ARSENIC - Denver company's tests on wine triggers lawsuit

Denver company’s tests on wine triggers lawsuit

A lawsuit is expected to be filed in California today over the amount of arsenic in some of the best-selling wines in the country.

CBS News reports laboratory testing by Denver’s BeverageGrades found some wines have as much as five times the maximum level of arsenic the Environmental Protection Agency allows for drinking water…

Hmmm…interesting. It is pretty unlikely that they’ll win. I presume they’re using 10 micrograms/L as the water limit. Yet the International Organisation of Vine and Wine’s (OIV) maximum residue limit for arsenic in wine is 200 mcg/L. The US is not an OIV member, but still, as an international standard it should carry weight in a US court given that the US does not have its own limits for wine.

Arsenic in water, wine, food, is well known and fairly well documented in the scientific literature and regulatory documents (e.g., Codex Alimentarius). The real scandal is that limits are high. I’d be more worried about arsenic in grape juice and apple juice and the exposure for kids, as these levels tend to be as high or higher than wine.

Almost sure that this deals with lower-end wines made from inexpensive San Joaquin Valley fruit. That area has had issues for many years with elevated levels of arsenic in the soil and groundwater, as well as nitrates and other substances. It’s a significant health concern for those who live in the area and depend on groundwater sources for their drinking water.

I would not think that the OIV sets legal standards for permissible levels of carcinogens (in this case arsenic) in courts of law the USA when our own government sets maximum levels in water.

You drink more water than wine. Well, hopefully, or arsenic may not be your biggest issue. So, countries and organizations that have set standards for levels in wine have tended to set them higher than standards for drinking water.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to identify and mitigate sources of arsenic, just as was previously done for lead.


The article did not note the levels recorded. When the limits for water are set it is based upon long term exposure and large quantities, much greater than the volume of wine most of us consume. Also keep in mind that the current limit is 10 parts per billion but up until 2006 the acceptable level was 50 ppb.

They supposedly measured levels up to 50 ppb. Apparently, Canada has a standard for arsenic in wine of 100 ppb.


Another great reason to tell the wife why our wine budget is so high!

More detailed article: Lawsuit claims high levels of arsenic found in some California-made wines - CBS News

Why does this not surprise me?

IMO, The arsenic story is totally missing the larger issue of the what the hell is going on with the CA water supply. It’s a shame that a story about ‘poisoned’ wine is more news worthy than the long term impact of drought and unsustainable agricultural practices. Boogles the mind…

Also important to note, cheap wine will kill ya.

Anyone have a complete list of all the wines affected?

Wine Spectator listed these.

The lawsuit names several large companies, including TWG, Treasury Wine Estates, Trinchero, Fetzer Vineyards and Bronco, following claims that a Denver laboratory found inorganic arsenic in 83 brands, including Franzia, Sutter Home, Concannon, Wine Cube, Beringer, Flipflop, Fetzer, Korbel, Almaden, Trapiche, Cupcake, Smoking Loon and Charles Shaw.

“Almost all of them are $10 or less, and the vast majority of those are under $5,” said lawyer Brian Kabateck, whose firm is one of three bringing the suit, at a press conference today after the complaint was filed in the Superior Court of California’s Los Angeles branch. “The consumer may be spending less than $5 for a bottle of wine, but they may be paying with their health in the long run. These are very serious allegations that we’re raising against the wine industry.”

I wonder whether the bureaucrats at the EPA expect to receive laundered kickbacks on the profits from these lawsuits?

That was the scam for which they nailed Sheldon Silver and his cousins up at Columbia Medical School.

That is only a few of the 83. Didn’t know if they listed them all somewhere…

For those who are interested, here is the complete list of the 83 wines.

Berserkers, how many of these do you have in your cellar that were given to you as a gift?

I have one.

Article today from Blake Gray with the other side of the story:
Scaremongers Spark Fear Over Arsenic in Wine

From this and a couple of other things I’ve ready, it doesn’t seem like this would be a significant issue for wine consumers - and certainly not with the wines that Berserkers tend to drink. But as mentioned above, arsenic and nitrates remain an issue in drinking water for some in the San Joaquin Valley, including many lower-income farmworkers.

The only one of those I have tasted in the last month is Acronym, which is notable only in not being an acronym, kind of the opposite of NBI. The wine, and I use the term loosely, resembled Apothic Red, but done with cheaper material. One sip, one spit at a supermarket wine tasting. I don’t think I was poisoned. I was also given a box of Bandit, but I “accidentally” left it unopened at a place we were staying.

P Hickner


Consumer Reports wrote recently that a lot of rice from Texas has very high levels of arsenic, presumably for the same reason (quality of irrigation water). The California rices they tested didn’t show particularly high levels.