Poland Spring is in hot water. The bottled water company is in the midst of a lawsuit for falsely claiming that their bottles contain “100 percent natural spring water” from Maine. The lawsuit claims that Poland Spring's parent company, Nestle Waters North America, is bottling common groundwater instead.
The difference? Groundwater is culled from large underground aquifers that require deep drilling and extraction, while spring water is filtered out of water found on the Earth's surface (rivers, lakes, streams, springs).
Fret not, there’s no health hazard here. What’s at stake is more so a matter of labeling. Essentially, the sourcing of Poland Spring’s water doesn’t meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's requirements to be officially designated spring water.
The lawsuit, filed class action in Connecticut, alleges that “For more than twenty years, Nestle Waters' marketing and sales of Poland Spring Water has been a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.” A Nestle representative countered that their water meets all federal and state regulations for spring water.
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Bottled water has increased in popularity: last year saw annual sales grow to 10 percent and surpass sales of carbonated soft drinks for the first time, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York research and consulting firm.
So while we see consumers move away from sugary drinks and grab a bottle of water instead, it's only natural that heightened attention be paid to that water's source.
This article has been revised from its originally posted version.
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.