Popular wineries in the state of California might be poisoning the consumers. A lawsuit has been filed alleging excessive and harmful amounts of arsenic in certain leading wine brands and this has taken wine lovers by surprise. It has been accepted that arsenic is normally found in the ecosystem and low levels would be detected in several white wines. While upscale wine makers use egg whites to balance and refine their wine, it is said that the second-rate wineries favor the use of a form of clay named bentonite. Many say that the arsenic traced in wine is most likely due to the usage of bentonite.
The accusers in the lawsuit against the wineries are four different people from Southern California who claim to have independently tested approximately 1,300 bottles of wine. They filed the lawsuit Thursday at the Los Angeles Superior Court. The outcome of their testing claims that 83 out of the 1,300 bottles that were tested had dangerously high levels of arsenic, a toxic chemical that is extremely lethal. The 28 California wineries named in the lawsuit sell thrifty wines costing $10 or less and were bottled under 31 various brand labels.
A few of the brands accused in the lawsuit are extremely popular among wine lovers. These brands are White Zinfandel, Franzia, Sauvignon Blanc, Sutter Home, Moscato, Beringer, Pinot Grigio, and Korbel. The claimants are pursuing a status of class-action and also want everyone who purchased these brands within January 1, 2011 and present-day to be reimbursed. Winning the case would entitle each Californian, who bought wine listed in the lawsuit in the last few years, to be qualified and counted in the class-action suit. No monetary value has been specified yet.
The prosecuting lead attorney, Brian Kabateck, has stated that the high level of arsenic was initially discovered during examinations executed by Kevin Hicks, executive in charge at Beverage Grades laboratory, Denver, a business that analyzes the quality of liquor. Hicks stated that many of the wines that were tested contained alarmingly elevated levels of unnatural arsenic to an extent of 500 percent or higher than what is the advised everyday consumption limit. He therefore claims that popular wineries in California could be potentially poisoning the consumers.
Hicks also believes that one or two glasses of wine contaminated with arsenic each day over a period of time could lead the consumer into developing arsenic poisoning. Excessive amounts of arsenic is believed to increase the chances of the consumers contracting cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, respiratory illness, and cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Kabateck reported that testing at two different labs confirmed Beverage Grades’ conclusion.
Wine producers say that the lawsuit is a lawful angle to hurt the industry for competitive wine makers and wholesalers. They are determined to dispute the lawsuit as the Wine Institute declares the lawsuit to be made up and deceptive. As of now not one of the wine brands implicated in the lawsuit has been taken down from store shelves.
California laws do not require wine labels to detail what goes into a bottle of wine. However, the level of arsenic in water is highly regulated. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safety restriction for arsenic in drinking water is ten parts per billion as grounds for everyday intake limit. This is the level that the lawsuit is using to compare the wine levels against and is claiming that popular California wineries are potentially poisoning the consumers.
By Ankur Sinha
The American Register