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Suit against major bottled water brand will go forward

Plaintiffs claim Poland Spring is simply groundwater

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A federal court judge in Connecticut has ruled that a class action lawsuit against Nestle Waters can proceed.

The ruling comes nearly a year after the court dismissed a nearly identical lawsuit, which claimed Nestle’s Poland Spring bottled water is merely groundwater, not spring water as the company claims. The suit, filed by a dozen plaintiffs who reside in eight different states, accuses Nestle of misleading consumers with deceptive claims.

“Nothing in the court’s recent decision undermines our confidence in our overall legal position,” a spokesman for Nestle Waters told Fox News. “We will continue to defend our Poland Spring Brand vigorously against this meritless lawsuit.”

The company says an independent investigation by a law firm confirmed that Poland Spring water meets all the Food and Drug Administration’s definitions of “spring water.” In the wake of the court’s latest ruling the company is doubling down on its position that its product is “100 percent natural spring water.”

Previous suit was dismissed

Nestle thought it had put this matter to rest last May. At that time the same federal judge in Connecticut, where the company is based, dismissed a similar suit filed by 11 plaintiffs.

The court dismissed the complaint after reviewing the results of an independent investigation into whether Poland Spring meets the requirements of the federal spring water standard.

At that time the company released a statement from former U.S. Senator George Mitchell (D-Me.), chairman emeritus of the law firm of DLA Piper, saying Poland Spring brand water sources “satisfy the requirements of the federal spring water identity standard, and as a result, the use of the term ‘spring water’ on Poland Spring labels is both accurate and appropriate.”

Both cases hinge on regulations covering water products, which are specific. The standards include:

  • The water flows naturally to the surface of the earth    

  • The water is collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring

  • A natural force causes the water to flow to the surface through a natural orifice

  • The location of the spring is identified    

  • Water collected with the use of an external force shall be from the same underground stratum as the spring, as shown by a measurable hydraulic connection using a hydrogeologically valid method between the borehole and the natural spring, and shall have all the physical properties, before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality, as the water that flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

The plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit claim the company’s marketing is deceptive, alleging that Poland Spring water comes from “phony man-made wells."

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