December 17, 2018

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Flavored Sparkling Water, LaCroix, Sued Over Natural Claims

  • A class action lawsuit filed by Lenora Rice in Cook County, Illinois alleges that LaCroix manufacturer, National Beverage Corp, falsely markets its popular flavored sparkling water as “all natural.” The complaint states that LaCroix sparkling waters are “manufactured using non-natural flavorings and synthetic compounds,” but are labeled as “all natural” and “always 100% natural.” Specifically, LaCroix is alleged to contain ethyl butanoate, limonene, linalool, and linalool propionate. 

  • According to FoodNavigator  the substances named in the complaint (e.g., ethyl butanoate, limonene, linalool, and linalool propionate) can be derived from both natural and synthetic sources and may be discerned through sample analysis, but only if the ultimate molecule under consideration is different in its configuration or proportion of different configurations, when synthesized.  Notably, Rice’s complaint does not state the basis for her allegations. The product ingredient list declares two ingredients: carbonated water and natural flavor. But it is unknown how she has determined that the referenced substances are even in the products, and whether they were synthetically created as opposed to naturally sourced from plants.  

  • Unsurprisingly, National Beverage Corp has denied the allegations and issued a statement that the “natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, those extracted flavors.” National Beverage Corp believes the lawsuit to be false, defamatory, and intended to intentionally damage the company’s reputation.

  • As we’ve previously posted on this blog, “natural” and “all natural” lawsuits have been the focus of much litigation in recent years. However, it appears, as evidenced by the suit against LaCroix and other cases focused on “natural flavors”, that the use of natural flavors may be a new focus of scrutiny for plaintiff’s lawyers.

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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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