How much water from Poland Spring is in that bottle?

Mother Jones says the answer may surprise consumers: Only about one-third comes from the source with that name.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 15, 2013 8:17AM
Bottles of Poland Spring water (© Tom Starkweather/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Quick question, readers: Where does Poland Spring bottled water originate? If you're answer is "Poland Spring," a troubling report in Mother Jones will show that you aren't even half right.

According to the muckraking publication, only about one-third of the water sold under the Poland Spring brand actually comes from the location bearing that name. Here's where its gets a little tricky. A 2002 lawsuit accused the company of false advertising because the original Poland Spring dried up in 1967. Nestlé (NSRGY), the corporate parent of Poland Spring, settled the case without admitting wrongdoing and offered $10 million in discounts for consumers and donations to charity.

Mother Jones quotes Nestlé spokeswoman Jane Lazgin saying the majority of Poland Spring comes from other springs in Maine. "I guess there was a time where it almost all came from Poland Spring, Maine," Lazgin said. "We purchased the company in 1980 and since that time we have added springs in Maine."

One reason why Poland Spring diversified its supplies is huge demand for the brand, she said. Nestlé's other water brands are tied to specific places, but Lazgin declined to say what percentage of the products comes from those areas, Mother Jones said. Lazgin didn't respond to an email request for comment from MSN Money. The International Bottled Water Association also could not be reached.

Environmentalists have long accused the bottled water industry of misleading consumers about the purity of its product. A 2011 report by the Environmental Working Group noted that many brands make "vague claims of a pristine source" on their labels.

There may be a reason for this evasiveness. The Natural Resources Defense Council notes on its website: "Just because water comes from a bottle does not mean that it is any purer than tap water."

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

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Mar 15, 2013 10:46AM
It is BOTTLED WATER the biggest Scam that has ever been put over it's people,---what a waste of money and all these people really believe they are getting something special just because they are paying for it.----------It is sad.
Mar 15, 2013 12:13PM
Many farmers in Maine have sold their water rights to Nestle.  They are pumping millions of gallons out of potato fields all over the state.  You can buy Dasani if you want to which is "purified" tap water.  What a marketing scam.  All of it. 
Mar 15, 2013 2:28PM
Most of this bottle water stuff is a real scam.  A number of years ago, I went through the Nestle facility outside of Allentown PA.  The water that they were bottling came straight from the City of Allentown.  Oh sure, they put it through a filter before they bottle it....but, to me, it's still a scam and a big waste of money.
Mar 15, 2013 4:05PM

My Mars candy bar didn't come from that planet!

Who do I sue for that????

Mar 15, 2013 5:43PM
I live in Poland Spring Maine, I can tell you I drive by a pump/well house location that 18 wheeler tankers are filling up at every 30 mins there abouts. Thats not the only one in town ether ! They also have a big pumpstation out in the western part of the state (Fryeburg area) so as far as i know, none of it comes from the Potatoe fields Up north.
Mar 15, 2013 3:19PM
Is any bottle water out there what they say it is? Does any of it come from where they tell us it comes from? I don't know. I would like to know if the food we buy, the fruits and veggies we get, come from where they say it does. Again I don't know. I only hope that I don't come down with E-coli or Salmonella because I don't know. It's like playing russian roulette when you sit down to eat and drink. Something need to change and it needs to start very soon!
Mar 15, 2013 10:47AM
Soon they will say, the water comes from pure natural springs in Poland. It will now cost you more money.
Mar 15, 2013 6:22PM
Poland Spring trucks passed by my house every 5 minutes, about 60 miles from the bottling plant.  As a Mainer, I know the quality of the water is just as good at the Kingfield location as it is Poland Spring.  So what is the problem?  it's just a lot of hot air
Mar 15, 2013 12:00PM
ALL deep well water in New England originates in Canada.  The aquafer sits on bed rock most of the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Mar 15, 2013 5:55PM
I've worked at a spring water bottling plant in PA, the water comes from different springs in the area and is shipped in and tanked, once in the tanks before ever being bottled it stringently checked and rechecked for any kind of impurities, you must be dopey if you think the water comes straight from the ground into your bottle...THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE WATER 
Mar 15, 2013 2:50PM

But I'm amazed at the people carrying it around like a tit, when they were a baby...


As I pick up my 30th. cup of coffee for the day...And take a sip..

Mar 15, 2013 2:42PM
Better yet...drink BRAWNDO....(it has electrolytes).
Mar 15, 2013 7:07PM

Consumers need to demand TRUTHFUL labeling and more information about INGREDIENTS on water labels and all other food and drink products.


Mar 15, 2013 10:24PM

Fresh water, is the second most valuable liquid on Earth, after human blood., and that's never going to change in our life time.
Oil is ranked a distant, but equally bloody, third place. Think about it.
Mar 18, 2013 8:30AM
The really disturbing thing about buyng bottled water is the millions of plastic bottles that are left behind and now float on our oceans and litter our roadways.  Bottled water should be outlawed.  Buy a pitcher with a filter instead and find a thermos to keep it in.  Please don't buy bottle water!
Mar 15, 2013 5:49PM
We are being ripped off by Nestle, a Swiss firm that is taking the water that rightfully belongs to the U.S. citizens and reselling it back to us and all over the world! I refuse to buy anything that pathetic company makes.
Mar 15, 2013 11:31AM

We have excellent water, with minerals...too many.

Have never tasted or drank, any Bottled water...That was as good as ours.


Just pumped up from a large deep aquifer beneath us...

Thought about bottling or starting a plant, once upon a time...

We would sell it cheap..

Mar 15, 2013 2:51PM

First, iIt's "...your answer.." not "'re answer...".


Second, it's Bush's fault.


Mar 16, 2013 7:52AM
The biggest scam of it all is paying $1.50 to $2.00 for a plastic bottle of water----any water. My opinion, about the only water other then enhanced that may have some significant value  might be the mineral waters, Perrier, etc. Those are good to drink, but a regular diet will put you in the poor house. Starbucks is making a living on high caffeine coffee----more punch for the buck. May as well throw 5 hour energy in there too. Go broke catching a buzz? Oh, don't you just love the marketing folks?
Mar 15, 2013 8:13PM

At my previous job, at a financial insurance company around Wall street where they provided bottle water at the cooler, one of my coworker drank tap water instead.  I asked her " You don't like free bottled water?"  She said "It's the same.  I worked at the bottling company before, and they buy water from the city and purify it."  She left me with wonder till these day.

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