The civil suit claims that the company intentionally misled consumers by referring to LaCroix products as "all natural" despite the fact that the drinks contained artificial ingredients such as linalool, which can be used in cockroach insecticides, as well as limonene and linalool propionate (aka linalyl propionate), which are associated with "kidney toxicity and tumors" and cancer treatments, respectively.
The suit is being filed on behalf of consumer Lenora Rice, who the firm stated was drawn to drinking LaCroix because it was advertised as "innocent" and "always 100% natural," a statement from Beaumont Costales states.
"LaCroix and National Beverage are aware of the synthetic chemicals contained in LaCroix sparkling water, and yet they intentionally misled consumers into believing LaCroix all-natural in order to drive sales of the product," the announcement states.
"The lawsuit seeks to stop LaCroix from falsely labeling and promoting its products as natural and to award damages to those individuals who purchased LaCroix under this inaccurate depiction."
The National Beverage Corporation shot back at the firm on Monday, stating that it "categorically denies all allegations in a lawsuit filed today without basis in fact or law regarding the natural composition of its LaCroix sparkling waters."
"Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors," the corporation said in a release. "There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, those extracted flavors."
"The lawsuit and the companion release that was published this afternoon were false, defamatory and intended to intentionally damage National Beverage and its shareholders," the statement read, before noting that the corporation would be seeking "actual and punitive damages" from those involved in spreading the "defamatory falsehoods."
According to Popular Science, the crux of the matter has to do with just how the US Food and Drug Administration differentiates between synthetic and natural flavors. The news outlet says the ingredients listed by the law firm don't exactly fall under the synthetic label and aren't as harmful as they sound.
Linalool, which the firm cited as being an insecticide ingredient, is actually found in various plants such as mints, scented herbs and cinnamon, according to the publication, which also noted that linalyl propionate is derived from ginger and lavender. As for limonene, it's been described by the US National Institute of Health as a "major component of oil extracted from citrus peels."
In the meantime, Beaumont Costales is calling on individuals who've purchased LaCroix to reach out to them if they want to be added to the plaintiff list in the case.