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Nongfu Spring Hit with Two Lawsuits
Summary:One of China’s largest bottled water companies is facing two lawsuits. One for having water quality that falls short of national standards, and one for falsely accusing its competitor of pulling the strings of the events that led to the first lawsuit.

Apr 18, 2013
Translated by Liu Jingyue

Nongfu Spring (农夫山泉), one of China’s largest bottled water suppliers, is caught in two lawsuits after a series of quality scandals. 

Tuesday, a customer from Guangzhou accused Nongfu of “not adopting local standards” when selling products produced in Guangdong province. On the same day, China Resources C’estbon Food & Beverage sued the company for false accusations. 

Nongfu Spring has been known for its quality, as it claims to use water from lakes and rivers in four different provinces rather than tap water.

On Mar. 14, just one day before the China Consumers’ Day, one customer complained about finding dark substances in the water. One week later, another customer from Ningxia made a similar complaint. The company responded saying that the water they supplied was in line with national safety standards. 

In its efforts to prove that its products are of “fine quality,” the company released several test results. However, one of those results showed that the water is far below national standards for drinking water.  

It turns out that the company has been using local standards made by Zhejiang Province in 2005, which are less strict than national standards in terms of chemical content. The same standard is also used for its water in other provinces like Guangdong.

The national standards have been improving since 2005, but Nongfu Spring hasn’t adjusted.

The water mentioned in the complaints was taken from the Dan River in Hubei Province. However, in a report by 21cn, a picture showed that part of the river was covered with floating garbage.

Nongfu Spring claims that its rival, China Resources C’estbon Food & Beverage, is pulling the strings behind the recent water quality accusations. In response, C’estbon is suing Nongfu for making false accusations.

Links & Sources
The Economic Observer:农夫山泉标准宽与国标
Jinghua Times:农夫山泉一日之内两次成被告
Chinanews: 农夫山泉频陷“质量门” 网友:农夫山泉有点悬(图)



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