Nestle’s Poland Spring Is Common Groundwater, New Suit Alleges


Nestle’s Poland Spring Water unit has duped American consumers into paying premium prices for ordinary ground water that’s pumped from some of Maine’s most populated areas, rather than from natural springs as the company advertises, according to a lawsuit.

While Poland Springs says its water bottles contain “100 percent natural spring water” from a source deep in Maine’s woods, the complaint filed August 15 in federal court in Connecticut claims that Nestle Waters North America has bottled well water that doesn’t meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definition of spring water. The suit, which includes claims for breach of contract and fraud, also seeks unspecified damages for violations of state laws including New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

None of Poland Spring Water’s eight purported “natural spring” sites contains a genuine spring under FDA rules, according to the suit. “One or more” of the company’s largest volume groundwater collection sites –which the suit says supplies up to 99 percent of the water in Poland Spring Water products — are near a current or former refuse pit, landfill or petroleum dump site, the plaintiffs say.

Even the historic Poland Spring site in western Maine, which displays a stream of mineral water shielded behind glass, is no longer natural but instead generated by a machine that pumps it out of the ground, according to the complaint.

“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,” according to the proposed class-action suit filed on behalf of consumers who’ve bought the 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 percent Natural Spring Water.'”

While Poland Spring’s water products aren’t contaminated because the company disinfects and in some cases purifies the groundwater it collects, the suit maintains the company’s claims are misleading because the water comes from wells in low-lying populated areas near potential sources of contamination.

In a statement, Nestle Waters vowed to fight the suit.

“The claims made in the lawsuit are without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain,” according to a statement the company issued Saturday. “Poland Spring is 100% spring water. It meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations defining spring water, all state regulations governing spring classification for standards of identity, as well as all federal and state regulations governing spring water collection, good manufacturing practices, product quality and labeling. We remain highly confident in our legal position.”

According to the website for the town of Poland Spring, a homesteader named Hiram Ricker declared in the mid-1800s that the mineral spring on his family’s property cured his dyspepsia, which caused people to flock to the area to take advantage of the spring’s curative powers.

The case is Mark Patane v. Nestle Waters North America Inc. 17-CV-01381, U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Patricia Hurtado



  1. Good morning America. Anyone with a half a brain, knew this whole Poland Spring fraud, was a hoax from day one. Typical corporation ripping off the most gullible among us. Dasani, which advertises as purified “drinking” water, tastes so much better than Poland Springs.
    And to think, all these dummies shelling out 3-4 dollars a bottle in the airports, when they can get the same junk out of the water fountain or sink in the bathroom. I really hope those thieves at Poland are brought to their knees.

    • Purified is the highest quality i think in bottled water. With mineral added back in for best taste and such. Why buy the most expensive looking bottle. Just get one that says purified. Alot of bottle water is the same stuff from the tap. Although one negative is from the tap it has a higher chance of coming in to contact with impurities along the way. I think old lead pipes in houses could affect the health of tap water.

  2. We have family in New England. And they have friends in a nice bucolic town. And the municipality occasionally leases part of its water supply to Nestle. So it is (in that case) natural underground water, that you would have in your tap if you lived there.

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