Public criticism of bottled water has boiled over in recent years as consumers and watchdog groups debate its impact on the environment. And now, health advocates might take issue with the latest complaint–that some brands dabble in fraudulent marketing.
A new class action lawsuit alleges Nestlé Waters falsely advertises its product Poland Spring Water as 100% natural spring water but actually relies on six “phony, man-made ‘springs'” to comply with the law, claim the plaintiffs.
The 325-page lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in Connecticut on Thursday. The plaintiffs first filed this complaint in 2017, but it was dismissed at the time.
As the New York Times reports, the lawsuit claims the popular beverage brand is “a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.” It goes on to say that Poland Spring is nothing more than common groundwater disguised as nature’s bounty to “reap massive undue sales.” Supposedly, “not one drop” hails from an actual spring.
The lawsuit also takes issue with the brand’s picturesque bottles, which advertise the famous Poland Spring in Maine, a source of water that supposedly ran dry nearly 50 years ago.
Poland Spring reportedly made between $300 million and $900 million annually for each of the past 11 years, the class-action lawsuit reports. It’s one of the leading bottled water brands, with roughly 13 million consumers a year.
Nestlé Waters maintains its product is indeed natural and meets all FDA regulations defining spring water.
“We remain highly confident in our legal position and will continue to defend our Poland Spring Brand vigorously against this meritless lawsuit,” Nestlé Waters North America said in a press statement. “Consumers can be confident in the accuracy of the labels on every bottle of Poland Spring, and that Poland Spring Brand natural spring water is just what it says it is—100% natural spring water.”