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News > World

Nestle Sued for Bottling 'Fake' Spring Water

  • The water, the suit says, is allegedly pumped from some of Maine’s most populated areas.

    The water, the suit says, is allegedly pumped from some of Maine’s most populated areas.

Published 21 August 2017

The lawsuit accuses Nestle Waters North America of bottling well-water.

A lawsuit accuses Nestle's Poland Spring Water unit of deceiving American consumers into paying premium prices for ordinary ground water.

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The water, the suit says, is allegedly pumped from some of Maine’s most populated areas and not from natural springs as the company advertises.

The complaint also claims that Nestle Waters North America has bottled well-water – which, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules, can not be defined as spring water.

Poland Springs, on the other hand, says its bottled water is “100 percent natural spring water” from a source deep in Maine’s woods. But, research proved that none of Poland Spring Water’s eight sites had a genuine spring.

“One or more” of the company’s largest volume groundwater collection sites – which the suit says supplies up to 99 percent of the company's products – is near a current or former refuse pit, landfill or petroleum dump site.

“To consumers, ‘spring water’ from a naturally occurring spring signifies purity and high quality and commands a premium price compared to defendant’s non-spring drinking water products or filtered tap water,” according to the class-action suit filed on behalf of consumers.

“To illicitly capture that premium, defendant, since it began selling the Poland Spring brand in 1993, has bottled common groundwater and illegally mislabeled it as ‘100 percent Natural Spring Water.’”

Poland Spring water products have not been reported as being contaminated because the company disinfects and in some cases purifies the groundwater it collects, however, the suit maintains that their claims are misleading because the water comes from wells in low-lying populated areas near potential points of contamination.

Nestle Waters released the following statement in response to the suit:

“The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain,” according to a statement the company issued Saturday. “Poland Spring is 100% spring water. It meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations defining spring water, all state regulations governing spring classification for standards of identity, as well as all federal and state regulations governing spring water collection, good manufacturing practices, product quality and labeling. We remain highly confident in our legal position.”

The lawsuit is claiming for breach of contract and fraud as well as unspecified damages for violations of New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts state laws.

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