Parent company of LaCroix sparkling water, National Beverage Corp., is facing a lawsuit that alleges its product contains non-natural and synthetic compounds, which would be opposite of how the company markets the drink.
The class action lawsuit was filed on Oct. 1 by Beaumont Costales, a Chicago law firm, on behalf of plaintiff Lenora Rice. It claims that thousands of consumers who purchase LaCroix are being misled by packaging and advertisements that state “all natural” and “100% natural,” according to the lawsuit.
It also claims the water contains compounds including ethyl butanoate, limonene, linalool and linalool propionate.
In a statement released on the same day, National Beverage Corp. categorically denied all allegations.
“Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors,” the company said. “There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, those extracted flavors.”
The company said that all essences contained in LaCroix are certified by suppliers to be 100 percent natural, and that the United States Food and Drug Administration considers “natural” on a food label to be truthful as nothing artificial or synthetic has been included or added.
Defining “natural” has not always been clear. For example, the FDA said in April that it still has work to do to continue improving transparency and defining what “natural” and “healthy” mean on a food label.
This is also not the first time a major food company has been sued over its labeling. In July, Monster Beverage settled a class action lawsuit that alleged some of its products labelled as “natural” were misleading.
It remains to be seen what will come out of this lawsuit, but National Beverage said it will seek its own legal action for damages.
“The lawsuit and the companion release that was published this afternoon were false, defamatory and intended to intentionally damage National Beverage and its shareholders,” the company said. “National Beverage will vigorously seek actual and punitive damages among other remedies from everyone involved in the publication of these defamatory falsehoods.