The makers of popular LaCroix Sparkling Waters are facing a class action complaint accusing it of falsely labeling their drinks as “all natural,” asserting the beverages contain such additives as those included in roach poison and cancer drugs.
Plaintiff Lenora Rice filed a complaint Oct. 1 in Cook County Circuit Court against National Beverage Corp., alleging violation of express warranties and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Protection Act, as well as unjust enrichment.
“LaCroix Water is manufactured using non-natural flavorings and synthetic compounds,” Rice said in her complaint, adding the Florida company “continues to mislead consumers into believing that their product is natural when it is not.”
According to the complaint, LaCroix labels indicate the flavored, sparkling water is “all natural” and “100 percent natural.” She said National Beverage “aggressively” fosters consumers’ perception with words and phrases like “innocent” and “naturally essence,” and included product labeling in the complaint to support her claims. She noted the company makes similar representations on its website.
Rice said LaCroix products include chemical compounds like ethyl butanoate, limonene, linalool and linalool propionate, which she said are synthetically created flavoring tools. According to the complaint, “limonene causes kidney toxicity and tumors, linalool is used as a cockroach insecticide; and linalool propionate is used to treat cancer.”
According to her complaint, Rice started buying LaCroix beverages in 2016 believing the products to be all natural. Although she has stopped buying the drinks since she learned of the synthetic agreements, she filed the complaint in hopes of persuading a court to force National Beverage to change its labels and advertising to reflect the true nature of the products. She said the class could include thousands of LaCroix customers.
Rice said packaging of LaCroix products constitutes an express warranty with customers to provide a natural product, and that selling the water despite knowing it wasn’t “natural” means National Beverage was unjustly enriched, in that customers wouldn’t have paid the retail price or would have avoided the products altogether had they known the reality.
In addition to class certification and a jury trial, Rice wants damages, attorney fees and for National Beverage to pay court costs.
Representing Rice in the matter, and seeking to serve as class attorney, is lawyer William H. Beaumont of Beaumont Costales, in Chicago.