As many of California’s largest wine producers are taken to task over arsenic levels in their wine, BeverageGrades offers retailers a model to reassure consumers of product purity
DENVER – March 19, 2015 – Following today’s “CBS This Morning” broadcast, consumers learned some of their favorite wines are contaminated with arsenic in levels above regulatory standards. CBS News Correspondent Carter Evans interviewed Kevin Hicks, CEO of alcoholic beverage testing company BeverageGrades, who explained that the independent lab recently discovered levels of arsenic above the EPA accepted drinking water threshold of 10 parts per billion in nearly 23 percent of the more than 1,300 wines it has tested so far.
As consumers continue to demand greater transparency about what they put in their bodies, demonstrated in the expansive growth of organic brands, non-GMO products and natural grocery stores, BeverageGrades offers alcoholic beverage retailers a tool for screening their offerings to ensure the quality of their supply chain. A number of the wines named in the class action complaint filed today in California (explored by “CBS This Morning”) are private label or control brands offered exclusively in certain retail locations. BeverageGrades believes that retailers need a screening and certification model that allows them to assure their customers of the purity of all of the alcoholic beverages they sell, and particularly their control or private label brands.
According to the “CBS This Morning” report, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s said, “The concerns raised in your inquiry are serious and are being treated as such. We are investigating the matter with several of our wine producing suppliers.” Trader Joe’s is the exclusive retailer for Charles Shaw wines, or “Two Buck Chuck.” Two Buck Chuck White Zinfandel is named in the suit.
BeverageGrades provides comprehensive health and nutritional information for alcoholic beverages via testing in its independent, state-of-the-art lab, using methodology developed by the American Organization of Analytical Chemists. BeverageGrades offers two health panels for screening products for the presence of contaminants in levels that exceed regulatory standards; these include heavy metals in one panel, and pesticides in in the other. The company offers an A+ BeverageGrades Certification to specific products that fall below certain regulatory thresholds in panels of heavy metals and pesticides. BeverageGrades also offers a nutrition panel measuring quantities of calories, sugar, carbohydrates, antioxidants, sulfites, vitamins, gluten and many flavor compounds in alcoholic beverages. This panel is designed to help consumers identify beverages they love with low calories, sulfites or sugars, as well as beverages high in antioxidants or histamines, among other results.
“Not only do consumers care about calories and sugar, they want to know that the alcoholic beverages they purchase do not contain levels of heavy metals or pesticides that exceed regulatory standards,” Hicks says. “Our BeverageGrades A+ Certification provides consumers with the assurance they are seeking.”
As the regulatory framework evolves, Hicks believes that more states are likely to move in the direction of California’s Proposition 65, which requires California businesses to notify consumers when there are significant amounts of harmful chemicals in the products they sell, so consumers may make informed purchasing decisions.
“Our goal is to be the beverage industry’s top resource for analytical product information, so producers are able to remain in compliance with regulatory provisions, and maintain consumer trust.”
Prior to launching BeverageGrades, Hicks founded HealthGrades, pioneering the practice of providing consumers with accurate, objective information – in this case, about the performance of hospitals, clinics and physicians. Today HealthGrades is the most visited healthcare website online.
BeverageGrades® aspires to be a leading resource for health and nutritional information as it relates to alcoholic beverages. BeverageGrades works with retailers and producers to assure consumers regarding the purity of the alcoholic beverages they purchase by screening products prior to bottling against the BeverageGrades heavy metal and pesticide panels. Additionally, BeverageGrades offers a nutrition panel that analyzes alcoholic beverages for other components of interest for consumers, such as sugars, sulfates and calories. By providing consumers with nutritional data, as well as third party alcoholic beverage certification, BeverageGrades adds value throughout the supply chain, from producers, to retailers, to consumers. For more information, visit www.BeverageGrades.com