The makers of LaCrois sparkling water face a class action lawsuit, alleging that consumers were misled into believing the beverages are 100% natural, despite containing chemicals considered to be synthetic by federal health officials.
The LaCroix class action lawsuit was filed in Cook County, Illinois, naming LaCroix sparkling water and its parent company, National Beverage Corporation, as defendants for intentionally providing information that suggested the popular beverage is made from all natural ingredients, even after recent testing confirmed the drinks contain synthetic ingredients used in cockroach insecticide.
National Beverage released a statement earlier this month, denying such allegations and maintaining that all flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils of the named fruit, and that there are no sugars or artificial ingredients added.
LaCroix sparkling water has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years from advertising that it is “innocent,” “naturally essenced,” “all natural,” and “always 100% natural.” Amid aggressive marketing, National Beverage Corp. saw sales grow from $646 million in 2015 rise to nearly $830 million in 2017.
The recently filed class action lawsuit challenges the validity of LaCroix’s 100 percent natural ingredients claims, stating the beverages are made with several synthetic and artificial ingredients, some of which have proven harmful for human consumption.
Plaintiffs maintain recent testing revealed LaCroix beverages contain a number of artificial and synthetic ingredients, including linalool propionate, which is used to treat cancer, and limonene, which has been found to cause kidney toxicity and tumors.
The FDA defines the term “natural” on food labeling to mean nothing artificial or synthetic has been included or has been added to a food that would not normally be expected in that food.
The Department of Health and Human Services outlines in its Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Volume 3, that both Limonene and Linalool are recognized as synthetic flavoring substance and adjuvants, that are generally recognized as safe.
The complaint states LaCroix and National Beverage are aware these synthetic chemicals are in LaCroix sparkling water, and that the companies have intentionally and continuously misled consumers.
The manufacturer said the allegations were not only false, but defamatory and intended to intentionally damage National Beverage and its shareholders. National Beverage officials said they will begin to “vigorously seek actual and punitive damages among other remedies from everyone involved in the publication of the defamatory falsehoods.”