“How dumb do I think the Americans are? I bet we could sell those idiots water. Let’s just tell the Americans the bottled water is from France.”

Jim Gaffigan’s infamous bit about the astounding way that bottled water went from sounding idiotic to becoming a mainstay of American life recalls a time when people really did think it was a crazy idea. It’s true that so long as we were convinced that the water in question came to us from elsewhere (hence, a better, purer place), we were more than happy to fork over a couple bucks for water, which was previously (and is still) available for free.

Did that bottled water actually come from faraway lands and mountain tops? Who the hell knows. Well, a new class-action lawsuit is attempting to prove that at least one brand of bottled water is a bottle full of lies.

Per The Washington Post, the lawsuit states that Nestle Water North America, the parent company behind Poland Springs, has been bottling groundwater and selling it under the false premise that it comes from a spring.

“Not one drop of Poland Spring Water emanates from a water source that complies with the Food and Drug Administration definition of ‘spring water…the famous Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine, which defendant’s labels claim is a source of Poland Spring Water, ran dry nearly 50 years ago.”

The lawsuit also claims that the six groundwater collection sites that Nestle uses “are near a present or former human waste dump, landfill, fish hatchery or toxic petroleum dump site.”

As for those Food and Drug rules that Poland Spring needs to meet, spring water must come from an underground source and flow to the surface naturally or be pumped from a hole in the ground.

Nestle says that the water in Poland Spring is indeed spring water, though they declined to say how it meets the definition. Peter Gleick, a scientist and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, told WaPo that “Most of Nestle’s waters are pumped from the ground,” but the larger issue surrounds the way the FDA defines spring water.

Annual sales of bottled water grew to $16 billion last year, surpassing that of soda for the first time ever.

[Washington Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.