Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Dangerously High Arsenic Levels in Some Wines

03/09/2017 | Class Actions/Mass Torts

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California against winemakers alleging their wines contain high levels of arsenic, some up to four and five times the maximum allowed by the EPA for drinking water.  There is no labeling requirement to tell consumers what is really in wine and  the class action lawsuit alleges winemakers are misrepresenting their wine is safe when it contains such high arsenic levels.  Plaintiffs allege there was a failure to warn of the dangerously high arsenic levels.  The suit names 28 companies that represents 83 low-cost wine labels. 

California law requires businesses to warn consumers if their products contain a chemical known to cause cancer.  California’s threshold for arsenic is 10 parts per billion, the same as the EPA’s water standard.  The FDA does not specifically regulate wine or require specific contents to be stated on wine labels.

The FDA has, however, voiced concerns recently over inorganic arsenic levels in rice and specifically, infant rice cereal.  The FDA is proposing a 100 parts per billion limit on inorganic arsenic in infant cereals.  Concerns also involve levels in apple juice and other rice-containing foods and products.  The FDA is studying long-term exposures to arsenic levels in rice, as rice is an important food staple in the world.