It really is quite astounding that a company like Nestlé can continue to operate in North America despite its widespread immoral and even diabolical reputations. Nevertheless, the most recent mark on Nestlé’s already shredded face is a class action lawsuit alleging that the “mineral water” in its Poland Springs bottles is actually just plain groundwater. Bangor Daily News reports that Nestlé Waters North America Inc. is accused of “colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.”
More specifically, allegation in 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 is seeking millions of dollars in damages for a nationwide class and appears to hinge on whether the sources of Poland Spring water meet the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of a spring.” Kind of makes you wonder what else you’ve been drinking, eating, or buying on a daily basis that is almost the exact opposite of what you think it is.
Poland “spring water.” (Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly), this isn’t the first time Nestlé has been (rightly) accused of something like this: former United States Forest Service officials have called out Nestlé in the past pertaining to its Arrowhead brand within San Bernardino National Forest. Nestlé utilizes a permit which expired in 1988 in order to pay just over $500 each year to withdraw millions of gallons of water—and, of course, to make billions of dollars in profit. Furthermore, Nestlé has been accused of doing similar things in Maine; only in Maine, the company has also been accused of using sources of water which contain garbage and other hazardous waste. Shockingly, Nestlé has still campaigned hard for a huge expansion of Poland Springs.
There are many other shocking and virtually unbelievable aspects to these stories: Bangor Daily News reports that “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.” In response, a Nestlé spokesperson argues that “The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit. Poland Spring is 100 [percent] spring water.”
So how is it that Nestlé can continue to operate and profit extensively in the face of all this evidence against the company? Quite simply, Nestlé has spent years infiltrating its employees into advantageous positions around the globe, and this combined network is always able to pull enough strings or otherwise do or say whatever it takes to prevent full justice from being known and served. However, many of these tactics aren’t even hidden from the public (or the government): Nestlé has financially supported the state of Maine quite significantly since 1998, so the state itself stands to lose a significant amount of annual money as well (if Nestlé is caused to lose money, or to lose interest).
The lawsuit also argues that “To consumers, ‘spring water’ from a naturally occurring spring signifies purity and high quality and commands a premium price compared to Defendant’s non-spring drinking water products or filtered tap water. . . . To illicitly capture that premium, Defendant, since it began selling the Poland Spring brand in 1993, has bottled common groundwater and illegally mislabeled it as ‘100% Natural Spring Water.’” Indeed, if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Nestlé has been selling groundwater (hazardous or otherwise) as spring water, it is long-past time for them to pay up—and get out.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.