A class action lawsuit filed March 19 claims dozens of California wineries are guilty of having dangerously high levels of arsenic in their wines.
The brands -- which include Sutter Home, Charles Shaw and Beringer -- stand accused of "knowingly producing, marketing and selling arsenic-contaminated wine and failing to warn consumers about the potential danger," according to CBS Los Angeles.
The lawsuit claims that the wines have "up to 500 percent or more [arsenic] than what is considered the maximum acceptable safe daily intake limit," according to the news station.
Testing of the wines was conducted by BeverageGrades labs, an independent, third-party testing laboratory which seeks to test the quality and content of wines and spirits. After testing over 1,300 wines, they discovered more than 80 had dangerously high levels of arsenic.
Wines such as Franzia White Grenache, Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck White Zinfandel, and Menage a Trois Moscato contained between three and five times the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water by the EPA.
The plaintiffs are now looking to claim damages from the wineries.
“These wineries have long known about the serious health risks their products pose to customers,” prosecuting attorney Brian Kabateck said. “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.”
Trader Joe’s has since released a statement to address the issue, saying: “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.”
Arsenic is a chemical element commonly used to strengthen alloys of copper and lead. It is also used in insecticides and other poisons. Exposure to arsenic is considered highly dangerous.