I recently wrote a post comparing different cod liver oil brands. In this post, I explain why I don't recommend Dropi cod liver oil. Touted as one of the only raw cod liver oils on the market (along with Rosita EVCLO, extra virgin cod liver oil,) Dropi says their cod liver oil is raw and not heated and not industrially processed.
Sounds great, right? I was very interested in learning more about Dropi cod liver oil. But upon further inspection, I'm still not satisfied with the information I found. In this post, I talk about my investigation of Dropi cod liver oil, and why I don't recommend the product.
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Why I Don't Recommend Dropi Cod Liver Oil
As I said in my previous post comparing cod liver oil brands, before I can recommend Dropi cod liver oil, I would need to know more about the sourcing of the fish, the processing and manufacturing, and the testing.
In this post, I'll talk about the outstanding questions I have for Dropi. They are not difficult questions. It's possible that Dropi may be able to answer them… but I'm still waiting.
Dropi's Lack of Transparency
After I wrote my post comparing the cod liver oil brands, I sent an email to Dropi with my questions. And they emailed me back, but they didn't really answer my questions.
So I emailed my questions again. And they wrote back, still not answering my questions.
So I emailed again. And they emailed back, still not answering my questions.
For nearly a month, we emailed back and forth. I counted 28 emails in my inbox. I spoke to the US Distributor of Dropi, the CEO of Dropi in Iceland, and the Managing Director of the company that did the R&D (research and development) of the product.
I am still waiting for answers to my questions.
I could post all the email threads here, but honestly, I get a headache reading them. If you want to try to wade through them, let me know and I'll post them in their entirety (the cod liver oil version of Wikileaks? ;-) ).
Here's just a snippet of the most recent communication with 4 people on the chain… none of these questions were answered and it's been over a week…
Questions for Dropi Cod Liver Oil
I asked a lot of questions, and many of my questions were answered to my satisfaction. But there are still some outstanding questions that have not been answered…
I am going to do my best in this post to condense the back and forth via email to make it easier for you guys to absorb.
How is Dropi Cod Liver Oil Produced?
When I first emailed Dropi, I asked how the cod liver oil is produced. As far as I knew Rosita was the only company making raw cod liver oil by not heating it to extract the livers.
I got this email back from the Dropi team in Iceland, which was forwarded to me from the US distributor:
Just as Rosita we produce our oil Dropi this way… “Immediately after extraction, the oil is very lightly filtered, with the help of gravity only, at low temperatures. This simply removes particles of liver tissue, without refining the oil in any way. In contrast, conventional procedures remove many of the healthy fat soluble compounds, and therefore affect the nutritional quality of the oil.
Tiny amounts of the plant Rosemary and full spectrum natural (GMO-free) vitamin E (not isolated vitamin E) are added to maintain the freshness. The oil is then bottled in amber glass to extend its shelf life and freshness by protecting it against light deterioration.”
OK… so he is quoting Rosita. They're saying the oil is made in a similar fashion to Rosita EVCLO. So is it the SAME as Rosita or is it different in some way?
I asked more questions and heard back from the CEO of Dropi:
I have the feeling that it might be hard to grasp the idea of how it’s maid for there is no production so to speak, no processing or machines involved as in industrial production. It’s basically hand maid and just few hours after the boat delivers the cod fish we have oil. the liver is grinded and that’s almost it. The way the sterin is taken out is by special cooling formula where gradually the oil is chilled in steps so the sterin crystalizes and sinks to the bottom of the tank. So you will find Dropi cod liver oil almost totally without sterin and clear and beautiful.
(Keep in mind English is not his first language so there are grammatical and spelling errors.)
I responded, asking:
Can you please give me more information on how the oil is extracted from livers? Is it the same method as Rosita?
We do not have exact information how Rosita extracts the oil, but we are both from the same Vikings that learned how to extract oil from cod liver so I assume we are using similar methods. But we make sure not to throw anything away or as little as possible therefore we use a little higher heat 42°c. no chemicals used.
I also asked:
Can you tell me about the manufacturing plant where this is done? How is the oil protected from oxidizing? Are there low-light conditions? Is the oxygen removed from the bottle?
The plant is on the corner of the dock 100 feet’s from where the fishing boats deliver their catch. This in in the town of Bolungarvik, Iceland where we have no big industry and the next town is basically in Greenland. The liver is placed in closed containers where there is no light and we prevent oxidizing the oil by nitrogen that bows the air out of the containers. The bottling is equipped with nitrogen blow and the capsules also. This is the only way to get sufficient shelf live and stay alive.
OK… so they say they're using a similar method to Rosita but it's not the same… but they don't know enough about how Rosita extracts the oil in order to tell me what the difference is.
The only problem with this is that we do know how Rosita does it.
In fact, if you visit Rosita's YouTube channel, they have a few different videos that go into great detail about how they produce their extra virgin cod liver oil.
I guess maybe Dropi never saw these videos… but there's also this image that has been out for at least a year, maybe longer?
Maybe Dropi needs to work on some better marketing materials. Looks like they spent a lot of time and energy on their logo, their packaging design and their website.
I'd like to see more transparency here. If they are the only other company on the planet (besides Rosita) manufacturing a raw, unheated, “extra-virgin” cod liver oil, we need more details on how they do it.
Where is Dropi Cod Liver Oil Produced? Where is the Manufacturing Plant?
More emails back and forth… and finally I made a long list of all my outstanding questions and got an email back from Dr. Ragnar Jóhannsson. I'm not sure what his title is but as far as I can tell he works for Matís, which is the company that did the R & D (research and development) for Dropi.
Matis is located in Reykjavík, Iceland, which is located 5-6 hours away from Bolungarvik, which is where they said Dropi's manufacturing plant is.
The guy who works at Matís, Dr. Jóhannsson, is the one who seems to know all the answers about the production. So is the Dropi cod liver oil manufactured 100 feet from the fishing boats? Or is it manufactured in Reykjavík at Matís?
We don't know. They haven't answered.
Dr. Jóhannsson also told me that the oil is encapsulated “in Europe”. He was not more specific than that. When I asked him, “Where in Europe?”
I didn't get an answer back.
This is important because of the whole “boat to bottle” issue. I asked Jóhannsson how long it takes to get from boat to bottle — he didn't answer.
How Are Contaminants Removed from Dropi Cod Liver Oil?
Another question I never got an answer to.
I asked, “How do you remove the contaminants from the oil if it is not heated via distillation?”
Dr. Jóhannsson said, “Answer: We remove contaminants with methods approved by Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority. A sample is sent for measurements of dioxin and dioxin-like PCB at Eurofins lab in Germany prior to packaging.”
When I asked him to elaborate on how they do it, I got no response.
Who Is The Management Team? Who Oversees Production?
This goes back to where and how the product is manufactured. Who is overseeing everything?
We don't know — I never heard back on this.
Is Dropi Cod Liver Oil Industrially Processed?
I did get some answers to this question, but I still don't have enough information to feel comfortable. When I asked if the product was winterized, they said it was not. But then the process they described sounded like winterization.
So I tested the product by putting it in the fridge. You can watch my Livestream videos on Facebook — check out the top playlist: Is Your Cod Liver Oil Fake?
Here's the video with the reveal. Lo and behold, it definitely looked like a winterized product.
Then Dropi wrote back and said, yes it is winterized but it's not industrially processed in other ways.
They said the winterization doesn't impact the vitamins much, but Rosita says otherwise. They say “winterization removes a ton of natural essential fatty acids and nutrients from your cod liver oil.”
Whom should we believe? Is Dropi cod liver oil equivalent to Rosita EVCLO? Can we trust that Dropi is a quality product?
I trust Rosita. Why? Because they've been totally transparent. They're product is not winterized or industrially processed in any way.
If Dropi gets back to me with answers regarding any of the above questions, I'll update this post.
In the meantime, I still recommend one cod liver oil and one only: Rosita EVCLO.
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