Relax, Scientists Say The La Croix Lawsuit Is Bogus

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Image via Getty Images/Vivien Killilea

The ever-popular La Croix is now under a microscope for ‘unnatural’ ingredients — but don’t panic

La Croix has an almost cult-like following for its all natural, calorie-free sparkling water. Water that comes in a multitude of delicious flavors that can be paired with every meal and adult beverage concoction imaginable. So, it made sense that when I saw them in the news I assumed it was to introduce yet another tantalizing flavor. Instead, to my horror, it was for a lawsuit claiming its “all natural” and “100 percent natural” labels are misleading consumers.

According to CBS Philadelphia, the law firm representing the plaintiff claimed that testing on the beverage “reveals that LaCroix contains a number of artificial ingredients, including ones used in cockroach insecticide and for the treatment of cancer, and another that can cause kidney toxicity and tumors.

Say what now? What in the hell am I going to mix my vodka with if this thing goes tits up?

“The lawsuit also asserts that LaCroix and its parent company, National Beverage, knew synthetic chemicals were used in the making of the sparkling water, but “intentionally misleading consumers.”

The company denies these allegations, stating “Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essential 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.”

It seems to boil down to a whole bunch of science that I don’t understand and is best articulated by the experts. “The truth is, this lawsuit seems to be a stretch, working on the ambiguous nature of how the FDA distinguishes natural chemicals from synthetic ones,” Popular Science reports.

“It is very unlikely these naturally-occurring substances pose a health risk when consumed at levels usually found in foods,” Roger Clemens, an expert in food and regulatory science at the University of Southern California says. “If there were a health risk, then citrus juices and spices, such as curry, would not be consumed or be part of the commodity market.”

Breaking that down simply means the three ingredients cited by the lawsuit aren’t as dangerous as they sound. For instance, one of the ingredients, linalool, is routinely found in plants like mints and scented herbs. Another is a natural component of oil extracted from citrus peels. And still, another was found to not be poisonous for humans at all.

“Unless LaCroix is secretly 50 percent linalool (don’t be too worried about that hypothetical; it would taste pretty gnarly) LaCroix drinkers have little to fear,” Popular Science said.

“The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers “natural” on a food label to be truthful and non-misleading when ‘nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added,’” LaCroix said in a statement.

While there’s sure to be more to come from the suit, let us all take a collective moment to pray to the vodka/soda gods that it all turns out to be water under the bridge (sorry).

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