Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Nestle's Poland Spring Is Common Groundwater, New Suit Alleges

Nestle's Poland Spring Is Common Groundwater, New Suit Alleges

"For more than twenty years, Nestle Waters" marketing and sales of Poland Spring Water has been a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers. But should we be concerned about whether the label on that bottle is actually telling us the truth about the water inside?

Rather than being "100% Natural Spring Water", the "products all contain ordinary groundwater that defendant collects from wells it drilled in saturated plains or valleys where the water table is within a few feet of the earth's surface", lead plaintiff Mark J. Patane says in the complaint.

Turns out, consumers may have a have reason to be concerned.

A lawsuit was filed in a CT federal court earlier in the week that alleges Poland Spring water is not from an actual spring.

Poland Spring's parent company, Nestle, is being sued by 11 consumers on the grounds that they have been bottling groundwater.

The latest lawsuit comes as the Stamford, Connecticut-based company embarks on an expansion in ME amid rising demand for bottled water.

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. Tuesday claimed Poland Spring Bottled Water is "a colossal fraud".

The suit makes similar claims about Poland Spring water sources in Hollis, Fryeburg, Denmark, Dallas Plantation, Pierce Pond Township and Kingfield, Maine. "One or more" of the company's largest volume groundwater collection sites -which the suit says supplies up to 99 percent of the water in Poland Spring Water products - are near a current or former refuse pit, landfill or petroleum dump site, the plaintiffs say.

In 2003, the company was sued, also in CT, because its advertising suggested that the water in Poland Spring came from a source deep in the woods of ME when, in fact, the principal source was located near a parking lot. "Poland Spring is 100 percent spring water" and meets FDA regulations that define spring water, as well as federal and state regulations governing spring water, according to the company, which also posted a response to the suit on its website.

The claims do not have merit, a spokesperson from Nestle said in a statement emailed to the media.

The rights to the ME spring's water were bought up by Perrier in 1980, and transferred to Nestle when it bought out Perrier in 1992. The "spring" Nestle claims exists in Poland Spring is at the bottom of a lake.

Nestle's markets Poland Spring using images of pristine mountains, forest and fields, but the water allegedly doesn't meet the federal definition of spring water, according to the suit. "We remain highly confident in our legal position". In California, the company faced protests over water collection because of that state's drought.

In a statement, Nestle Waters vowed to fight the suit. In that case, the company did not admit the allegation but reportedly agreed to pay about $10 million in discounts to consumers and charity contributions.

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