JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The parent company of LaCroix faces a class action lawsuit over allegations that its popular sparkling water doesn't live up to the billing that it is "all natural."
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Cook County, Illinois, by the New Orleans-based law firm Beaumont Costales on behalf of Lenora Rice. It claims the drink “contains a number of artificial ingredients, including linalool, which is used in insecticide,” despite being marketed as “100% natural.”
“The plaintiff Rice, desiring a healthy, natural beverage, was led to purchase LaCroix sparkling water because of the claims made on its packaging, advertising and web site to be ‘innocent,’ ‘naturally essenced,’ ‘all natural,’ and ‘always 100% natural,’” the law firm said in a press release. “However, LaCroix in fact contains ingredients that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as synthetic. These chemicals include limonene, which can cause kidney toxicity and tumors; linalool propionate, which is used to treat cancer; and linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide.”
LaCroix parent company National Beverage Corp. responded Monday, saying it “categorically denies all allegations” detailed in the complaint, which it called false and defamatory. The company added that “all essences contained in LaCroix are certified by our suppliers to be 100% natural.”
“The lawsuit provides no support for its false statements about LaCroix’s ingredients,” the company’s response said in part. “The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers ‘natural’ on a food label to be truthful and non-misleading when ‘nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added.’ All LaCroix product labels include an ingredient statement indicating each product contains carbonated water and natural flavors. National Beverage stands by that ingredient statement and the fact that all the flavor essences in LaCroix are natural.”
It's worth noting that linalool – the so-called ingredient used in roach insecticide – is a naturally occurring chemical found in 63 different spices, according to a report produced by the National Institutes of Health, which noted that the chemical is also a “common flavoring in beverages and foods and has widespread use in cosmetics.”