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NEWS: Nestle sued over alleged phony bottled spring water

Nestle corporate head office in Vevey, Switzerland

Nestle corporate head office in Vevey, Switzerland

FOODnavigator-usa.com reports, “A Chicago company has sued Nestlé over claims that 5-gallon water jugs it bought for its office dispensers were advertised as spring water when in fact they were filled with tap water.” This is not the first time Nestle has been challenged over its advertising claims.

In 2003, Water & Wastes Digest reported, “In a class-action lawsuit filed, consumers claim that Nestle Waters North America (Nestle), a subsidiary of Nestle S.A., falsely advertises its top-selling Poland Spring brand bottled water. The suit alleges Nestle uses heavily treated water taken from common ground water sources when bottling Poland Spring, but then labels the bottles as spring water and charges consumers a premium price for supposedly higher quality water. Filed in Connecticut Superior Court, the suit argues that Nestle’s claims of Poland Spring as ‘found deep in the woods of Maine’ and ‘exceptionally well protected by nature’ intentionally deceives customers about the true nature of the sources, most of which are surrounded by asphalt parking lots or potentially dangerous contamination.”

In December 2008, Reuters reported, “Canadian environmental groups have filed a misleading advertising complaint against Nestle disputing claims in an ad by the world’s largest food company that its bottled water has numerous ecological benefits. A group comprising Friends of the Earth Canada, the Polaris Institute, the Council of Canadians, Wellington Water Watchers and Ecojustice said Nestle Waters Canada contravened the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards ‘by making false and misleading statements regarding the environmental impacts of its product’ in full-page newspaper ad in October.”

We will follow the lawsuit by the Chicago Faucet Shoppe Inc. reported on here, http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Business/Nestle-sued-over-alleged-phony-bottled-spring-water. The class-action lawsuit in 2003 was reportedly settled at a cost of $10 million to Nestle, http://www.wwdmag.com/nestle-sued-falsely-advertising-poland-spring-water. Advertising Standards Canada refused to pursue our complaint on the grounds that it had been made public, http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/12/01/us-water-protest-idUSTRE4B06UJ20081201.