News broke late last week that a lawsuit was filed in an Illinois circuit court against LaCroix’s parent company, National Beverage Corporation, claiming that, among other unnatural ingredients, the popular sparking water contains linalool, an oil often found in cockroach insecticide, according to a report from CNBC.
The shock value of the hearing the words “cockroach insecticide” in the same sentence as a beverage many people in America have at least tasted—if not obsessively guzzled— is appalling in and of itself. That’s to say nothing of the possibility that it may or may not be true.
The allegations will likely take a negative toll on LaCroix’s sales in the coming weeks and months simply from the bad taste this disconcerting news leaves in people’s mouths. If and when that fades, however, alarm will likely subside and the real dilemma ought to be confronted.
Conscientious dieting is part and parcel with sustaining an active lifestyle, so those looking to stay healthy understandably want to know if this lawsuit is cause for legitimate concern or simply a footnote in the history of ingredient branding, as LaCroix thrives off a marketing campaign that insists only natural flavors are used in its beverages.
According to a report from Popular Science, the fans of LaCroix need not panic. Author Neel V. Patel writes:
Unless LaCroix is secretly 50 percent linalool (don’t be too worried about that hypothetical; it would taste pretty gnarly) LaCroix drinkers have little to fear. According to Roger Clemens, an expert in food and regulatory science at the University of Southern California, it’s worth remembering these three compounds are found in low levels in a long list of different types of foods and drinks in the U.S. “It is very unlikely these naturally-occurring substances pose a health risk when consumed at levels usually found in foods,” he says. “If there were a health risk, then citrus juices and spices, such as curry, would not be consumed or be part of the commodity market.”
At this point, it appears too soon to determine the legitimacy of the claims. To be certain, unsubstantiated accusations are nothing to belittle, yet the silver lining in headline news of this nature is the accountability exhibited for the sake of consumer safety and transparency. Indeed, hopefully transparency and safety turn out to be the true marks of the ingredients inside the silver lining of LaCroix’s cans.