Published: Sun, August 20, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Nestle's Poland Spring is common groundwater, new suit alleges

Nestle's Poland Spring is common groundwater, new suit alleges

The legal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in CT claims that parent company Nestle Waters North America is bottling common groundwater that doesn't meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of spring water. The lawsuit claimed Poland Spring water sources in Hollis, Fryeburg, Denmark, Dallas Plantation, Pierce Pond Township and Kingfield may not be legitimate either.

The plaintiffs say the famous Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine, ran dry almost 50 years ago - decades before Nestle Waters bought the Poland Spring brand name. The spokesperson's statement added that Poland Spring water was 100% spring water and meets regulations set forth by the FDA that define what is spring water along with state and federal regulations that govern the same.

In order for a product to qualify as "spring water" - the Poland Spring label describes it as "100 percent Natural Spring Water" - the source must be a naturally forming spring.

This does not comply with FDA regulations that say the water must either come from a spring or be siphoned off from the well that supplies that spring, the suit says. "Without Poland Spring water being here, we wouldn't be the community we are". "We remain highly confident in our legal position".

Is your bottle of Poland Spring water really from a spring?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has clear guidelines for the various labels companies can place on bottles of water.

"Artificial man-made "springs" do not satisfy FDA standards", the complaint states. "By faking the existence of springs, defendant is defrauding its consumers", according to the complaint.

The suit, filed by 11 consumers in Connecticut District Court earlier this week, alleges none of Poland Spring's water comes from an actual spring, despite promises on the packaging.

While Poland Springs says its water bottles contain "100 percent natural spring water" from a source deep in Maine's woods, the complaint filed August 15 in federal court in CT claims that Nestle Waters North America has bottled well water that doesn't meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of spring water. The labels are also deceptive to the extent defendant purifies the water. 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", the lawsuit said.

None of this appears to have damaged sales.

The suit says that the defendants in the class action suit have paid more than they would have otherwise due to the bottles' "false and misleading labels".

Poland Spring Water revenue nationwide was about $400 million in 2007 and has ranged from $300 million to $900 million annually for each of the past nine years.

Attorney Raabe is with Izard, Kindall and Raabe of West Hartford.

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