French food group Danone has filed a lawsuit against its Chinese joint venture partner over alleged illegal sales in China.

Danone has filed a complaint with the Superior Court of Los Angeles against Ever Maple Trading, a British Virgin Islands-based company, and Hangzhou Hongsheng Beverade Co.

Ever Maple Trading is the controlling shareholder of Hangzhou Hongsheng Beverage, the parent company of Danone's joint venture partner, Hangzhou Wahaha Food and Beverage Sales Co, Danone said in a legal notice.

Danone has accused Wahaha of selling food and beverage products identical to those sold by the companies' joint ventures, in violation of its joint venture agreements.

"Groupe Danone has filed this US-based complaint to put a stop to the defendants' collective scheme to wrongfully interfere with its customer relationships and business prospects,'' the company said.

"Our objective is to stop the illegal production and sales of products using the Wahaha suppliers and distributors and under Wahaha brands," Danone said.

A spokesperson for Danone told just-food that the group was continuing to work towards an out-of-court settlement. "We are in ongoing talks with Wahaha," the spokesperson said.