Shares of LaCroix sparkling water maker National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: FIZZ) fell again Wednesday after a second negative media report in just over a week, with Consumer Reports highlighting the company's long-documented secrecy over the popular drink's ingredients.
Consumer Reports published an article Tuesday in which it said it tried to determine what LaCroix uses to flavor its water by requesting regulatory information from the state of Massachusetts - only to find that state regulators couldn't provide it because they said the brand doesn't have the proper permitting to be sold there.
The ingredient issue isn't new; there are media reports going back years about the company's insistence on telling consumers only that its sparkling water is flavored with "natural essence oils."
Last year, National Beverage was sued in a class action suit in which plaintiffs alleged the ingredients aren't "all-natural," as LaCroix's marketing says. The company has vigorously denied the claims.
Consumer Reports said it was told the Massachusetts Department of Public Health doesn't have a permit for LaCroix, and that the agency sent the beverage company a notice ordering it to submit required paperwork.
If it doesn't, it could be fined or barred from selling there.
The latest story on the company's ingredients follows reports last week about chemicals in the company's beverage cans.
Several media outlets reported last week that National Beverage is being sued by a former employee who alleges he was fired after questioning whether company president Joseph Caporella planned to publicly claim the company's cans were free of the chemical commonly known as BPA before they actually were.
After that report, the company's stock fell to its lowest point since 2016.
"As of April 2019, all cans produced for LaCroix products were produced without BPA liners," the company said in a statement on that issue that it sent to Benzinga.
"False statements were made in litigation brought by a former employee seeking to extract a monetary recovery from the company. We intend to vigorously defend our company and our brands against false claims brought by this disgruntled former employee."
Bloomberg reported last week that the stock's recent drops have erased a considerable part of founder Nick Caporella's wealth. Joseph Caporella is the founder's son.
National Beverage shares ended Wednesday's session down 0.29% at $44.02.
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