A class-action lawsuit against National Beverage, the producer of LaCroix, claims that the brand's “all natural” sparkling waters contain several artificial ingredients, “including linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide.”
The suit was filed on behalf of consumer Lenora Rice by law firm Beaumont Costales.
“The plaintiff Rice, desiring a healthy, natural beverage, was led to purchase LaCroix sparkling water because of the claims made on its packaging, advertising and web site to be ‘innocent,’" the lawsuit states. "However, LaCroix in fact contains ingredients that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as synthetic.”
National Beverage “categorically denies all allegations” and maintains that the lawsuit is “false, defamatory and intended to intentionally damage National Beverage and its shareholders.”
“National Beverage will vigorously seek actual and punitive damages among other remedies from everyone involved in the publication of these defamatory falsehoods,” reads a company statement.
The statement claims that the natural flavors used in LaCroix sparkling waters are “derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors.”
Essence is not clearly defined by the brand. LaCroix spokesperson Rod Liddle tells the Wall Street Journal that "essence" is “our picture word.”
“Essence is – FEELINGS and Sensory Effects!” Liddle says, and the company statement notes that all LaCroix essences are "certified by our suppliers to be 100% natural.”
The FDA does not currently regulate the term natural when used on food packaging, despite announcing in March that it would attempt to do so.
“Just like other claims made on products regulated by FDA, we believe the ‘natural’ claim must be true and based in science,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a speech delivered at the National Food Policy Conference March 29.
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