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The New York Times reports that the United States District Court in Connecticut has decided to allow a lawsuit to “mostly” go forward contending that “Nestlé Waters’s marketing and sales of what it advertises as ‘100% Natural Spring Water’ has been ‘a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.’

“‘Not one drop’ of Poland Spring water actually qualifies as spring water, the lawsuit says. It is common groundwater that has been illegally mislabeled in order to ‘reap massive undue sales.’ The result is that Poland Spring water has become ‘the dominant brand in a market in which it does not even belong,’ the suit says.”

According to the Times, “The suit contends that the famous Poland Spring in Maine, which the company claims is a source of the water, effectively ran dry nearly 50 years ago.

“It claims that the company built and maintained six ‘phony, man-made ‘springs’’ to comply with the law. It also alleges that one or more of the company’s wells are near a present or former human waste dump, landfill or other similar site. Put another way, those famous Poland Spring images of water on a verdant hillside are misleading and deceptive, the lawsuit said.”

The Times writes that “Nestlé Waters said that various state regulators had already determined that Poland Spring water complies with the Food and Drug Administration’s so-called identity standard and has authorized the labeling and sale of the water as spring water. On those grounds, the company asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, or at least dismiss it in deference to the F.D.A. Nestlé Waters remained insistent on Friday. ‘We remain highly confident in our legal position and will continue to defend our Poland Spring Brand vigorously against this meritless lawsuit,’ the company’s statement said. ‘Consumers can be confident in the accuracy of the labels on every bottle of Poland Spring, and that Poland Spring Brand natural spring water is just what it says it is — 100 percent natural spring water’.”
KC's View:
I have to be honest here - I really
You’d think it would all be cut and dry. (Okay, maybe not dry considering the subject.) But certainly there shouldn’t be a lot of ambiguity about who is right and who is wrong in this case. Either the damned stuff is natural spring water, or it isn’t.

Now, I’m perfectly willing to believe that there is plenty of ambiguity in whatever definition the government has established for “natural spring water.” That wouldn’t surprise me at all. But you’d think, at the very least, that nowhere in the definition for “natural spring water” would be the term “man-made” … except maybe to say that “:in no way should natural spring water come from a body of water that is man-made.”

Things should be what they are, and what they are said to be. If there is deceit, then they should be called out for it. If it isn’t deceit, then the plaintiffs should have to pay Nestlé Waters’ legal bills.

Seems reasonably straightforward to me. On the other hand, it probably is a good thing I am not a judge.