Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal: Dr. Rudi Moerck, Leading Fish Oil Expert on Rancidity

FCLO Dr Rudi Moerck

This is the seventh video in the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal interview series.

Dr. Rudi Moerck, President and CEO of nutraceutical company, Valensa International. Dr. Moerck holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry and is one of the world's leading experts on marine oils and omega 3 fats (scroll down for his bio).

He joins us today to talk to us about the history of fermented cod liver oil. He explains how cod liver oil was traditionally made in barrels in rural communities in Norway. He answers the question, “Is this method of production safe?”

Dr. Rudi explains the health hazards of rancid oil, including cancer and heart disease. He outlines what causes fish oils and other PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) to oxidize or go rancid. He talks about what it would take to use the “old method” of fermenting cod livers to make cod liver oil in a safe way that would prevent rancidity and produce a product that is safe for human consumption.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal: Video Interview with Dr. Rudi Moerck

About Dr. Rudi Moerck

Dr. Rudi Moerck is the President and CEO of Valensa International, a nutraceutical company which he has run for almost a decade. Prior to that, Dr. Moerck worked for pharmaceutical companies and chemical companies for over 30 years. He holds a B.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.

Dr. Rudi Moerck's resume on Linked In

Click here to download Dr. Daniel's free report: Hook, Line & Stinker: Hook, Line and Stinker!: The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Questionable Information on the Green Pasture Products FAQ Page

I've spent some time looking at the Green Pasture Products FAQ page. I noticed some interesting things, and some changes to the page that occurred after Dr. Kaayla Daniel's whistleblower report was published in late August, 2015.

Here are some things I observed on the Green Pastures FAQ (with some comparisons to their old FAQ, and other cod liver oil companies' FAQ pages (note: click on the images below to increase the size of the images):

1. “Solar Activation” or Exposure to Sunlight

Prior to Kaayla Daniel's whistleblower report, the Green Pasture FAQ page said that they exposed their cod liver oil to sunlight.

Quote:

Do you solar activate your oils as Dr. Price did early in the 20th century?

We solar activate all our products as Dr Weston A Price did. Solar activation is simply exposing the product to the sun. Our Plant is a solar plant and we ensure that all our oils are exposed the the sun, moon and stars.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 8.28.53 AM

Source: Green Pasture Products FAQ Page from August 9, 2015 (viewable via the Wayback Machine, or archive.org)

Some time after the report was published (published on Aug. 23, 2015), the Green Pasture FAQ page was changed to say that they do NOT expose their oil to sunlight.

Do you solar activate your oils as Dr. Price did early in the 20th century?

Our plant is exposed the sun but this does not equate to solar activation as Dr. Price discusses. Dr. Price had a specific protocol and definition for the term solar activation and it does not occur unless uv rays are directly exposed to the products. In our plant the products are not exposed to solar uv.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 8.23.32 AM

Source: Green Pasture Products FAQ Page Today

I find this very suspicious. Why change the FAQ? Is the oil exposed to sunlight or not? As Dr. Rudi explains in the video interview, (paraphrase) “if the oil is exposed to sunlight, it is definitely rancid”.

We need David Wetzel to shed some light (pardon the pun) on this and show us how his oil is produced. Is the oil exposed to the “sun, moon and stars” as he has said on his website for nearly a decade, or is it not?

2. No Antioxidants Added

Green Pastures says they don't add an antioxidant. They say they used to, but then they stopped. As you will hear in the video interview with Dr. Moerck, he says adding an antioxidant slows the PUFA from going rancid. This is a common practice to help protect fish oils from rancidity.

Archie Welch also said in his video interview that Rosita does add an antioxidant to their EVCLO cod liver oil. Many other companies do this as well, such as Nordic Naturals.

Here is what Nordic Naturals says on their FAQ about why they add antioxidants to their cod liver oil:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.02.44 AM

Here is what Rosita/Corganic says on their FAQ about their EVCLO:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.05.13 AM

Here is the explanation on the Green Pastures FAQ as to why they do not add antioxidants to the FCLO:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.06.58 AM

If you read what Wetzel says, he claims:

Studied stability of the product through peroxide study. The product is stable. Zero Benefit to added anti-oxidants

If he is talking about the rancidity markers in the lab tests, this makes sense. Dr. Rudi explained in the video, just as Dr. Kaayla Daniel did in her report, that the rancidity markers go up when the oil first starts to go rancid, and then, as it becomes more rancid, those numbers actually go down. So in that case, he wouldn't have seen a change in the markers.

3. How to Store Fermented Cod Liver Oil

In the video, I told Dr. Rudi that Dave Wetzel told me that I could store the FCLO in my cupboard (no refrigeration necessary) for 6 months to a year.

Dr. Rudi said the notion of storing cod liver oil in the cupboard is “ridiculous” and said it should always be refrigerated, and it will stay fresh in the fridge for a limited amount of time. This is what it says on the FAQs of other cod liver oil and fish oil companies as well. Refrigeration slows oxidation or rancidity.

On the Green Pastures FAQ, it says:

How do I store cod liver oil?

Refrigerate, cupboard or freezer. Some lots become solid when at refrigerated temperatures.

Cupboard. And no information about how long it lasts.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 8.32.07 AM

4. Dosage Recommendations

There is a video featuring WAPF board member, Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist blog on the Green Pasture FAQ page. In Sarah's video, she says that she takes 1 teaspoon of the FCLO using “the big spoon”.

She says most people think this is a tablespoon, but it's actually a teaspoon. In fact, that is a tablespoon. I measured a few different sets of flatware and the bigger spoon always measured one tablespoon. It is the smaller spoon that is a teaspoon.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 8.46.22 AM

So Sarah Pope, if she's following her own advice, has been taking one tablespoon daily for a long time.

I bring this up because when Sarah blogged about her reaction to Dr. Kaayla Daniel's whistle blower report back in August, she blamed Dr. Ron Schmid for “extreme behavior” and “poor judgement”.

Quote:

Such extreme behavior that few if any medical doctors would recommend is not the fault of a product, but rather the fault and poor judgment of the individual taking it. It also indicates a potential lack of objectivity in the report that is concerning.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.46.37 AM

This was later repeated in the official WAPF statement from Sally Fallon Morell:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.55.55 AM

This is very disingenuous on the part of the Weston A. Price Foundation, since their website also recommended up to 2 TABLESPOONS per day until… yep, you guessed it. They removed that page after the whistle blower report came out.

Weston A. Price Foundation cod liver oil page before the report (via archive.org):

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 10.05.32 AM

Weston A. Price Foundation cod liver oil page after the report:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.59.00 AM

Whoops! Page not found.

Is this suspicious to anyone else? They blamed Dr. Ron's heart disease on the fact that he “took too much” — and yet they themselves were recommending up to 2 tablespoons up until the report came out.

Just an error, you say? Maybe it was just that one page that had a typo? Unlikely, because I have heard from many, many people that they were told they could take up to 1-3 tablespoons per day by the WAPF.

To the WAPF, I say, if you made a mistake, own it. Don't just take the web page down and then blame someone who nearly died after following your recommendations. This makes me very angry, and I think we should all be outraged.

Check Back Tomorrow for Another Video in the Series

This is the seventh in a series of video interviews about the potential hazards of fermented cod liver oil.

Check back tomorrow for tomorrow's video!

Read More About The FCLO Scandal

To learn more about the history of the FCLO scandal and get my take on it, please read my post, My Take on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal.

Share Your Comments

Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

28 thoughts on “Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal: Dr. Rudi Moerck, Leading Fish Oil Expert on Rancidity

  1. The video of the interview isn’t coming up. Perhaps my computer took too much RPLO for too long! I warned it back in August whenever to stop following the WAPF recommendation of 1-2 tbs., but it must have been raiding the cupboard on the sly. Bad computer!

  2. Fine interview. His take on the production process that creates RPLO? Disgusting. He said it at least twice. We don’t have to visit the “plant” to be certain that GPP doesn’t use any purification process. That would cost real money, and methinks GPP would mention it on their website (maybe it will magically appear now!). Dr. Moerck has given us all we need to know about this crap being peddled as a “super food.” The latest WAPF journal “addresses” the scandal. Haven’t read it yet, but I have a pretty good idea what it says. Chris Masterjohn also has an article about Vitamin D. Probably about as useful as his rebuttal of Kaayla Daniel’s report.

    1. Yes, I have looked and I can’t find much information on the GPP website about purification… This is what they say on their FAQ:

      https://www.greenpasture.org/public/FAQ/#1

      Hi, I just ordered the Blue Ice FCLO. Although I am a bit concerned of any toxins and heavy metals in the oil. Arn’t livers the organ that the toxins can dwell in? Are there any contamination tests you do? Thank you so much!

      Hello

      No need for concern. The fish species in general (if wild) does not carry toxins as you describe. This subject arises once per year +/- , usually coinciding with a blogger who writes about the subject from a position of limited knowledge but scary overtones.

      Every lot is tested for PCB’s, metals etc… And every small run is tested three times for pathogens (standard food screens). Plus we direct other standard tests not required that we accumulate for understanding and discussion. All testing is done by third party labs as we do not have any in-house lab capabilities. The testing is done per FDA regulations for food safety and our products meet the requirements 100%+. The testing we do is beyond what you will typically find within the food industry.

      In all the years of testing I have never seen any issues in any cod liver oil… including other brand names. If you research contaminants and fish you will find that the Cod family is not one that is referenced as a risk. They traditionally do not find accumulated contaminants in Cod with one qualification; There is difference between farm raised and wild fish. All our fish are wild caught. The largest population of farmed raised cod/ salmon etc.. in the world is found in Norway.

      We do publish random test data on the web site. I do not always update this list so it is not always current. This does not mean that we do not test as this is standard procedure as described above, part of SSOP, GMP plus it is regulated by the FDA.

  3. The WAPF article on “Cod Liver Oil” that you mention above was A.) over a decade old, and (more importantly) B.) was not even about FCLO …in fact, the FCLO product did not even exist yet when that article was written.

    1. Perhaps you should read the linked article a little more thoroughly. You are correct that FCLO was not quite rancidified for the market yet but WAPF has definitely expressed that FCLO is indeed the high vitamin CLO of Price’s day and they say this in the article “If using high-vitamin cod liver oil, the limit would be 2 tablespoons.” And it was in the context of playing it safe in light of good evidence that pregnant women could take 30,000IU per day; they were talking about playing it safe if the pregnant women were concerned.

  4. Amanda,
    You make a good point about the age of the WAPF article on Cod Liver Oil written by Krispin Sullivan, which had a 2002 byline. However, that article was kept on the WAPF site until very recently, because I remember looking at it. If WAPF had changed their dosage recommendation, they should have inserted a warning to that effect at the top of the article. Furthermore, even though the article was written about CLO and not FCLO, have you seen any information from WAPF written prior to Kaayla’s report saying that a person should take lower doses of FCLO than what had been recommended for CLO?

    1. Yes it was up since 2002. That was one of the articles I and other bloggers used to reference frequently over the years.

      It it is strange that they took it down right after Kaayla’s report came out.

  5. I wish Ann Marie had asked Dr. Rudi more questions about testing. Such as: After CLO has become so rancid that it has polymerized, what kind of testing would reveal this? What would be the appropriate tests to run on the FCLO to show if it is toxic or not?

    1. He said that they look at these lab tests all the time – and when they see really low rancidity markers, it can mean the oil is really fresh or it can mean it’s BEYOND rancid. But nothing in between. Having taken FCLO, I know it’s NOT super fresh like the fresh EVCLO I now take. Now that is fresh.

      AND, when I left the FCLO in my cupboard for 6 months… it stayed the same in terms of taste, smell and color. If it wasn’t already rancid, shouldn’t we expect to see it get more rancid in the cupboard?

      Given the way the FCLO is produced — sitting in vats for 6 months, possible exposure to sunlight, probably not in an climate-controlled environment, and we don’t know if he uses nitrogen or argon gas in his vats — there are a LOT of factors Wetzel would need to control for.

      We don’t KNOW that the oil is rancid but given all of the above, plus looking at the evidence of many people having health problems that are correlated with rancid oil… sure seems fishy, don’t you think?

      1. @Ann Marie

        “when I left the FCLO in my cupboard for 6 months… it stayed the same in terms of taste, smell and color. If it wasn’t already rancid, shouldn’t we expect to see it get more rancid in the cupboard?”

        Was that bottle of FCLO left in your cupboard unopened? Because I once found an old bottle, which was opened and mostly used up, that had been pushed to the back of my cupboard for almost a year, and it had gone VERY OBVIOUSLY rancid. I mean the difference was like night and day from how the product tastes/smells when you first open it. That particular bottle of FCLO had acquired an unmistakable chemical-like scent to it at that point, similar to paint-thinner, and it seriously burned going down. This is why I say that the product can absolutely go rancid. I have not had this happen to any unopened bottles that have sat in my cupboard for months.

        1. Honestly it always tasted and smelled off to me. Burned my throat.

          I, like others, thought it was because the oil was “fermented”. Dave Wetzel and others have often compared it to cheese and other fermented products. So that is what I thought.

          But as we know now the oil is not fermented – there is no probiotic bacteria in it.

          So what is causing it to taste this way? Rancidity maybe?

          1. I wish I hadn’t tossed all my FCLO… I wanted to do an experiment and leave it out in a dish and see if animals would eat it. Maybe also put out some EVCLO or other cod liver oil. I wonder what would happen…

            If anyone has any FCLO maybe you can send to me and we’ll do a test!

            1. You’d have to do the experiment with unflavored FCLO, because animals would be turned off by the scent of mint or cinnamon and not want to touch it based on that alone. But I did put a spoon of EVCLO in front of my cat the other night and she wouldn’t touch that either so…

            2. Ann Marie,
              I was using the 27.5 oz. Caramel flavored Blue Ice Infused FCLO that has FCLO, BO, CO, and Skate Oil in it. I bought 12 jars in December 2014 from GP that have been stored at room temperature since then. I have 8 unopened jars left and about 3/4 of a jar that was opened in August. The opened jar has been stored in the refrigerator since August 23.

              I experienced premature atrial contractions 3 years after starting to take the FCLO and atrial fibrillation 2 years later, using a dose of 2 tsp. daily of the infused mix. CO makes up half of the infused mixture, so about 3/4 tsp. of that was the FCLO component. Since I stopped taking the FCLO mix on August 23, I haven’t had any AFib. I don’t intend to take the FCLO, so I will share it with anyone who wants it.

              However, I have already done the test of feeding the infused mix to my 30 lb. dog. He was gnawing on his paws and had gunky ears, so I thought it would help. I gave him 1/2 tsp. daily for 1 1/2 years mixed in with his food. The only way he would eat that food was to cover it up with lots of stuff that he loves to eat. Since I stopped giving him the infused mix on August 23, he eats up his food right away, instead of letting it sit around all day like he used to. I don’t think it’s the caramel flavoring that would have been off-putting.

              Before I started giving him the infused mix, his lab work was totally normal. After 1 1/2 years of feeding the infused mix, his liver enzymes had jumped up above reference range.

            3. We had a few bottles of fclo in our fridge. A couple were peppermint flavored and one was the “cod” flavor. I kept meaning to mail them off to friends who needed them for various health situations but forgot. Before I knew it they had sat in the fridge for more than a year. I’d never been able to successfully get any of this stuff down anybody in my family so as a last resort I thought “oh, I’ll just drizzle some of the cod flavored fclo over the cats food. It’ll be awesome for them” Now, normally our cats go nuts for anything remotely fish related. I’d even poured some lemon flavored cod liver oil (not fermented, regular processed) and they’d devoured it. When I drizzled the fclo over their food they initially turned up their noses to the whole bowl of food but after a couple of hours (very hungry) they finally came and reluctantly nibbled all the bits of food that were not soaked in the fclo. The saturated bits they refused to touch. Thinking I’d perhaps put too much, I dribbled a tiny amount on the next day with the same results. Our 3 cats absolutely would have nothing to do with it. The same week I swapped out out with the regular liquid clo from our company and they acted like it was the most delicious treat ever. I remember this bothering me at the time and thinking it was so weird that the cats wouldn’t eat it…sort of like that test where they put margarine and butter on the same plate and see which the ants will eat? It’s definitely interesting.

    2. @Lynn – Dr. Rudi said spectrometers analysis is an accurate way to test Fish Oils for rancidity. The H NMR testing that was done on FCLO was a type of spectrometric analysis, and it showed it was not rancid. I wish Ann Marie would have given Dr. Rudi some data to analyze.

  6. I just found out you were back. I was subscribed before; however, I just tried to subscribe and it will not work. I’ll try at a later time. I’m glad your back!

  7. So, the good Dr. states that Norwegians brined and fermented cod liver oil. Didn’t Kaayla claim that this never happened? He said “you would not do that now” but that is just his opinion and there is no evidence it could not be done safely. The Dr is only stating that he objects to the oil being stored for so long and being kept below a certain temperature.

    1. Philip

      Dr. Rudi said that the “old” method of fermenting cod livers to make cod liver oil DID result in rancid oil. He said that the oil was somewhat rancid, however, they took it because that was their best source of vitamins A & D and they needed it to stay alive. The rancidity was a trade-off.

      He outlined exactly what you would need to do to make it safely. Nitrogen or argon gas, climate-controlled facility, no UV light, etc. etc.

      Did you watch the whole video, because based on your comment, it seems like you didn’t.

  8. “Dr. Rudi said the notion of storing cod liver oil in the cupboard is “ridiculous” and said it should always be refrigerated, and it will stay fresh in the fridge for a limited amount of time. This is what it says on the FAQs of other cod liver oil and fish oil companies as well. Refrigeration slows oxidation or rancidity”

    Here’s the rub – every cod liver oil I see at the health food store is on the shelf. Does that mean all of them could be rancid after a period of time?

    1. You are supposed to refrigerate cod liver oil after opening the bottle. Prior to opening, the oil is oxygen-free if it is nitrogen-flushed (they add nitrogen to the bottle). The oil is protected by light if it is in a dark bottle (green or brown, not clear). You don’t want the bottle to get hot — so it’s best to put it in the fridge as soon as you get it home.

      Most CLO producers also add an antioxidant (vitamin E and or rosemary) to the bottles to slow oxidation. Archie of Corganic (the US distributor of Rosita CLO) told me that shark liver oil and ratfish liver oil naturally contain an antioxidant so they are less susceptible to oxidation.

      Carlson’s says:

      “In Norway, the clear Carlson Cod Liver Oil is then bottled and nitrogen-sealed, removing all air from both the oil and bottle.”

      https://www.carlsonlabs.com/productliterature/codliveroil.pdf

      Nordic Naturals says:

      “While complete processing may take days, our raw material is protected in a nitrogen environment at every stage of manufacturing to maintain optimal freshness in the final product.”

      https://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/FAQs_portal/FAQs_Group_5/637

      Rosita does it the same way – they bottle in Norway in a dark facility that is climate-controlled and protected from oxygen by nitrogen, and they do it within 48 hours of catching the fish – and then they do a nitrogen flush so that there is no air in the bottle. Archie Welch talked about this in the video interview I did with him. This is all standard practice in Norway from what I have read.

      Rosita said you can store your unopened bottle in the fridge for up to 1 year, unopened freezer for up to 2 years, and you can store your opened bottle in the fridge for up to 80 days.

      In contrast to all of the above, Green Pasture has not disclosed whether or not they do any kind of nitrogen flush and they don’t say whether they add nitrogen to the bottle. We don’t know whether their manufacturing facility (which he said is a retrofitted greenhouse?) is climate-controlled and we don’t know if it is protected from sunlight. He used to say that the FCLO was protected from sunlight but then he changed his FAQ to say that it wasn’t.

      He also said he doesn’t add antioxidants… on this page: “Why do we not add anti-oxidants/rosemary oil..preservatives”

      “In general, my conclusion was the only way to justify adding anti-oxidants was to do it because everyone else was adding it and the addition would reduce the number of questions by the general public. My personal view of ADDED antioxidants is they are added to hide a problem in manufacturing. They might be as harmful or distasteful as this community view’s preservatives. In a nutshell, I think they are added as a preservative to hide a problem.”

      https://www.greenpasture.org/fermented-cod-liver-oil-butter-oil-vitamin-d-vitamin-a/why-do-we-not-add-anti-oxidantsrosemary-oilpreservatives/?back=javascript:history.back();

      He’s never said anything about adding nitrogen to his bottles of FCLO – so I don’t know if they do that.

      He has also said that we don’t need to refrigerate the bottles. I have heard people say that when they received the bottles of FCLO, they were warm. I have also heard people say that the bottles were past the date on the bottle (by ONE YEAR).

      Someone also commented on my blog saying that Dave emailed her and said the FCLO is good for 2 years, but that “we don’t think it can go bad”.

      Wetzel posted this on the GPP website re: “Refrigerate or not to refrigerate, that is the question”:

      “Fermented clo products: The oil is very stable. In my opinion many can store OPENED jars either way. If you use the fclo regularly (within a few months) you can opt to leave in a cupboard after opening.

      We do not overly process the oils so some lots tend to become thicker as the storage temps get colder. I have seen some really cold refrigerators make a fclo almost Gel.

      If you take advantage of our quantity discounts and store many jars you might consider storing the unopened jars in a cool dry place, refrigerator or freezer. The cooler the better for long term storage.”

      Seems very odd to me… PUFAs need to be protected by heat, air and light — otherwise they do go rancid very quickly.

      These are all questions David Wetzel of GPP needs to answer.

      1. The more I hear about his process, the more confused I get. It sounds like they do the fermenting in his building on his property with the roof that lets in sunlight – but only good sunlight, not bad sunlight. But he has posted that their manufacturing is done by another company. Is that just bottling? Is that cetrifuging? Is that also fermenting? If not that would mean either moving the vats themselves, or moving the entire contents of the vats, or harvesting the oil and transporting it. I’m sure that if we heard it all in sequence, we would understand how all of the bits and pieces of info we have been getting fit into place, but we have yet to hear a simple catch to bottle explanation of process from GPP.

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