"Colossal Fraud": Lawsuit Accuses Poland Spring Of Selling Groundwater

Ever wonder if that bottled mineral water you just spent several dollars on is really mineral water? According to a bombshell new lawsuit filed this week, at least in the case of one company it isn't.

A group of bottled water drinkers has brought a class action lawsuit against Nestle, the company which owns Poland Spring, alleging that the Maine business has long deceived consumers by mislabeling common groundwater. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in a Connecticut federal court and accuses Nestle Waters North America Inc. of a “colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers” the Bangor Daily News reports.

The plaintiffs claim that falsely labeling its "groundwater" product as pure spring water allowed Nestle to sell Poland Spring water at a premium; as a result the consumers who brought the legal action are seeking at least $5 million in monetary damages for a national class and several state subclasses. They requested a jury trial. The civil suit was brought by 11 people from the Northeast who collectively spent thousands of dollars on Poland Spring brand water in recent years. It seeks millions of dollars in damages for a nationwide class and hinges on whether the sources of Poland Spring water meet the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of a spring.

The 325-page lawsuit, which was filed by lawyers from four firms, claims that none of the company’s Maine water sources meets the federal definition for spring water and that the company has “politically compromised” state regulators. Rather than spring water, Nestle Waters is actually purifying and bottling groundwater, some of which comes from sites near waste and garbage dumps, the suit claims. The legal challenge comes as Nestle is looking to expand its operations in Maine.

For instance, the suit claims that the company’s wells in Poland, Maine, have never been scientifically proven to be connected to a spring and draw in surface water, which cannot legally be called spring water. It further alleges that the company has put water from some of these wells through a purification process that disqualifies it as spring water under federal regulations.

 

The suit makes similar claims about Poland Spring water sources in Hollis, Fryeburg, Denmark, Dallas Plantation, Pierce Pond Township and Kingfield.

Poland Spring has gotten away with this deception for years, the suit claims, by co-opting state regulators and interweaving its interests with those of state government. Since 1998 the company has generated millions of dollars for Maine through licensing agreements, and since 2003 it has had an executive on the governor-appointed body that oversees the state drinking-water regulation enforcement agency, the suit states.

The court complaint further says that the Maine Drinking Water Program scientist who approved many of the company’s spring water permits spent a decade working with this executive at a private engineering firm and that the agency failed to get independent proof of the springs’ existence.

In response to the lawsuit, a Nestle Waters spokesperson said that its water meets all relevant federal and state regulations on the classification and collection of spring water and that the suit is “an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain.”

“The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit. Poland Spring is 100 [percent] spring water.”

This is not the first time that Nestle Waters has faced such allegations. In 2003, it settled a class action lawsuit alleging that Poland Spring water doesn’t come from a spring. In that case, the company did not admit the allegation but agreed to pay about $10 million in discounts to consumers and charity contributions. In other words, pulling a page from Wall Street, it neither admitted, nor denied guilt.

The full lawsuit is below

Comments

Mr Perspective Aug 20, 2017 5:55 PM Permalink

Perrier (a Nestle company) pumps water from municipal wells and springs in numerous locations in Pennsylvania for Deer Park, Great Bear, Ice Mountain brands etc.... Has been since at least the 90s.How else would these thieves stay in business?Here is some journalism from 1999:http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/perrier-cup-runneth-perrier-bu… are (or were) some wells in Chester County, which is west of Philly, where they filled tankers from too. 

kidbroge Aug 20, 2017 1:13 AM Permalink

Poland Springs, I thought it was the Perrier of North American drinking water derived from glaciers melting pure water into giant cravasses. What happened? I've been drinking this water for years even bragged about it at parties saying it comes from the underground melted glaciers of Maine and would recommend it highly for its purity. From underground glacier water, to underground rainwater. What a let down. My rap at parties will now be the reverse... and hold the lemon please, thank you. 

Koba the Dread Aug 19, 2017 8:14 PM Permalink

Bottled water! That's always been for inane twits. Me, I've been drinking socialist water all my life. Yup, those darned socialists in the early 1900s thought it might be better if the city provided everyone with clean pure water right out of the tap.Nestle, on the other hand, has been involved in countless civil and criminal cases for decades and decades, some of which cases involved wrongful death. Those free marketers, huh? Free for them; deadly for you. Or at a minimum costly.

Kelley Aug 19, 2017 7:54 PM Permalink

The lawyers in this Kabuki (sp?) exercise will earn most of their money by keeping a straight face. It's quite a talent not to laugh when during something such as this.

YourAverageJoe Aug 19, 2017 6:52 PM Permalink

I remember the old Leave it to Beaver episode where Beaver was watchi ng a city crew work and heard the men say the water would be shut off for several hours.Beaver quickly filled a bunch of containers with water and started selling it. June Cleaver the mom asked Ward (the dad): "Dear, you mean to tell me people are actually buying water???"Who does that? 

gespiri Aug 19, 2017 5:24 PM Permalink

The problem with the west is the lack of bacteria in our bodies. If you look at third world countries, they live/eat in less hygenic conditions but their bodies learned how to make itself less susceptible to existing bacterias.

Pernicious Gol… Aug 19, 2017 5:16 PM Permalink

I was visiting a relative in Tustin, California. I saw the next-door neighbor come out of his house and walk to his (brand name) bottled water delivery truck parked in his driveway. He took an empty 5-gallon bottle off the truck, set it on the driveway, filled it with the garden hose, recapped it and put it back on the truck. He repeated this for the remaining empties.

whatswhat1@yahoo.com Aug 19, 2017 4:56 PM Permalink

I use a triple under counter filter that includes flouride removal.  I also have a distiller in case I feel like going gonzo and distilling the filtered water.  As far as store bought, I have a small amount of trust in Pellegrino and Gerolsteiner in glass only. Plastic bottles and all plastic food containers are 100% toxic.

Pernicious Gol… whatswhat1@yahoo.com Aug 19, 2017 5:25 PM Permalink

Humans get almost all our calcium from water. Almost nobody gets enough calcium on a regular basis. It's not well absorbed from supplements. Your body doesn't take in all the calcium listed on the pill label. Calcium requires adequate levels of Vitamin D for uptake from the intestine, and many are deficient in Vitamin D.It's not good to drink distilled, rain nor reverse osmosis water on a regular basis. These sources lack calcium. The great majority of bottled water sold in the US (Dasani, etc.) is reverse-osmosis tap water from the local factory. The input is local tap water. They add a few minerals back in, but not much. It's like the nutritional difference between real whole-grain bread and a slice of Wonder Bread.True spring and ground water may have sufficient calcium. You have to read the label.

In reply to by whatswhat1@yahoo.com

RichardParker Aug 19, 2017 4:11 PM Permalink

The civil suit was brought by 11 people from the Northeast who collectively spent thousands of dollars on Poland Spring brand water in recent years. Nestle should countersue the 11 people for STUPIDITY.  Why would anybody in their right mind pay for bottled water (barring a natural disaster)?

Walking Turtle RichardParker Aug 19, 2017 5:09 PM Permalink

With respect, my friend, there really are many good reasons to either filter one's drinking water to a fare-thee-well (no pun intended) or else pay for regular delivery of *pure* bottled water to ones' home and/or place of work.  The first and foremost being that in fact not all municipal water supplies are so very pure nor healthful in the first place.Homegrown example:  The tap water from my own home town's system, although at one point indeed found in lab tests to be purer than most of the bottled brands then on the market (been fifteen years since a friend paid for the analyses) STILL exhibits questionable characteristics.  Most obvious is a deep brown spreading stain that shows up on an otherwise clean countertop when a little is spilled thereupon and left to evaporate. The water evaporates, to be sure - but the stain keeps on spreading for days after.NO idea what "harmless"(?) organism might be at the heart of that action.  But do I wish to blindly, mindlessly Just Drink It?  Not really.  So I gravity-filter it down to twenty microns, let it stand with activated charcoal and a little bar of pure silver in the reservoir, and all is well with the drinking water in MY kitchen.Oh but that's just me and my own idiotically deranged perception, some few highly sophisticated others might suppose... Opinion:  Sure would have been better for the poisoned children living in in Flint, Michigan  had the po' folk there been drinking bottled water from the start, for that matter.  And then, in both their and my instance, there is this fluoride additive that both harms our bones and dulls our consciousness...  Helps make us "Deplorables" somewhat less healthy and (as the WWII-era German Military found was so in the prison camps) More Governable... But activated "Bone Char" charcoal inexpensively absorbs that particular poison quite well indeed.  ;)So yes, Tap Water is likely GOOD WATER - for all the WRONG people!  Only bad for the Rest of Us, is all.  So making certain to consciously and conscientiously provide ourselves with truly clean water is a sign of our dim-wittedness and/or insanity?  Indeed.Au contraire, mon frere!  Those who do truly wish to drink dirty water are always free to have their fill.  But some of us KNOW BETTER.  And that is all.  0{:-|o[

In reply to by RichardParker

Nesbiteme Aug 19, 2017 4:10 PM Permalink

 Earth to legal dwebs who write these articles. The actual text of the actual lawsuit is mildly humorous, is not nearly as instructive nor has humorous as the reply that will emanate from the Nestle legal factory in Stamford and New York City. That will be worth a read and for anyone interested in how the law works and the likely outcome of this case should read...

Peterman333 Aug 19, 2017 3:16 PM Permalink

Lets see, it's groundwater, like water that comes from the ground, as in a SPRING?Not seeing the basis for a lawsuit here. They're not claiming it's artesian water from a ancient mountain spring water that flows up through volcanic rocks in Serbia with a mineral content off the charts (that's the kind I drink btw), they're simply saying it's "spring water" as in, water from a spring, on the ground.

Peterman333 css1971 Aug 19, 2017 3:24 PM Permalink

Tap water in most places in North American contains flouride (make ya stoopid) which was used by Germans and English in WWII prison camps to pacify the prisoners, make them dumb, docile, and more managable. It doesn't do f-all for your teeth. Then therre is the other crap like estrogen, statins, pesticides, lead, glyphosates, etc etc etc. People buy bottled drinking water on the assumption that the Flint style nastiness is not in the water. It's just an assumption apparently. 

In reply to by css1971

CRM114 sinbad2 Aug 19, 2017 6:43 PM Permalink

My house is supplied from a tested well. It's so delicious, the previous owner comes back every so often just for a taste. I'm also partial to grain alcohol - whisky in my case. My favorites come from distilleries I have visited and drunk the spring water of. It will be a dram of Dalwhinnie this evening ;)

In reply to by sinbad2

insanelysane Aug 19, 2017 2:58 PM Permalink

I know a guy that worked at a water bottling plant.  He would point out all of the different "brands" that came out of the same tap.  Prices varied too.  Didn't someone once say there's a sucker born every minute.

david goliath Aug 19, 2017 2:50 PM Permalink

no such thing as spring water for sale that has not gone thru a reverse osmosis filter system. u would not know what might be in the water. yup it is just so the flakes feel closer to mommy nature. dont get me wrong i am enthralled by the natural forces. not so much by humanoids though 

VIS MAIOR Aug 19, 2017 2:16 PM Permalink

https://www.novinky.cz/ekonomika/260543-polske-potraviny-obsahuji-sul-u… google translate for expl. problem better big "SALT"scandal   http://www.anwil.pl/PL/NaszaOferta/Chemikalia/Strony/Sol-wypadowa-NaCl… Scandal with salt. Much worse , more like this water.. . POLIsh companys using salt on roads into production of food for many years. The EU has sought to downplay the huge salt scandal, "uder carpet" ..eu and polish is shit. stop import from poland. eu use poland like dog 

VIS MAIOR Aug 19, 2017 1:57 PM Permalink

poland WARSAW, Poland (AP) â¿¿ Polish health authorities have ordered the withdrawal from the market of more than 230,000 kilograms (500,000 pounds) of pickles, bread and other food suspected of containing industrial salt, the latest development in a scandal raising fears about food safety. Laboratory tests have found that the amounts of dioxins and heavy metals in the salt are minimal and unlikely to harm human health. Nonetheless, health inspectors ordered the removal as a precaution, officials said Friday. Revelations that industrial salt was sold to food producers has prompted authorities to open a criminal investigation and arrest five people. More than 600 tests have also been carried out on food samples. The industrial salt was intended for deicing roads in winter. Poland is a major regional food exporter, and officials fear the issue will hurt its reputation in a sector key to an economy that has grown fast in recent years. With much of its territory devoted to agriculture, Poland produces everything from apples and beets to eggs and meat that gets sold to Germany and other neighboring countries.https://www.thestreet.com/story/11449964/1/poland-pulls-food-suspected-…