Dangerous levels of arsenic found in low-priced brands of California wine, lawsuit alleges

Associated Press

More than two dozen California vintners are facing a lawsuit claiming their wines contain dangerously high levels of arsenic.

The industry group Wine Institute dismissed the allegations as "false and misleading."

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The lawsuit names numerous low-priced wines, including popular brands such as Franzia, Mogen David and Almaden.

It says tests by three independent laboratories found arsenic levels that in some cases were 500 percent higher than what's considered safe.

The complaint was filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of three San Diego residents and a Los Angeles man. It seeks class-action status.

The plaintiffs want unspecified punitive damages and a stop to the production of arsenic-tainted wine.

Arsenic occurs naturally in the air, soil and water in small amounts. In larger amounts, it can be deadly.