What you need to know: California Wine & Arsenic

What you need to know: California Wine & Arsenic

Over the past week there has been significant media related to litigation in California that alleges dangerous levels of arsenic in wine. This has raised questions and concerns regarding the safety of California wine and wine in general.

Below is an Announcement from one of our main suppliers Global Vintners:

“All of the products we produce adhere to strict quality control guidelines. Please be assured that we take all issues such as this very seriously and test and monitor our products on an ongoing basis to ensure we continue to meet and exceed health and safety standards.
To assist in your understanding of the allegations surrounding arsenic in wine we have provided a fact sheet released by the Canadian Vintners Association below as well as links to two online articles from Forbes and The Salt for your reference. If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this issue please contact your GVI Account Manager.
The Salt: Arsenic In California Wines: Should Drinkers Be Concerned?
Forbes: Arsenic And California Wine: Do You Need To Worry?
Canadian Vintners Association
Fact Sheet on Arsenic
March 24, 2015
  • The U.S. lawsuit claims that certain California wines contain unsafe levels of arsenic based on the limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for drinking water – 10 parts per billion (ppb). The U.S. Government has not published a limit for arsenic in wine; however, the Organization for Vine and Wine (OIV), South Africa, Chile, European Union and Georgia have set a maximum allowable arsenic level in wine at 200 parts per billion (ppb).
  • In Canada, the Food and Drug Regulations specifies a tolerance limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic in fruit juice, fruit nectar and beverages when ready-to-serve, and water in sealed containers, other than mineral or spring water. Arsenic concentrations above 100 parts per billion (ppb) in these beverages, including wine, are considered to be adulterated and therefore cannot be sold in Canada.
  • When the Canadian government considers limits for arsenic in food and beverages, they take into account how much of that food or beverage an average person may consume in a day and the age of people who likely consume that food/beverage.
  • Daily intake levels for water are significantly higher than for wine, and the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality has set the tolerance for arsenic at 10 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. The risks from potential exposure to arsenic in wine are substantially lower than the risks that Health Canada considers safe for drinking water.
  • In support of moderation, Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommends that wine consumption be limited to no more than 2 drinks2per day for women and 3 drinks per day for men on most days. Low risk drinking supports healthy lifestyles and reduces any potential exposure to regulated arsenic levels in wine across Canada.
  • Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the environment, and as an agricultural product, trace amounts may be found in wine. Health Canada and Canadian liquor control boards regularly test wine for harmful compounds. For example, over the past year, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) tested 11,900 wines for arsenic and ensures that all wines offered for sale are below Canada’s maximum allowable limit for arsenic and safe to consume. ”                                                              

For the purpose of the tolerance, “ready‐to‐serve” means ready to consume, whether purchased as such or prepared from a concentrated product as per the package directions 2 Glass of wine = 142ml (5 oz.) with 12% alcohol content

Source: Cork it Blog


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