GIG.

“The problem is he’s adding a level of credibility that didn’t go through the proper certification,” Shireen Yates, co-founder and CEO of Nima, said to Cleveland.com. Nima creates a portable gluten testing device.

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Receiving a GIG certification is not easy and consists of numerous tests which Oliver’s recipes did not undergo. To become GIG certified, products must contain 10ppm or less of gluten, ingredients must be approved and have no barley-base, and equipment and materials must be examined.

“The risk of cross-contamination is huge and it happens all the time,” Yates said. “It’s important to make sure there’s a baseline level of education and in addition validation. Those are two really important steps to take rather than just throwing up a certification and misleading consumers.”



GIG is suing the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Inc., Jamie Oliver Enterprises, Ltd., and Jamie T. Oliver for “federal certification mark infringement, counterfeiting, and unfair competition under federal statutes, with pendent claims for trademark infringement, and unfair competition.” On Oliver’s website, he uses a symbol of a circle with GF inside of it, and GIG also uses a circle with GF in it.

GIG is asking for damages and for Oliver to discontinue using the GF circle symbol.

It is noted that GIG is not suing Oliver because his recipes have gluten. The recipes are in fact gluten-free and tested by Oliver’s own staff.

GIG and Jamie Oliver declined to comment when asked for a statement by The Today Show. 

Oliver is a British celebrity chef who is well-known for his advocacy of healthy eating.

What do you think of Jamie Oliver? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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