A Lawsuit Says LaCroix Can't Be '100% Natural' Due to Naturally Occurring Chemicals

A lawsuit says that certain chemicals mean the sparkling water is not "all-natural."


|||Richard B. Levine/Newscom
Richard B. Levine/Newscom

LaCroix sparkling water boasts all natural ingredients, making it a popular and Instagramable alternative to sodas. In fact, its website explains that the "Natural Flavors" tag on its products comes from "natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit." Yet the company is now the defendant in a lawsuit over whether or not its natural label is misleading.

Lenora Rice is the lead plaintiff in a class action complaint against LaCroix and its parent company, National Beverage, alleging that the beverage could not be considered "all natural" as it contains chemical compounds that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed synthetic or artificial. The compounds in question are ethyl butanoate, limonene, linalool, and linalool propionate. The suit also charges that the compounds have detrimental effects on health. For example, limonene can cause kidney toxicity and tumors. Linalool is used as a cockroach insecticide. Linalool propionate is a cancer treatment.

With names like those, it's easy to see Rice's concern. But, as it turns out, the whole lawsuit could be in bad taste.

Popular Science looked into some of the chemical compounds found in LaCroix. As its research indicates, limonene and linalool are "naturally occuring chemicals," the first being an oil extract from orange peels and the second being found in flowers and plants like cinnamon. As for the supposed side effects, evidence of limonene's carcinogenic effects are noted as "inadequate." Similarly, linalool's use as an insectide is not proof of toxicity towards humans. (The article compares this to the fact that we continue to consume chocolate even though it could cause serious harm to our four-legged companions.) Additionally, the magazine observes that branding linalool propionate's anticancer agents as negative is a tough argument to make.

While there are many reasons to dislike LaCroix, whether it be for its cultish following or because paying out of the nose for a lightly flavored beverage is not your dig, it would seem that its alleged toxicity is not a cause for dismay.

The lawsuit against LaCroix has certain similarities to another legal fight, one between the state of California and coffee. The state's Proposition 65 requires businesses to warn consumers if cancer-causing agents are present in their products. After learning that acrylamide was present in coffee, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled in March that coffee businesses, including large chains, would need to display labels that warned of carcinogens. The ruling has since been decried by both the FDA and California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Research has found that acrylamide was a byproduct of roasting coffee beans. Not only this, but a human would need to consume 35,000 cups a day to face a greater risk for developing cancer.

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  1. Huh. Companies using food safety laws in order to obtain a competitive advantage. Who would have thunk it!

    1. Hey it contains dihydrogen monoxide. A chemical that kills hundreds every year.

      1. Each can literally contains a potentially lethal amount of dihydrogen monoxide.

  2. The number one cause of cancer is old age. If you live long enough, your chances of getting cancer approach 1.

    So instead of “Live long and prosper” it would be better to say “I hope you live long enough to get cancer.”

    Though if you really want to prevent cancer, the best way would be to outlaw getting old.

    1. CA – ROW – SELL! CA – ROW – SELL!

  3. Science!

  4. a lawsuit says?

    1. Yes, it’s what the compliant claims.

      The company is being sued for falsely advertising their products as “natural”.

      1. from reading you I know you know the point I am making. i am allowed to expect people who accept money for writing to write right, right?

        1. Realistically – only in-so-far as *you’re* paying them that money. Sure, you’re free to bitch about it here, we all do, but we ain’t signing her paycheck . . .

  5. I remember reading a comment by someone who was attempting to describe the taste of Lacroix. “Imagine drinking club soda while someone in the next room yelled fruit flavors at you.” I have had one and can confirm the description.

    1. lol. perfect description.

    2. Yes, if you associate fruit flavor with sugar, LaCroix will not to have much flavor to you.

    3. That is dead on.

    4. Soda water that was transported in a shipping container that also had the fruit that’s on the can label.

    5. I’ve also heard “Someone ate a fruit salad and then belched into your sparkling water”

  6. While there are many reasons to dislike LaCroix, whether it be for its cultish following or because paying out of the nose for a lightly flavored beverage is not your dig, it would seem that its alleged toxicity is not a cause for dismay.

    This is the true core of this article, and the only valid libertarian stance on this.

    1. It was a refreshingly effervescent libertarian take from a magazine otherwise chock full of sugar and syrupy fizz.

      1. [effervesces gently in agreement]

  7. ‘Natural’ is a seriously overrated characteristic. Arsenic is natural. Botulism is natural. Nuclear fission is natural. Oil leaking into the sea is natural.

    For humans, since we are social Apes, natural would age crouching in trees, picking parasites off of our relatives, and plotting to murder the Alpha male and rape all his females.

    You can f%$#$% KEEP ‘natural’.

    1. There was a big stink years ago that Arizona’s water supply contained arsenic. Because the water supply naturally contains arsenic.

      This was evidence that Bush sucked.

    2. “Natural” and “Organic” have become two of the most meaningless/misused words in the language.

      1. My current crusade is against any restaurant that describes themselves as an “eatery.”

        1. The Simpsons were on that years ago by making fun of Tipsy McStagger’s Goodtime Drinking and Eating Emporium

        2. And I hate it when a brothel calls itself a “fuckery.”

          1. Hey, your wife came up with a novel marketing technique. No need to hate on her for it.

            1. I told you not to refer to yourself as my wife on H&R. That’s just for when we are alone.

      2. “Natural” and “Organic” have become two of the most meaningless/misused words in the language.

        More meaningless than “sustainable”?

        1. A person gave me a tomato and claimed it was all organic, my question is though did they wash all the literal shit off of it from the organic compost they used. which would you rather eat shit covered vegis or insecticide covered vegis. one will give you hepatitis and the other will give you cancer in 80 years if you live long enough.

      3. “Organic” is regulated; “natural” isn’t so much (yet) at the federal level, though anything deemed deceptive might be actionable.

      4. Hey, Natural Light has a meaning. It means you’re getting good and hammered for cheap.

    3. and plotting to murder the Alpha male and rape all his females.

      But enough about Kavanaugh!

      *canned laughter*

  8. I like the flavored carbonated waters as an alternative to sodas.

    I choose store brands that are cheaper but I credit LaCroix with helping create the market.

  9. So, a year or so ago, I learned that “LaCroix” is not pronounced “la?k?wa,” as it should be in French, but “la-croy.” Of course, either way, the word means “the cross.”

    1. I’m not certain how the liqueur brand Bols is supposed to be pronounced, but I pronounce it “balls” based on the crappy nature of their products.

      1. Think that’s French, too. Don’t know how that one is pronounced–la?k?wa?

        1. It all sounds like dago talk to me.

  10. I recall that LaCroix was a move by G. Heileman (or perhaps some Heileman refugees) to diversify when Heileman beers faltered as Miller and Anheuser-Busch moved toward duopoly in the early ’80s. Coors later distinguished itself from the also-ran pack, then joined Miller, but the Heilemans and Strohs and Pabsts couldn’t keep the pace.

    They chose “LaCroix” because it sounded better than “LaCrosse Municipal Water.”

    A few Heileman brands are brewed in limited quantities by others these days, but the company is dead, while LaCroix Sparkling — which was the same liquid in the same cans, without the beer parts — is a cult favorite. Something like how Coke executives fought for nearly a century to sell syrup and water, then watched higher margins go to the same water (Dasani) without the sugar and flavor.

    1. Interesting story. LaCroix is 5 bucks a 12 pack at my grocery store. I guess if you have the canning lines and water source already in place, making fizzy water is very profitable. Especially since you’re saving money and increasing its cachet by adding less flavor ingredients, which is probably the most expensive aspect. Brilliant

      1. The Craisins story is just as good. Turned a waste product they had to pay someone to haul away — the cranberry carcasses, after juice extraction — into something that generates huge profits. Add some sugar and garbage becomes a high margin revenue stream.

  11. Dying from cholera is natural. Maybe LaCroix should ship cans of poopy water labled “all natural.”

  12. Reading the details of this suit on other sites makes it feel entrepreneurial as hell.

    1. Hard mode: read WaPo’s woke take without losing any brain cells.

  13. The funny thing with all this is that there is no such thing as a ‘non-synthetic chemical’ and nothing not ‘natural’ exists.

    1. “Now with more quarks!”

      1. Non-GMO quarks, I hope. And no gluten in my gluons.

        1. Only the toppiest of quarks.

      2. “Now with more quarks!”


    2. poison oak is natural and so is lead but I won’t eat either so much for natural being diffinative of good

      1. Try some natural cyanide!

  14. Ever inventive lawyers always find interesting and dishonest ways to GET PAID! The class lawsuit has many good reasons for getting filed.
    They do some real good often. But once it becomes know that their are big paydays to be had by filing off the charts crazy ones it is a mad rush by many ambulance chasing unethical lawyers to garner an easy payday.

    Big problem is the US is that law schools NEVER limited how many schools could open in the US, unlike medical schools.. The nation produced a huge over abundance of individuals trained to do what there was no market for. So droves of trained lawyers went into other fields of work like business, research, engineering and so on.

    But still there are way too many trained attorneys chasing too few jobs and requests for their services. Hence the “inventive” methods of making a buck. Smart people always find cracks and flaws that can be bent to their needs.

  15. At least LaCroix has “real ingredients”

  16. WTF do people mean when they decry “chemicals”? Literally all matter in the universe is made of chemicals.


  17. I tried the cranberry once it was god awful. I buy plain soda water and use Mio. Sugar free, tastes great and you can make it to taste. Fruit punch is my favorite.

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