Is your favorite LaCroix really 100% natural?
A class action suit filed against the drink’s parent company alleges that this is a false claim, charging the brand with using a number of artificial ingredients, including linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide.
The lawsuit claims that parent company, Natural Beverage Corporation, is “intentionally misleading consumers” and aims to “award damages to those who purchased the drink under the assumption that it was all natural.”
Natural Beverage Corporation, for its part, said in a statement that it “categorically denies all allegations.” The flavors of LaCroix, it said, are “derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors.”
The company’s response further contends that the lawsuit “provides no support for its false statements” and notes that it “stands by” its ingredient statement and “the fact that all the flavor essences in LaCroix are natural.” Natural Beverage Corporation charges the lawsuit with being both false and defamatory, “intended to intentionally damage” the company and its shareholders.
So who’s right? According to Popular Science, the lawsuit is a “stretch.” The chemicals listed in the lawsuit, linalool, as well as limonene and linalool propionate, “don’t exactly qualify as synthetic”—and they’re not as dangerous as the suit might make you believe.
Limonene, PopSci explains, is a “naturally occurring chemical” derived from citrus peels. Linalool is also “naturally occurring” in flowers, spice plants, and herbs, and while it is in fact used in insecticides, it is not poisonous to humans. Finally linalyl propionate is derived from plants like ginger and lavender, and is also a common flavoring and fragrance additive. What’s more, it’s reportedly been shown to actually inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer.
Make your own decision as to whether you want to continue drinking the popular carbonated beverage, but as far as PopSci is concerned, there is no reason to fear the drink’s ingredients—natural or otherwise.