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Wine Spectator: California Court Dismisses Arsenic Lawsuit Against Wineries

March 24, 2016

For over a year now, some of California’s biggest wine producers stood accused of “poisoning” consumers with excessive levels of arsenic in 83 wine brands. Yesterday, a judge in California’s Superior Court in Los Angeles dismissed the case.

The hearing was in response to the plaintiffs’ supplemental filing alleging that the wineries were in violation of California labeling laws by not disclosing the presence of arsenic, per a series of regulations known as “Prop. 65.” The wineries argued that their current labels, which warn about the dangers of alcohol, meet the law’s requirements since there has been no government ruling that the trace levels of arsenic found in wine pose a health risk.

“The wine producers correctly argue that their existing Prop. 65 warnings comply with the Prop. 65 regulatory program,” wrote Judge John Shepard Wiley in his decision.

“The well-being of our consumers has always been our top priority,” Megghen Driscol, a representative for defendant Treasury Wine Estates, told Wine Spectator. “So we are delighted that the Los Angeles Superior Court has confirmed that the plaintiffs’ claims of ‘failure to warn of trace levels of arsenic in wine’ have no legal merit and was—quite frankly—absurd.”

The California Wine Institute issued a statement calling the suit “an unfounded claim that trace amounts of arsenic in wine pose a health threat to consumers.” Wine Spectator has the full story.

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