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A lot of mineral water packaging often includes images of picturesque Alpine mountain tops or freshly flowing streams in the forest. Even if you don’t actually believe that the water comes from pristine mountain regions, you trust that the company will at least source its water from someplace clean and natural.
But a recent lawsuit is claiming that all those claims of “spring water” are just deceptive marketing practices. One bottled water company is now in the crosshairs of that lawsuit.
An article that recently came out in The New York Times mentioned that Nestlé Waters is currently that subject of a class-action lawsuit in which the plaintiffs claim that the company’s “100% Natural Spring Water Products” is a “colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.”
Nestlé Waters is vehemently denying those claims but a judge who reviewed the 325-page lawsuit allowed it to proceed. The document also paints a harrowing picture of the situation.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court in Connecticut, claims that not one drop of Nestlé’s Poland Spring water is sourced from actual spring water. In fact, the Poland Spring in Maine where the brand’s name is derived from has been dry for nearly 50 years. The suit adds that Nestlé gets its water from six man-made springs just to comply with FDA regulations. One of them is even near a present or former human waste dump or landfill.
Nestlé has faced other false advertising allegations before. The New York Times article added that several lawsuits regarding deceptive marketing tactics have hounded Poland Spring water alone. The company also received backlash for taking millions of gallons of water from a national forest in California during the height of last summer’s drought.
In a recently updated statement, Nestlé Waters vowed that they will “continue to defend their Poland Spring brand vigorously against this meritless lawsuit,” while adding that their water has been subjected to independent testing to verify that it meets FDA regulations for “spring water” labeling.
Per FDA definitions, “spring water” is “water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.” Among the requirements that have to be met is that the spring’s location should be identified and a natural force is pushing the water out through a natural orifice.
For the sake of fairness, Nestlé never claimed that all their water is from the original Poland Spring. In 2013 they declared that the water was predominantly from other springs, according to Mother Jones. Only “about a third” of each bottle was sourced from the original Maine spring.
Steve Williams, one of the lawyers for the 12 plaintiffs from different northeastern states, told The Times: “Water is going to be one of the most important issues in the world. It’s vitally important to consumers to be told the truth.”
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