March 18, 2015
WINE INSTITUTE STATEMENT ON
POSSIBLE ARSENIC LITIGATION
As the association of 1,000 California wineries, Wine Institute is concerned with the health and safety of consumers who enjoy wine.
We have learned of possible litigation alleging that certain wines pose a risk to consumers because they contain trace amounts of arsenic. Although we are not privy to the contents of the litigation, we believe this allegation is false and misleading and that all wines being sold in the U.S marketplace are safe.
Arsenic is prevalent in the natural environment in air, soil and water, and in food. As an agricultural product, wines from California and throughout the world contain trace amounts of arsenic as do juices, vegetables, grains and other alcohol beverages. There is no research that shows that the amounts found in wine pose a health risk to consumers.
The U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the agency that regulates wine, beer and spirits, monitors wines for compounds, including arsenic, as part of its testing program. While there are no established limits in the U.S., several countries, including the European Union, have established limits of 100 parts per billion or higher for wine. California wine exports are tested by these governments and are below the established limits.
We are concerned that the irresponsible publicity campaign by the litigating party will scare the public into thinking that wine is not safe to consume which is patently untrue. We will continue to keep consumers, the media and industry informed.