Why is Poland Spring® involved in a lawsuit?
This lawsuit seems to be an attempt to rehash an old debate about the proper use of the term “spring water.” That debate was resolved in 1995 when the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued stringent standards for spring water – standards Poland Spring® consistently meets or exceeds. All of us at Nestlé Waters North America work hard to ensure the quality and integrity of our spring water products, earn our consumers’ trust and uphold the 170-year history of the Poland Spring® brand. We are confident in our legal position and the judge's decision to grant our motion to dismiss is proof of that.
What is the current status of the lawsuit?
On May 17, 2018, the judge granted our motion to dismiss on the grounds of preemption.
Weren’t there copycat lawsuits filed against Poland Spring? What is the status of those?
Yes, there were four copycat lawsuits filed, three in Connecticut and one in Maine. All lawsuits have since been moved to Connecticut. As with the original lawsuit, the claims made in these lawsuits are meritless and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain. The motion to dismiss applies to all but one copycat lawsuit because the plaintiffs in that case did not stipulate that the motion to dismiss filed in Patane would apply equally to that action. Since that case is materially similar to the other cases, we will file the appropriate documents to have this decision apply to that action as well.
Is Poland Spring® brand water really spring water?
Yes, Poland Spring® is 100% natural spring water. The FDA defines the term “spring water” and regulates the bottled water industry. More than 20 years ago, there were many debates about the proper use of the term “spring water.” The FDA resolved these debates by issuing standards for the usage of the term “spring water” in 1995 – standards that Poland Spring® is committed to upholding. Poland Spring® meets or exceeds 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. Our compliance with these regulations has been demonstrated to state agencies throughout the United States in all states where Poland Spring® is sold, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island and Vermont.
What exactly is "spring water"?
The FDA defines spring water as “water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.” The FDA sets stringent national standards for what qualifies as “spring water” – standards that Poland Spring® consistently meets or exceeds. Those requirements are:
- Spring water shall be collected only at the spring or through a borehole that taps into the underground formation feeding the spring.
- There must be a natural force causing the water to flow to the surface through a natural orifice.
- The location of the spring shall be identified.
- Spring water that is collected with the use of an external force, such as a pump, shall:
- be from the same underground stratum as the spring, as shown by a measurable hydraulic connection between the bore hole and the natural spring;
- have all the physical properties, before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality, as the water that flows naturally to the surface; and
- water must continue to flow naturally to the surface of the earth through the spring’s natural orifice.
To view the FDA requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations here.
How do you know Poland Spring® is spring water?
Poland Spring® is 100% natural spring water. We have numerous quality controls in place to ensure the quality and integrity of our spring water products, including:
- Verified testing conducted daily, weekly, monthly, and annually;
- Independent hydrogeological reports;
- Regulatory oversight; and
- Long-term monitoring to verify the quality, long-term sustainability and spring profile of Poland Spring®.
In fact, a recent independent investigation conducted by the law firm DLA Piper confirmed that Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water meets the requirements of the federal spring water identity standard. Consumers can be confident in the honesty and accuracy of the labels on every bottle of Poland Spring®. More on that investigation can be found here
For more information, please refer to our Quality Report
Why did Nestlé Waters North America commission a study with law firm DLA Piper?
Nestlé Waters North America requested that DLA Piper conduct an independent investigation into whether Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water meets the federal spring water identity standard and, therefore, confirming the determinations of state regulators that Poland Spring® brand is properly labeled as “spring water.”
Why now? Why did Nestlé Waters North America conduct this study at this time?
We enlisted DLA Piper before any of the class action litigation matters were filed against us, because of our deep commitment to ensuring full compliance with laws and regulations. We thought it was important for our stakeholders to hear from a credible third-party source to help ensure they have all the facts about Poland Spring® and our commitment to Maine.
The fact is that Poland Spring® Brand natural spring water is just what it says it is – 100 percent natural spring water. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration set clear regulations defining spring water, and Poland Spring® meets all of those regulations. In addition, Poland Spring® meets 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.
How was the study conducted?
During the investigative process, the DLA Piper team reviewed numerous requirements, regulations and hydrogeologic evidence including:
- NWNA’s compliance with the requirements of the federal identity standard with respect to Poland Spring® Brand spring water sources;
- The certification requirements applied by regulators in Maine and other states to determine whether the requirements they applied included requirements identical to the federal identity standard; and
- The extensive hydrogeologic analyses, conducted by licensed professional independent experts, that led regulators in Maine and other states to approve Poland Spring® Brand’s spring water sources.
Additionally, Dr. Boutt visited all eight Poland Spring® Brand spring water source locations in Maine, accompanied by members of the DLA review panel, to examine the spring water production sites alongside the hydrogeologic evidence presented to regulators. DLA Piper also interviewed NWNA employees and independent professionals, including professional hydrogeologists who participated in producing scientific analyses submitted in support of the regulatory approvals.
What are the results of this study? Can I have a full copy?
DLA Piper concluded that:
- State Regulators’ Approvals of Poland Spring® Brand Spring Water Sources are Based on Requirements Identical to the Federal Spring Water Identity Standard Requirements
- NWNA has Continuously Implemented a Rigorous Program to Assure Compliance with Federal Identity Standard Requirements
- Hydrogeologic Analyses Confirm State Approvals of Spring Water Sources for Poland Spring® Satisfy all of the Requirements of Federal Spring Water Identity Standard
You can access the full report here.
If Poland Spring® is 100 percent natural spring water, why are you being sued?
While we cannot answer with certainty, the claims made in this lawsuit are without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain. We are highly confident in our legal position and the judge’s decision to grant our motion to dismiss is proof of that.
Are consumers being misled into thinking all Poland Spring® water comes from one spring?
No, every bottle of Poland Spring® clearly identifies the location of its spring water sources, which are all located in Maine. For more than 170 years, Poland Spring® has proudly delivered great tasting spring water from Maine to millions of people in the Northeast. As popularity of our great tasting water grew, we added sources that shared the same geology and characteristics as our existing springs to match the quality and taste consumers expect from our Poland Spring® brand. Today, we source our water from eight different natural springs in Maine. Having more than one source allows us to meet consumer demand while protecting all of our spring water sources for long-term sustainability.
Have the plaintiffs been defrauded or damaged by fraudulent labeling or marketing?
No, Poland Spring® meets the long-established FDA 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. Consumers can be confident in the honesty and accuracy of the labels on every bottle of Poland Spring®, and that Poland Spring® is just what it says it is – 100 percent natural spring water.
Is Poland Spring® safe?
Yes, absolutely. We pride ourselves on producing a safe product that goes through three levels of safety measures to uphold our high standards of quality:
- Glacial filtration — The unique characteristics of Maine geology, with fine sand and gravel aquifers, provide one of the most unique natural water purification systems in the world.
- Investment in our sources — We lead the industry in our financial commitment to find, scientifically test, monitor and responsibly manage sources and their surrounding watersheds.
- A state-of-the-art, multiple-barrier approach to quality — From source to bottle, we use precise filtration and sanitation methods in all of our bottling lines. Our testing standards must meet or exceed those set by the FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our technicians test Poland Spring® more than 100 times a day, beginning at the source, when it arrives at the plant, during the bottling process and before it is shipped to the market. Consumers are further protected by the use of tamper-evident packaging. For more detailed information please refer to our Quality Report