A lawsuit filed in a US federal court has accused a Nestle SA unit of duping American consumers into paying premium prices for ordinary groundwater that’s pumped from some of Maine’s most populated areas, rather than from natural springs as the company advertises, Bloomberg reports.
According to the complaint filed in a federal court in Connecticut, Nestle Waters North America claims its Poland Spring water bottles contain “100 percent natural spring water” from a source deep in Maine’s woods, but none of its eight purported “natural spring” sites contains a genuine spring under the rules set by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The suit, which includes claims for breach of contract and fraud, also seeks unspecified damages for violations of state laws including New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts, the report said.
The lawsuit said “one or more” of the company’s largest volume groundwater collection sites are near a current or former refuse pit, landfill or petroleum dump site.
Even the historic Poland Spring site in western Maine, which displays a stream of mineral water shielded behind glass, is no longer natural but instead generated by a machine that pumps it out of the ground, according to the complaint.
Nestle Waters denied the allegations and vowed to fight the suit.
“The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain,” the company said in a statement.
“Poland Spring is 100 percent spring water. It meets the US 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.”
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