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Published: Thursday 31 July 2003

Nestle Waters North America Incorporated, the largest bottled water company in the US, has been slapped with a lawsuit for misleading its customers. Poland Spring, Nestle's premium brand of bottled water in the country, claims in its advertisements that its "pure water" is bottled from a lush deep spring in Poland in the state of Maine, USA. However, Tony Sobol, the attorney who filed the case in Connecticut, contends: "Poland Spring is neither natural nor spring water, and comes from sources of a lesser quality than some tap water." Some of it, alleges Sobol, comes from a well in a parking lot along a busy road. The spring in Maine has not flowed for more than 35 years, and is today contaminated with asphalt. Nestle has been accused of falsely advertising its product as "naturally purified" or "spring water". But the company continues to deny the charges, maintaining that they are unfounded.

Springs are scientifically defined as water sources where the groundwater flows naturally from the earth into a surface waterbody or onto the land surface, at a rate sufficient enough to form a current. Water from Poland Spring became popular in the late 1700s after it was found to have therapeutic qualities.

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