Don't Freak Out About the LaCroix Lawsuit
The bougie bubbly water might possibly be playing fast and loose with the term "all natural," but its ingredients aren't going to kill you.
Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images
Don't worry: Unless someone throws a full can at you very, very hard, your LaCroix isn't going to kill you.
We wanted to get that out of the way to forestall the bougie bubbly water hysteria that might follow the news that earlier this week, a class action lawsuit was filed in Cook County against LaCroix's parent company, National Beverage Corp., for misleading consumers with their "all natural" claims.
The Chicago-based Beaumont Costales law firm put out a statement on Monday saying that they were suing, "on behalf of Lenora Rice and all those injured by the popular sparkling water brand’s false claims to be 'all natural' and '100% natural.' In fact, as the filing states, testing reveals that LaCroix contains a number of artificial ingredients, including linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide." Media outlets like CBS Philly really ran with the insecticide overlap—but here's the thing: Just because an ingredient is in two different products doesn't mean those two products will have the same effect on the human digestive system. Linalool does appear in in cockroach killer, but it's also a common terpene that occurs in nature (including in cannabis, where it contributes elements of weed's characteristic powerful smell).
Popular Science did a thorough breakdown of the three chemicals listed in the announcement—limonene, linalool, and linalool propionate—looking at 1. whether they're natural or synthetic and 2. whether they're dangerous for human consumption. Although there are some conflicting studies, none of those chemicals have been proven to be harmful and, in fact, all three have shown to be actively anti-carcinogenic. The issue of whether or not they're "natural" is a little trickier.
La Croix doubled down on that claim in a statement this week that, "All essences contained in LaCroix are certified by our suppliers to be 100% natural." As Pop Sci points out, the FDA classifies linalool limonene, for example, as one of a family of "synthetic flavoring substances...that are generally recognized as safe for their intended use" but both of those also occur naturally in plants (like weed, but also mints and cinnamon). We don't know if the chemicals La Croix is using are derived from natural sources or made synthetically, which might be where Beaumont Costales has some legal standing.
The statement about the lawsuit doesn't actually say what the injuries that Lenora Rice or others "who purchased LaCroix under this inaccurate depiction" may have suffered. We've reached out to the law firm to obtain a copy of the lawsuit to see if that information is included, and will update if they get back to us. But for now, as long as you didn't really believe someone was squeezing a coconut directly into your can of La Croix, this shouldn't change anything.