Food

Lawsuit claims Poland Spring water doesn't really come from a spring

When we stock up on bottled water, we may be concerned about the impact that plastic bottle is having on the environment. But should we be concerned about whether the label on that bottle is actually telling us the truth about the water inside?

Charles Krupa / AP
A bottle of Poland Spring water rests on a granite slab in East Derry, N.H., Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

Turns out, consumers may have a have reason to be concerned. A class-action lawsuit filed earlier this week in a federal court in Connecticut alleges that Poland Spring Water is not actually “100 percent natural spring water” from Maine. In fact, says the lawsuit, the company is merely bottling "common groundwater."

In what they are calling a "colossal fraud," 11 plaintiffs in eight states are claiming that Nestle's Poland Spring, which markets itself as "100% Natural Spring Water" is not 100 percent natural, and that it fails to meet the federal definition of spring water.

The lawsuit says that Poland Spring is merely "ordinary groundwater" that comes from sources "in low-lying populated areas near potential sources of contamination," including a landfill and ash pile, reports Courthouse News. The plaintiffs claim that Nestle has been using the term "100% Natural Spring Water" illegally since 1993 and, in doing so, has been overcharging customers for a bottled water that isn't really a premium product.

So what is real spring water? According to the Federal Drug Administration, spring water is defined as water that has been "derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth." Poland Spring, the lawsuit says, bottles water that it "collects from wells it drilled in saturated plains or valleys where the water table is within a few feet of the earth’s surface."

A representative for Nestle Waters released the following statement to TODAY Food: "For more than 170 years, Poland Spring has delivered great tasting spring water from Maine to millions of people in the Northeast. The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain. 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."

And the company is vehemently standing by its signature product on social media.

But some on Twitter are finding humor in the lawsuit.

Poland Spring isn't the only company being sued for allegedly misrepresenting its products. Dunkin’ Donuts has been slapped with a lawsuit for not using real blueberries in their blueberry donuts.

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