Poisonous Wine Lawsuit Filed: Check Your Fridge For These Popular Brands

A poisonous wine class action lawsuit was filed yesterday against many popular inexpensive wine brands. According to the lawsuit, the wines contain “dangerously high levels” of poisonous inorganic arsenic.

The wines alleged in the lawsuit as poisonous include Franzia, Menage a Trois, Sutter Home, Wine Cube, Charles Shaw, Glen Ellen, Cupcake, Beringer, Flipflop, Smoking Loon, and Vendage. According to the class action lawsuit, not all varieties of the wines are considered poisonous. The arsenic was primarily found in “inexpensive white or blush varieties, including Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.”

The lawsuit alleges that the arsenic levels in the wine are 500 times greater than what is deemed an acceptable level. Prolonged ingestion of that much arsenic is known to lead to various types of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The lawsuit against the alleged poisonous wines was filed yesterday in California by plaintiffs Doris Charles, Alvin Jones, Jason Peltier, and Jennifer Peltier. According to their complaint to Los Angeles Superior Court, dozens of wineries in California have been violating California consumer laws by knowingly manufacturing, marketing and selling arsenic-laced (poisonous) wine. The plaintiffs also maintain that the wineries have failed to notify consumers about the deadly dangers. An unspecified amount of damages is included in the class action suit in addition to a court order that would mandate all of the wineries to correct their illegal practices.

An attorney for the plaintiffs spoke about the lawsuit.

“These wineries have long known about the serious health risks their products pose to customers. Yet instead of reducing the exposure to acceptable levels, the defendants recklessly engage in a pattern and practice of selling arsenic-tainted wine to California consumers.”

A spokesman for The Wine Group, (TWG), one of the defendants in the case, told Wine Spectator that the lawsuit is frivolous.

“[The plaintiffs] decided to file a complaint based on misleading and selective information in order to defame responsible California winemakers, create unnecessary fear, and distort and deceive the public for their own financial gain.”

According to the lawsuit, the wines involved in the complaint were all tested by an independent lab in Colorado.

Nancy Light, a spokeswoman for The Wine Institute, said that the lawsuit is based on the same EPA guidelines that are used for water. She says those guidelines shouldn’t be used for wine because people don’t drink as much wine as water.

“There are no [EPA] limits for other foods and beverages – including wine – because they’re not consumed at the same level as water and not deemed to be a risk. There is no research that shows that the amount of arsenic in wine poses any health risks to consumers.”

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]