Shares of National Beverage Corp., the parent company of LaCroix, fell more than 10% Tuesday after a new lawsuit alleged that the president of National Beverage planned to falsely state that LaCroix’s cans were free of Bisphenol A, the toxic chemical commonly known as BPA.
In the lawsuit filed in Passaic Superior Court, Albert Dejewski in early 2019 believed his supervisor, National Beverage Corp. President Joseph Caporella, “had decided to prematurely announce that the LaCroix cans would be BPA-free going forward, months before the true production date, in order to drive positive buzz and awareness for the suffering brand.”
In response to the suit, National Beverage Corp. said that it began converting to BPA-free can liners two years ago and that since April, all LaCroix beverages have been produced using BPA-free cans. It also said the FDA found the liners to be safe.
“The FDA has stated BPA liners are safe and pose no risk at the trace levels found from its use in can linings of food and beverage product,” National Beverage Corp. said in a statement emailed to CBS MoneyWatch.
National Beverage drew attention last year for allegedly using artificial ingredients while claiming LaCroix is “all natural.”
Laurent Grandet, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities, wrote in May that the brand is “unlikely to rebound,” and that the company is “effectively in a free fall.”
Following the lawsuit, sales of LaCroix took a nosedive, according to Nielsen data cited by Guggenheim Securities analyst Laurent Grandet. Over a 12-week period ended in May, sales declined 9.4%, according to the data.
National Beverage was down 34% this year through Monday.