Home Wine Business Editorial How Real Is the Danger of Arsenic Poisoning from Wine?

How Real Is the Danger of Arsenic Poisoning from Wine?


OpinionThursday morning CBS News broke the story about high levels of arsenic in top-selling wines and the ensuing class action lawsuit filed against 24 California winemakers. The levels of arsenic in the tested wines were compared with the EPA’s limits for drinking water, because there is no standard for arsenic in wine in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Wine Industry Advisor and other industry media received a press release from the suing company BeverageGrades offering wine retailers their services to deal with the arsenic problem.

However, the Wine Institute in a statement refuted that the levels of arsenic found in the California wines are a problem, in fact, they are well below the limits set by both Canada and the European Union for wine. And it doesn’t appear to be because Europeans and Canadians are more tolerant of arsenic, because they have the same high standard for arsenic in drinking water as the U.S.

The regulations on arsenic in drinking water in the Canada, EU, and U.S. are largely based on the recommendations set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO), who calculate their guidelines by tolerable daily intake of the carcinogenic compound. And as a spokesperson for The Wine Group points out to CBS News, “’It would not be accurate or responsible to use the water standard as the baseline’ because people generally drink more water than wine.”

It might even be fair to assume that if people drank the same amount of wine that the WHO assumes an average person drinks of water. The level of arsenic would be the least of the health worries.

by Kim Johannsen

Previous articleHALL & Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer Introduce a Special Hop-Up During Arts in April in the Napa Valley on Sunday, 4/19
Next articleAfternoon Brief, March 19


  1. More BS just like the wines aged in ocean. You want to eat the fish form the same place? Way more of the toxins there I’m sure. In this case rice averages at 5mcg per servings amounts to over 100ppb of arsenic in its bas inorganic form the worst. You ever see how some people eat rice>??? This amounts to over twice the level for the worst of Bronco’s wines. Getting tired of attacks on business that are motivated by less than admirable reasons.

  2. I am blown away with this new’s about arsenic in our Wines,seem’s all myfavorites are listed in the Suit. I have a box of Franzia in my Fridge right now, don’t know if I should drink it. Terrible thing While they are getting rich some us could be dying??

  3. Donna, This is just a scam to use the legal system to extort money from large corporate wineries. I have small winery and have no real love for the huge corporate wineries and do not believe any wine you are going to get from them is going to have too much arsenic. Worldwide the Canadians have the low level for Arsenic levels and they are at 100ppb over twice what any of these wines had. Also, in their testing last year of over 1300 wines they had none exceed that. The EU and most countries that even bother to have a limit it is at 200ppb. I’ve since found out that rice really has an average of 150 to 250ppb of inorganic arsenic, and little kids eat that. It is all nonsense. You should be skeptical of all the fear based public outcries as the vast majority are just attempts at someone trying to promote a frivolous lawsuit against someone for profit or to promote their pet political views that have little basis in any science.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.