The Real Reason Jamie Oliver Was Sued For His Gluten-Free Food Label

Several years ago, if you'd have been browsing Jamie Oliver's website, you would have spotted recipes that sported a little "GF" in a circle. They may have been accompanied by a similar "V" in a similar circle. Both indicated that a particular recipe was suitable for special diets, such as gluten-free or vegetarian. And while it's great for many home cooks to be able to access recipes suited to their dietary needs, not everyone was happy with Oliver's labeling system.

According to the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) — which TODAY reports sued the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Oliver in 2017 — this labeling system was not okay. But GIG didn't have any issues with Oliver calling his recipes gluten-free, as you might assume. Instead, the organization was upset that Oliver's use of the letters "GF" inside of a circle looked just a little too close to GIG's gluten-free certification stamp, which you'll see on many gluten-free food products in the U.S.

But GIG wasn't the only one upset by Jamie Oliver's recipe labeling

Beyond GIG, others criticized Oliver's recipe labeling when the organization brought the label to light in 2017. A representative for Beyond Celiac spoke to TODAY when the outlet reported on the lawsuit and noted that, for a recipe to claim that it's gluten-free, there's a lot to be taken into consideration — and even if the recipe doesn't include any wheat, rye, barley, etc., it's all too easy for someone with a gluten sensitivity to be exposed to gluten through the cooking process. For example, if a gluten-free bread is prepared in the same area as traditional bread, or if a gluten-free food is fried in the same oil or fryer as a traditional breaded fried food, like fried chicken or onion rings. 

Additionally, many seemingly safe foods, from soy sauce to honey mustard, contain small amounts of gluten that can be very dangerous for someone with a serious gluten intolerance. Whatever your opinion on the labeling, though, if you look up gluten-free recipes on Oliver's website today, you'll see the circles are gone, replaced by little, colorful flags that simply spell out "gluten-free," "vegetarian," etc., a change that technically fulfills GIG's wishes. As for whether or not the so-called gluten-free recipes are safe for your family, you'll have to make that decision yourself.