My Take on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal

As a real food blogger who has actively endorsed and recommended fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) for the past several years, I wanted to share my thoughts on the recent FCLO scandal.

If you’re too impatient to read this whole thing (and I don’t blame you – it’s long!), make sure you scroll down to the last paragraph. I have a big announcement about tomorrow’s post.

My Take on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal

As a real food blogger who has actively endorsed and recommended fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) for the past several years, I wanted to share my thoughts on the recent FCLO scandal. If you’re too impatient to read this whole thing (and I don’t blame you – it’s long!), make sure you scroll down to the last paragraph. I have a big announcement about tomorrow’s post.

I know there are many readers out there who started using fermented cod liver oil because of my recommendation, so I feel that it is my obligation to share my thoughts. My integrity is everything. If you can’t count on my word, then there’s no reason for you to read this blog or listen to anything I have to say.

I’m honestly surprised that more bloggers who have been promoting the FCLO over the years have not yet posted about this issue. A few people posted articles right after the report came out, but since then it’s been crickets. I know people are busy and I totally get that. But I have a feeling a lot of people out there are nervous about posting anything because it’s such a controversial issue.

A few bloggers did write about it. Notably David Gumpert’s Complete Patient blog — he’s done a ton of coverage and I’m so grateful for his reporting. If you want to learn more about this issue, I recommend that you check his blog out because there are a number of posts.

There were also posts on Modern Alternative Mama, Wellness Mama, Balanced Bites, and Nourished and Nurtured, who boldly wrote about her concerns about FCLO way back in 2013.

(My blog has been down since May. After the crash of my business in 2014, I couldn’t afford to host it anymore. So that’s why I haven’t posted about this yet.)

So anyway, here we go…

Before I get into the fermented cod liver oil scandal, I want to start by saying that I am deeply indebted to Sally Fallon Morell and all the people who started and grew the Weston A. Price Foundation. I have learned so much about nutrition and health from WAPF in the past several years and will always be grateful to Sally and the Weston A. Price Foundation.

The Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal

For those of you who haven’t heard, in August, Dr. Kaayla Daniel, former Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and winner of the WAPF Integrity in Science Award, sent the FCLO to 5 different labs and got 9 different reports, which she then interpreted and published her own findings, Hook, Line and Stinker!: The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil. If you haven’t read it yet, click this link to get a free download.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation since my daughter, Kate was born in 2007. I started taking and promoting the Green Pasture Products’ fermented cod liver oil in 2008 when I first tried it at a WAPF conference.

We stopped taking the FCLO a few years ago, due to my concerns of rancidity. I’ll elaborate on that below. I also quit paying Weston A. Price Foundation membership dues a few years ago, for different reasons which I will explain below.

My History with WAPF

So let’s get on to this whole fermented cod liver oil business, shall we? In order to do so, I need to talk about my history with the WAPF organization and its members, since fermented cod liver oil was founded by Green Pasture Products, part and parcel with WAPF.

I feel it is necessary to tell the history of my involvement with WAPF and Green Pasture because this scandal has rocked the community, and many of the players in this tragic unfoldment of events are very close friends of mine. You can skip ahead over this part if you want, but I feel it is necessary to talk about the history of these people and how connected we are.

I became a member of the WAPF and later became a co-chapter leader in Los Angeles with my dear friend, Victoria Bloch. I was an enthusiastic WAPF advocate and did a lot of work over the years to promote the organization and help others to promote the organization and their work. I started Real Food Media, which later became Village Green Network.

At the height of that company’s success in 2013, we had nearly one thousand blogs in the network and many of them were strong advocates of the Weston A. Price Foundation. (You can read my post here on the history of Village Green Network and how that played out.)

I attended the annual November WAPF conference every year from 2008 until 2013. For me, the conference was the best time of the year, second only to Christmas. The annual WAPF conference was like a huge extended family reunion. I used to always say I got more hugs in November than I got the rest of the year combined.

I found out about the Weston A. Price Foundation in 2007 when my daughter was 4 months old. I was having trouble producing enough breast milk (I later found out this was due to the fact that my doctor put me on the birth control pill after she was born and I did not know this could negatively impact your breast milk supply).

Baby Kate

So I had to start supplementing with formula, which I made me feel awful. Not being able to exclusively breastfeed my baby was devastating to me. My mom breastfed all of us kids and was a member of La Leche League back in the late 60s. I really didn’t want to feed my baby that nasty formula powder with soybean oil and additives.

When I posted on my blog that I was having trouble breastfeeding, my Great Uncle Roy (who has since passed away) sent me an email with a link to an article on the WAPF website about the dangers of soy formula. I read many of the articles on the site and was very excited about the organization.

I have been a believer in the power of diet and nutrition for many years. I overcame health challenges in my twenties when I graduated from college. With changes to my diet and probitoics, I was able to cure my rhuematoid arthritis, gluten intolerance, chemical sensitivities and chronic sinus infections and seasonal allergies. For me, the Weston A. Price Foundation really put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

I then read Dr. Ron Schmid’s excellent book, The Untold Story of Milk which convinced me to start buying raw milk for our family. Instead of store bought formula, I started supplementing with the WAPF raw milk formula (in addition to breast milk — I was producing milk, just not enough). I started buying grass-fed meat and dairy products, and switched from 2% organic milk to full fat organic raw milk. I started making my own kefir and kombucha, soaking nuts and oatmeal, sprouting flour, and making bone broth. And we started taking taking cod liver oil.

The Untold Story of Milk by Dr. Ron Schmid

So many good things happened as a result of making these changes to our diet. I stopped getting cavities. I used to get a cavity every other year or so, and I have 2 root canals. After I changed my diet, my tooth sensitivity and pain disappeared, the brown spots of decay turned white, and I haven’t gotten a single cavity. I also have a lot more energy and better moods, and I get a lot more done.

It makes sense to me that traditional foods are the key to good health. Look at all the healthy people who have lived for centuries on traditional foods like butter, cream, fish, meat, whole milk, cheese, eggs, coconut oil, lard, and homemade chicken stock. Degenerative diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke were rare until the past few decades, when many of these foods began to disappear from our plates.

To this day, I continue to follow a Weston Price diet and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I am teaching my daughter and son how to eat and how to cook. I am teaching them how real food is healing and nourishing and how processed junk food makes you sick. For these reasons, I will always be grateful to Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation and everything I have learned from them.

In 2008 I went to my first conference which was not an official WAPF conference, but rather the Deirdre Currie Festival. This was a conference in honor of Deirdre Currie, the wife of Archie Welch. They were very early chapter leaders of WAPF.


Dee had recently passed away due to a pulmonary embolism during the birth of their first and only child, Jack. You can read about it in my post here.

Archie and Baby Jack

Archie stood on stage with his baby Jack and talked about how much the WAPF community meant to him and how much it had meant to his wife, Dee. At that conference, I got to know Archie and his business partners Dan Corrigan and Karen Myers of Corganic (which had just been founded in 2007). I also met a lot of the members of the WAPF community including WAPF President Sally Fallon, Jerry Brunetti (who has also since passed away), Natasha Campbell-McBride, and blogger, Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Heather and Samson

It was at that conference that I decided to start a blog network. Thanks to WAPF member, Jonathan Drake, who gave me the idea and also the domain name, We started out as partners but he realized soon after that it wasn’t what he wanted to do. He went on to do other things and I went ahead with Real Food Media. I’ll always be grateful to Jonathan for his encouragement, for his enthusiasm for business and new media, and for his and his wife Heather’s friendship.

With Sally Fallon Morell and Kelly the Kitchen Kop

I went to my first WAPF conference that fall of 2008 in San Francisco and met lots of other members of the WAPF community. Mark McAfee and his daughter Kayleigh, of Organic Pastures Dairy (where I had been buying my raw milk), Dr. Ron Schmid, Dr. Kaayla Daniel, Will Winter, Randy Hartnell of Vital Choice Seafood, Sandeep of Pure Indian Foods, Tim Wightman of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture Products. And many others.

Kayleigh and Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy

Many of these people became business colleagues and many of them became my friends. Seems like a lifetime ago when I think about how much has changed since then. Real Food Media grew from a few blogs in 2008 (Kelly the Kitchen Kop was our first) to 5 blogs in 2009. In 2010, we grew to a few more blogs including Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist, who eventually grew to the biggest blog in our network. That was the same year I won the WAPF Activist Award (along with Sarah Pope).


The CLO “Reformation”

In 2012, I attended the WAPF conference that fall in San Francisco. That was the year Archie Welch distributed a pamphlet he wrote about the history of cod liver oil.

I remember at the time telling Archie that he was like Martin Luther and the 95 Theses that sparked the Protestant Reformation. Little did I know at the time how true that would become a few years down the road.

First of all, let me tell you why Archie wrote this pamphlet, and why he did the research. Because many people are saying he did it in order to sell his competing product, Corganic’s EVCLO (extra virgin cod liver oil).

As I mentioned above, Dan and Archie were very active members in the early days of WAPF and volunteered a lot of their time to help grow the organization. In 2007, Dan Corrigan founded Corganic, which was a online store he started to sell real food and supplements, including the Biokult supplement and Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil.

Corganic was focused especially on people and kids on the autistic spectrum. Their tagline is “Real Food for Autism”. You can read more about the history of Corganic on the Thinking Mom’s Revolution blog (one of my favorite blogs).

When he was running Corganic in those early days, Dan noticed that a number of kids on the spectrum had trouble with Biokult, the probiotic developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of The Gut & Psychology Syndrome and creator of the GAPS Diet. Natasha healed her own son of autism with the GAPS diet and probiotics.

Corganic was getting a lot of customer service calls from parents whose children had trouble with Biokult. This is what led Dan, partnering with Archie and Karen, to found a supplement company, Organic 3, Inc. in 2009. In 2010, Organic 3 launched a new probiotic supplement called GutPro, which was designed specifically for their customers who had difficulty taking Biokult. I have recommended both Biokult and GutPro to my readers over the years, and continue to do so.

It was the customer service calls at Corganic, fielded for the most part by Karen Myers, that led Archie to investigate the history of cod liver oil. Many of the Corganic customers reported that they and their children were not getting better, even though they were following a strict GAPS diet. Many people could not tolerate the FCLO. When they would go off the FCLO, they started improving.

Archie wanted to find an alternative high quality cod liver oil, so he began doing extensive research online about the history of cod liver oil.

Here’s a brief summary of Archie’s History of Cod Liver Oil, the pamphlet that he distributed to the attendees at the 2012 WAPF Conference (you can read the whole thing online here):

Cod liver oil is a traditional food. It goes back to ​Viking era​. However, fermented cod liver oil is not a traditional food, as people have only been consuming it (via Green Pasture Products) for the past decade.

According to Archie’s research, the Vikings consumed cod liver oil, but it was always consumed fresh, especially during the long and dark winter months of Northern Norway. After the Viking era, cod liver oil was used for commercial purposes. Fishermen would rub the oil on their skin to soothe sore joints and muscles.

The infirmaries and apothecaries picked up on the topical usage of cod liver oil and began using it topically on patients with rheumatism. In the late 1700s, a patient at the Manchester Infirmary in the UK was told to rub some cod liver oil on her joints and also take some internally. She was cured within two weeks. That started the cod liver oil boom.

The pale oils from the first week or so of the putrefaction process was called medicinal cod liver oil. Unfortunately there was not enough to meet demand so some of the brown industrial oils were used medicinally with mixed results.

In 1850, Peter Moller invented the process of steam rendering fresh-caught livers displacing the poorly prepared industrial cod liver oils. The putrefaction process or “fermentation” of the livers had a very short window as a medicinal. Most assuredly our ancestors consumed fish oils fresh, and when it smelled and tasted rancid they steered clear of it. ​

Was This Attack on Green Pasture a Plot Hatched By Corganic to Sell More EVCLO?

I want to address this argument – I see some people online in comments saying this whole thing was a money-making plot cooked up by Dan and Archie of Corganic. Dan didn’t start Corganic it to make money. I mean, yes, it’s a for-profit business so they have to make a profit – that’s the point of doing it. But Dan launched the company to help kids on the autistic spectrum. That is what Corganic’s tagline has always been “Real Food for Autism”.

Corganic is an extremely small company and none of the owners makes much money from it. Dan Corrigan still to this day works a full time job and runs the company in his spare time (nights and weekends). He’s the father of two kids. Archie and Karen also have other work outside of Corganic. They are not getting rich of of this — far from it.


As I said, I have known all the players in this drama for years. Archie pubilshed the original pamphlet about the history of cod liver oil which never mentioned FCLO. The reason this all came to a head three years later is not because Archie and Dan are so powerful that they were able to orchestrate a huge conspiracy against Green Pasture.

No, what happened, as you will read below, is that many, many people started having serious problems with FCLO. And many people found that when they stopped taking it, their health improved. Archie and Dan noticed it because they were selling the FCLO and their customers were complaining weekly.

After that, things unfolded which Archie and Dan had nothing to do with. Dr. Ron Schmid’s advanced heart failure, hospitalization and prognosis of death, and his realization (totally independent of FCLO) that maybe he had been taking too much CLO (he never blamed FCLO).

Meanwhile, Dr. Kaayla Daniel was hearing multiple reports of people experiencing health problems from FCLO. She felt the obvious need to look into it. It was October 2014 that Dr. Kaayla Daniel brought her concerns to WAPF, and her concerns were dismissed. When she discussed it with Dr. Ron, he offered to help her fund the tests, mainly because he wanted to see the FCLO come out clean!

These things all happened independently of Corganic, Archie and Dan. There is no way this could be a conspiracy — unless Archie and Dan have the ability to telepathically mind-control people. I say that jokingly but come on, people. It’s absurd.

Look, I deeply appreciate Green Pasture’s efforts to produce a quality cod liver oil. I really do. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to try to create a nutritional supplement and get it on the market.

However, if a company gets reports from customers who are having problems, those concerns should not be taken lightly or ignored or written off. Dan and Archie did not take it lightly. After they got repeated calls from customers who were experiencing problems with the FCLO, they stopped selling it and looked for an alternative.

I for one, am grateful that there is an alternative raw cod liver oil available, since my family stopped taking the FCLO, as I will explain below.

You Can’t Ferment Oil

When I spoke to Archie about his research at the conference in 2012, he said, “You can’t ferment oil.” This hit me like a thunderbolt. It’s true. You can’t ferment oil.

I’m not a lipid scientist. But you don’t have to have a science degree to undertand that polyunsaturated oils (polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs) are damaged very quickly, within hours, by heat and light and air.

According to Connie Leas in her book, Fat: It’s not What You Think, “…the double bonds of polyunsaturated fats oxidize within a few hours of exposure to air.”

Fermented Cod Liver Oil is Not Probiotic

When I first started buying FCLO in 2008, I was led to believe that the probioitcs in the oil protected the oil from going rancid. But according to Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s report, the lab reports showed that there was no probiotic bacteria in the FCLO. Green Pasture confirms this. Owner Dave Wetzel said, “Fermented cod liver oil has no bacteria, as bacteria need water, protein and sugar to live. Bacteria do not survive in oil.”

So if the oil is not probiotic, then what is protecting the oil from heat, light and air? And even if the FCLO were probiotic, how would probiotic bacteria protect oil from rancidity? Do you know of any other fermented oils? There has never been such a thing in all of history. Because you can’t ferment oil.

So how is the oil protected? Even Sally Fallon says we need to refrigerate PUFAs. But Dave Wetzel told me at one of the conferences that it was safe to leave FCLO in the cupboard for “months”. I believe he said I could leave it in the cupboard for 6 months to a year.

At the time he said that, I figured it made sense because the oil was fermented or probiotic. Only it’s not. If the oil sits in their facility for months on end as the livers are putrefying, then isn’t the oil already rancid when you buy it?

I don’t know if the Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil is rancid or not, but logically I don’t see how it can NOT be rancid. I’d rather err on the side of caution, which is why I stopped buying it in 2012. After it was clear to me that “you can’t ferment an oil”.

We switched to Carlson’s cod liver oil at that time, and then last year when the Rosita EVCLO sold by Corganic came to the U.S. market in the fall of 2014, we started taking that because it is raw, it is not heat-treated and does not contain synthetic vitamins as most other modern cod liver oil brands do.

First, Do No Harm

I do still very much believe in the benefits of cod liver oil, but as Dr. Weston Price said, you need to make sure to avoid rancid oil. He also never recommended fermented cod liver oil.

“Freshness and storage of the oil is important, he continued. Even though an oil may have a high vitamin content, if it is oxidized or rancid, it will not have the desired effects. “The available evidence indicates that fish oils [including cod liver oil] that have been exposed to the air may develop toxic substances.… Rancid fats and oils destroy vitamins A and E, the former in the stomach.” — Dr. Weston Price, as quoted on the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation article, Cod Liver Oil: A Historical Perspective.

Rancid or oxidized oil causes cancer, heart disease and many other health problems from arthritis to Alzheimer’s to premature aging.

“One reason the polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture as in cooking and processing. Rancid oils are characterized by free radicals—that is, single atoms or clusters with an unpaired electron in an outer orbit. These compounds are extremely reactive chemically. They have been characterized as “marauders” in the body for they attack cell membranes and red blood cells and cause damage in DNA/RNA strands, thus triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels and skin. Free radical damage to the skin causes wrinkles and premature aging; free radical damage to the tissues and organs sets the stage for tumors; free radical damage in the blood vessels initiates the buildup of plaque. Is it any wonder that tests and studies have repeatedly shown a high correlation between cancer and heart disease with the consumption of polyunsaturates? New evidence links exposure to free radicals with premature aging, with autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and with Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s and cataracts.” — Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig Phd, The Skinny on Fats, January, 2000

So, that is why we no longer take fermented cod liver oil. I don’t know if it is rancid, but I’m not willing to take the risk. I’ve spent the past few years thinking about it and I can’t figure out how it is not rancid.

Not to mention the reports we’ve been hearing from many people who had health problems and serious, even fatal conditions after taking the FCLO. And when they stopped the problems miraculously went away.

The argument some people have made, “I don’t have any health problems and I take FCLO” is absurd. Lots of people eat genetically modified food and they don’t have health problems — until one day they get cancer.

First, do no harm. Considering that this is a very recent food (it’s only been on the market for less than a decade), we really have no track record so we should proceed with caution. Plus, Green Pasture Products is the ONLY company in the world making this product.

And If this product is harming people’s health and endangering their lives, that’s extremely frightening to me. Especially since so many of us give it to our children. If there’s even the slightest doubt, it should be avoided. In fact, I personally think all sales of FCLO should be halted until further research can be done.

I’m just one person. You don’t have to believe what I say about FCLO. I have opinions, and I most certainly could be wrong.

Instead, listen to the stories of the people who have been intimately involved in this scandal. Starting tomorrow (Wednesday), I will be posting video (Skype) interviews with these people over the next week on my blog. Including longtime (former) WAPF member, sponsor and honorary board member, Dr. Ron Schmid who was hospitalized for advanced heart failure and given a prognosis of 3-6 months to live. And former WAPF staff member, Cathy Raymond, who had a terrible head-to-toe rash and 30 pounds of weight gain due to inflammation. And many more.

Why I Left WAPF

Okay, so I promised to elaborate on why I am no longer a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation, this organization and community that I loved so much and have always considered to be an extended family.

Over the years, I have watched Sally Fallon attack members in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. I felt that her attacks were damaging to our community and our movement. I have heard that the WAPF community has not been growing over the past few years and I personally believe this is one of the main reasons.

Almost every year, usually just before the annual fall conference, Sally would do something to attack someone (a person or an organization) publicly. These have all been leaders in the real food movement, people and organizations many of us revere. Usually it was in the form of a “thumbs down book review” in the quarterly journal.

2000 – Michael Eades, MD and Mary Eades, MD
2002 – Loren Cordain
2002 – La Leche League
2007 – Marion Nestle
2009 – Dr. Joe Mercola
2009 – Nina Planck
2009 – Michael Pollan
2010 – Michael Pollan again
2010 – Michael Pollan again
2011 – Jordan Rubin
2011 – Tim Ferris
2012 – Dr. Cate Shanahan
2012 – Marion Nestle again
2012 – La Leche League again
2013 – Robb Wolf
2013 – The Paleo movement
2014 – Robert Lustig, MD

I see these attacks as a form of public shaming. These people and groups should be honored, not shamed and ridiculed. I was a victim of public shaming recently (read about it here), and it was hands-down the most painful experience in my life. I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy.

I also think it’s hard to grow an organization when the leader is making so many enemies. I’m not saying you should never say anything wrong about anybody else. It’s good to have conflict, and it’s fine to express opinions, and negative reviews are to be expected. But these negative reviews, if you take the time to read them, are extremely short-sighted.

The La Leche League book, for example, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. OK, yeah, their diet advice is bad. But does that mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater and trash their work? It’s a critical work on the importance of breastfeeding. One that helped me and many of my friends. Why trash La Leche League? If it weren’t for them, my mom would have never breastfed me.

And just LOOK at all those names in that list. I honestly began to feel ashamed to be associated with WAPF.

John Moody’s 2011 attack on Tim Ferris’s book, The 4-Hour Body was especially bizarre. The 4-Hour Body was a NY Times #1 Bestseller and was one of the top 5 top selling books on Amazon for two years running. And it featured a whole section recommending Green Pastures’ fermented cod liver oil. Seems like WAPF would want to thank Ferris, not denigrate him. He sure gave Green Pasture a ton of free advertising!

For me personally, Robb Wolf was the last straw. I just couldn’t keep paying dues to an organization that was doing this. And I’m not the only one who felt this way. Just check out some of the comments on the WAPF Facebook page.

Not to mention that Sally’s post about Paleo was wrong on multiple counts. For example, she said that the Paleo diet advocates “Only lean muscle meats, no added fat.” What? A quick internet search will tell you that’s ridiculous. Just look at the recent book by Matthew and Stacy Toth, authors of the Paleo Parents blog, Beyond Bacon.

I remember on Robb Wolf’s Facebook page, when he posted about it, he was very much a gentleman and took the high road. He simply said, “We need to build a bigger tent.” I couldn’t agree more.


I don’t remember what year it was that I first spoke at the WAPF conference — either 2010 or 2011… that was the year I met a number of Paleo/Primal folks Nora Gedgaudus, John Durant, Melissa McEwen, Stephan Guyenet… I think maybe it was the next year that Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites came to the conference with Liz Wolfe. And the year after that Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo came.

But they stopped coming and they never came back. And why? Well, why would they come back? Sally made them feel unwelcome. Which is really sad to me because they tried so hard to build bridges.

The truth is, Weston Price and Paleo communities have so much in common.

Animal foods – check
Saturated fats – check
Bone broth – check
Grass-fed meat and dairy – check
Pastured eggs – check
Fermented foods – check
Supporting small farms – check
Organic foods – check
Non-GMO foods – check

Okay, so Paleo doesn’t allow grains (with the exception of “safe starches” like white rice in moderation) and Dr. Weston Price did recommended grains (freshly ground whole grains). So there’s one difference. I can’t think of any others.

And isn’t the GAPS Diet, which WAPF endorses, extremely similar to the Paleo and Primal diets? Broth, saturated fats, meats (including organs), seafood, fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, dairy (for some people, if you can tolerate it). How is GAPS different exactly?

I have WAPF friends who don’t drink wine and I do. Does that mean I can’t be friends with them? Heck, I have vegetarian and vegan friends, too. Can’t we be friends? There are lots of vegetarian people whose diets are very traditional. I’ve met a number of people from India who grew up on vegetarian diets and had teeth like piano keys and had never been sick in their lives.

The whole thing is silly. Not only is it silly, it’s detrimental and destructive to our movement. Think of the impact we could make in the world if WAPF and Paleo came together. And what if the vegetarians eating grass-fed butter and eggs joined us, too? I think Robb Wolf is right. If we really want to impact more lives, we need a bigger tent. Why not join forces and create a health movement that more people can connect with?

But I don’t think that will ever happen with WAPF. Beacuse Sally has made her mind up. And she’s not one to easily change her mind. And it seems like when this whole FCLO thing blew up, she just dug her heels in harder.

What I see with WAPF is an excellent organization with exemplary values and really wonderful people. But it has a terrible structure. WAPF is run like a dictatorship or monarchy. Sally has decided to do a lot of things that a lot of the members do not agree with. I know this because in my position as a blogger and owner of a blog network, over the years I heard from many, many members. But the members have no voice.

An organization needs checks and balances. You need people within the organization to be able to express opinions. They need to be listened to and acknowleged. We need multiple points of input. Especially when you have lots of smart, compassionate people in the group.

You can’t rely on one person to be right all of the time. Because humans are flawed. We don’t know everything. And we make mistakes. Which is why we need the checks and balances. The more our voices are heard, the more we can communicate and work out conflicts, the more we will innovate and grow and do awesome things.

“But We Are Dividing the WAPF Community”

This is one of the arguments I keep seeing online. People saying that Kaayla was wrong to publish her report because it was damaging to the WAPF community.

At the end of the day, this is not about keeping the community together. This is about truth. It’s about protecting people’s health. If the community has to be divided to protect people from dying, then yeah, let’s divide.

And it is about making a bigger space for more people. A bigger tent.

I think we should all respect Kaayla’s and Dr. Ron’s and David Gumpert’s bravery to question the status quo and to challenge authority. They may not be right. The FCLO may be perfectly safe. But what if it is isn’t?

In a healthy community, people can express opinions, even if they are unpopular, and not be shunned and quieted and kicked out. In a healthy community, members should be able to question authority and not be punished. In a healthy community, the health and happiness of the members, not the leaders, is the most important thing. This is why I found it alarming when Sally Fallon said what concerned her most about this whole thing was Dave Wetzel’s family. Shouldn’t her primary concern be about the health of the members of WAPF?

I think a new organization will evolve from this… it’s just a matter of time.

Check Back Tomorrow for Exclusive Video Interview with Dr. Kaayla Daniel

As I said above, tomorrow I will be posting the first video interview with Dr. Kaayla Daniel in a week long series on my blog. Subsequent video interviews with all of the “amigos” and a number of others will go live each day for the next week.

If you want updates, please just add a comment below and I’ll send you email updates when the videos go up. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and/or Facebook page for updates.

Postscript: Major Problems with Lab Tests from WAPF

Okay, so there are some really major problems with the lab tests WAPF has been citing. I mean like, serious issues.

I really wanted to be able discuss this in this post — I have a lot of information I feel it is necessary to share. However, I’ve been working on this post for several hours now and in order to get it up today, I need to wait and write a second post getting into this information. If you want me to post more about this, please comment below and I’ll do it.

Oh and if I got anything wrong in this post… please comment or email me at annmarie @ cheeseslave dot com. Humans are fallible and I may have mistakes in this post. Typos, wrong on dates, what have you. Or whatever – let me know so I can fix it. Thanks.

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 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.

113 thoughts on “My Take on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal

  1. Thank you so much for covering this! When the shtf I was bummed that we wouldn’t be hearing your voice. So glad it’s back! I’d love to hear more on the subject. I stopped taking it after trying off and on for a year. I couldn’t keep it down. My body was violently rejecting it, sometimes onto the kitchen floor. Glad I honored it and switched brands!

  2. Thank you so much for this post (and yesterday’s!). I’m really interested in reading more about this. I hadn’t even heard of the report, just some rumblings here and there about bad experiences with FCLO, so this was very informative. Thanks for all you do!

  3. I’ve been looking forward to hearing your take on this issue. I’ve taken FCLO off and on over the past few years without any problems, but I don’t need any more health issues. I’ll be watching for the videos, please add me to your list for email updates.

  4. My concern with FCLO and the high-vitamin butter oil was that they didn’t sound like food products that could have existed when Dr. Price was doing his research. I wondered how primitive people could have made the products in the form they are being sold today. Not that I ever wondered about their efficacy, just couldn’t see how they were the same product.

  5. Not about FCLO but I can say bashing the paleo /primal community was a huge huge turnoff for me from WAPF. I couldn’t agree more about the bigger tent and I have personally always felt like paleo/primal was more a simplified WAPF diet focusing on what was easier (let’s face it, spending so much effort preparing grains can be time consuming and frustrating and doesn’t help everyone and doesn’t have enough research backing it up) and most commonly doesn’t cause digestive issues of the WAPF recommendations. I felt like her post was poorly researched and picking at a straw man that if you read ANYTHING coming out in primal/paleo circles you know isn’t anything they are recommending. Not to mention that primal/paleo have a lot more mileage as a marketing structure and with the simplified recommendations has a better chance of reaching a wider range of people who may decide to adopt more of the WAPF recommendations and promote them as well

  6. Thank you for this post. There is one typo I saw, I wasn’t going to say anything but you asked me to. “The whole thing [IS] silly. Not only is it silly, it’s detrimental and destructive to our movement. “

  7. Great I took some this morning and have half a bottle left of FCLO and a brand new bottle of the FCLO/HVBO Royal Blend! Ugh!!!! Waste of money and time! WHAT DO I DO?

    1. Hi, Justin,

      Where did you get it? I know Dr. Ron’s is offering refunds.

      I am not sure but I think I heard Green Pasture Products will offer a refund if the purchase is within 30 days… but if it were me, I’d send it back to them anyway and demand a refund.

      1. Hi! Thank you! I got it from a local health food store here but it is still there product and they should take it back!

  8. Ann Marie, thank you for the history, the insights and the courage. I supported the WAPF and FCLO for far too long out of my own ignorance as to what was going on with that product and with the WAPF in general. My illness and focus on my recovery are no excuse for not doing my homework sooner. I ask for forgiveness from everyone in the WAPF and especially in the paleo and primal communities. There are so many of you I would have reached out to sooner if I had been more aware. I promise that in whatever role I play in our new foundation, I will not make these kind of mistakes again. Many thanks to all of you who are supporting our efforts to build an organization that will reflect the best in all of us.

    1. Dr. Ron why do you say especially in the Paleo and Primal communities are us WAPF people not as important? Just joking! I was just wondering why you worded it like this! !?! I feel you were part of the WAPF so we would come first!

      1. Good point, Justin. Maybe I shouldn’t have put it quite that way. But I meant that I feel that I would have been rankled at the way the paleo and primal people were treated by the WAPF if I had been more tuned in to what was going on. I was lost in my own little world for a few years there. You other WAPFers should have known too what was going on! And you sure should see it now, and demand change so the organization can become healthy.

        1. I don’t and won’t continue to follow the WAPF! I have difference of opinions from a few people there and also feel I have been treated unfairly in my time of need or when I was struggling even with apologizes from myself to let’s say a doctor with the foundation he ignores me still!

          I am looking forward to being part of the FFNW! Are you guys going to have lifestyle guidelines and what to avoid?

          I will refer to myself now as a FFNWer! :-)!

        2. It must have been awful what you went through, Dr. Ron. Two of your books had a huge impact on my food journey: The Untold Story of Milk (first edition), and especially Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine. I look forward to reading your paleo/primal book next and meeting you in November.

    2. Dr. Ron,

      In all of the interviews I have done so far with all of the “amigos”, you have all said the same thing. You have all said, “I take responsibility.”

      I am humbled by your integrity.

      I’m so grateful that you are alive and look forward to giving you a big hug in Southbridge!

      Ann Marie

  9. I stopped taking fclo because during my pregnancies it was revolting, but sadly i took capsules during my 7th preg, my only one with complications, my preemie. So I’ll always wonder if there was a connection.

    So many people are saying Fallon has ruined WAPF

  10. Thank you for writing about this. So glad you are blogging again, I’ve missed you! I too have been surprised that more of the bloggers that tauted FCLO in the first place haven’t spoken on this yet. It seems almost irresponsible to remain silent when their advice led many people to the brand in the first place.

    This is so confusing, because there are voices I greatly respect on both sides. I love Dr. Ron, but he was taking far greater levels than anyone recommends. The concerns seem valid, but I can’t discount my own personal experience with FCLO. Taking therapeutic levels of it (2 tsp a day) healed a sore tooth that I thought was going to need a filling, and as a nice unintended benefit, the darkening (melasma) on my forehead and upper lip went away. On the other hand, I recently had some testing that indicated my trans-fat levels were high. I follow a traditional diet and you won’t find anything but old-fashioned fats in my kitchen, so I was shocked. At the time I attributed it to eating out at restaurants, but now I’m wondering if the FCLO could have something to do with it.

    Everytime I think about trying to switch to another brand, I realized I’d have to take twice the amount (at least according the the WAPF dosing recommendations), and would therefore be spending a LOT more on what is already a very pricey supplement.

    If you write more on this I would love to hear your thoughts on the dosing. If the FCLO doesn’t contain the vitamin A & D levels touted by Green Pastures, it could mean it’s not that much more nutritionally dense than the virgin CLO brands after all.

    And as a side note, I’ve wondered about “high-vitamin” butter oil as well. I’ve never heard a good explanation for why it’s any different than ghee, or what the traditional butter oil Weston A. Price wrote about actually was.

    Love your points on the negativity within the WAPF leadership and the need for a bigger tent! Why in the world wouldn’t we celebrate other groups that are, for the most part, on “our” side? It’s self-defeating!

    1. Ginny,

      For one thing Ghee is heat processed, so there probably is damage to vitamins. A lot of people use it in cooking. It still has good fats though. HVBO is basically concentrated butter. Just eat more butter. HVBO is for situations where you don’t or can’t eat enough butter. It seems this is how Price was using it – as a medicine. It is one thing to give a desperately sick person 1/2 teaspoon of CLO and 1/2 teaspoon of HVBO. It is quite another to get them to eat an entire stick of butter and a pound of fish during the day. (I give that as an example. I don’t know what the relative amounts would be.)

      1. Thank you Steve. I wonder exactly HOW concentrated it is. Is 1 teaspoon the equivalent of 1/2 a stick of butter? If so, that may be worth it, since even a butter lover like myself would have a hard time eating that much everyday. I

      2. High vitamin butter oil is NOT regular butter, not even butter in high concentrations. Rapidly growing grass, such as the new growth of grass in the springtime, according to Dr. Price, contains a different nutritional profile from regular grass, with a higher amount of nutrients. There is also something present in the rapidly growing grass that is not present in regular grass that is very health giving. He did not discover just what this substance was so he called it Activator X. Further research has been done and it is now claimed that activator X is vitamin K2. The butter for the oil is supposed to be grown and prepared according to Dr. Prices specifications to increase the vitamin K2 content.

    2. Butter oil is usually centrifuge extracted from butter, and is mostly the unsaturated fatty acid part, which is why it is liquid at room temperature. Now, butter itself is about 82% fat, >52% saturated. Ghee contains all the fat from the butter, and its saturated fatty acid content is about 63-69%. Given that butter oil is mostly unsaturated, and that butter/ghee is mostly saturated, it’s easy to see that the oil yield from butter is quite low, which is why butter oil is so horrendously expensive.

  11. Thank you, Ann Marie. It seems like writing a post about this shouldn’t be such a big deal or require courage, but with the “shunning” that is being practiced and actively endorsed by so many in WAPF circles, it could easily mean loss of relationships at the very least. So thank you.

    1. As Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures said to me, “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. But that’s when you become fearless.”

      I lost everything last year. All my money, all my friends, my business, my reputation, all my hard work. I still had my family so not everything but it damn near seemed like everything at the time.

      I don’t think I could have done this if I hadn’t gone through what I did. My suffering was exactly what gave me the courage, and so I am grateful for it.

  12. I started giving this to my grandson at 71/2 months for about 4 months I am so concerned that I it has harmed him
    I need some kind of reassurance but all I am reading is the opposite

    1. Diana, take comfort in what was commented on a few times in the article and in the comments that when people stopped taking it, many of them saw better health follow. You can not change what has been done (I also have given it to my children growing up) but know that people who were seriously ill taking it, recovered after stopping. We only do what we think best at the time. Be gentle on yourself.

  13. Ginny, I took a lot of FCLO, but GP and WAPF were recommending a tablespoon or two (and more verbally) for a long time. Please read my story on our website for a full understanding. Many people, like you, may benefit from even a rancid liver oil for some time, especially if the dose is moderate. A little poison is better than a lot, and there are valuable nutrients even in rancid oil. Damage may not be noticeable for some time. Trans fats, very low levels of vitamin D…the list goes on.

  14. Thanks for addressing the issue. This post has cleared up a lot of lingering questions I’ve had.

    This whole thing has been like a punch in the stomach to me. I consider myself to be a smart person, and one to critically think about things, never jumping on the bandwagon or going along with the latest fad. I feel like a fool honestly, like I was sold snake oil.

    I am so disappointed with some WAPF members. I was part of a blogger and notable WAPF member’s “Nourished” groups on Facebook. People were actually prohibited from even bringing the issue up in any posts in her Facebook groups. The censure got to be so bad, I had to leave those groups. Why be a part of a discussion group if you aren’t allowed to discuss anything?

    I completely agree that sales of FCLO should be halted until its safety is proven. This is an ingredient in the homemade BABY formula for pete’s sake! I fed it to my own children! I was using the butter/cod liver oil blend though, because I couldn’t get the straight FCLO down without gagging. Gee, wonder why.

    1. @Kristie

      We are all human. And we all make mistakes. I don’t know the whole story with Dave Wetzel and Sally Fallon Morell but I believe that they meant well. I believe that they were trying to do something good.

      Just like I was trying to do good with my blog network. (You can read about it here:

      I tried to help people. And I did help a lot of people. And the network helped a lot of people. But what I learned is that the business structure was flawed. And so it failed. And it failed because it needs to be structured in a different way. I don’t know how yet and I don’t know when it will reemerge as a new entity, but I know that everything I learned and all the pain I suffered was not in vain. I know there is a reason we all went through that and I know that it will lead to something much greater.

      The point is, we are all human, we are all fallible, and *human events* like this, which is my phrase instead of calling them “failures” — human events like this help us learn what not to do and how to do it better.

      I don’t know how yet but I truly do believe this whole thing was a big learning experience that will help us move to a higher ground. If we hadn’t gone through this together as a group, I don’t think we would be able to handle the “bigger boat”.

  15. Thank you Anne-Marie. I’ve been following your blog for a while and value your input. What cod liver oil do you take now?

  16. Thank you for a well written and thoughtful article. Since the Fishy/WAPF scandal I have taken my family off FCLO. I have been waiting to hear more and thankful for this article. I would like to hear more about the lab testing. Welcome back Ann Marie we missed you. At least we got to see your babies on FB.

  17. Thank you so much for this (I got here from a link David Gumpert provided on his blog). It explains so much that I never knew. I joined WAPF at the beginning of 2010, and have attended the conferences from Dallas to Indianapolis, and will be attending this one, too (for a variety of reasons, particularly Stephanie Seneff, and seeing all the wonderful friends I’ve made-if they’re there!), but won’t be renewing in January. I’m also a founding member of the PPPF (didn’t know about the name change until now). I took the fclo/hvbo combination, 1/2 to 1 tsp. per day for about five years (until I ran out in May of this year, and didn’t have the bucks for it). I didn’t notice that anything was wrong, but this did coincide with the gradual loss of my ability to run more than a quarter mile without a walking recovery of a minute or two (Dr. Ron reported something similar). I had no idea Sally was the way she is. Should have been clued in by the way she attacked Paleo (our natural allies). I remember there was a big drop in attendance after that, and hearing people at the conference who were really pissed off about it. I still have the little cod liver oil book passed out in Santa Clara (not San Francisco), but had no idea there were such undercurrents going on in the CLO world. The PPPF will be a real blessing to all of us. Thanks again!

  18. While Dr Ron technically doesn’t say that he blames FCLO, if you read his blog post he clearly is pointing the finger at FCLO without any scientific proof. He uses phrases like “I suggest that you read this carefully (Dr Kaayla’s report) if you wish to fully understand the role fermented cod liver oil played in my heart failure”. If you actually read Dr Kaayla’s report you’ll understand it’s hardly conclusive and doesn’t really say much, especially regarding rancidity. It appears you have an ulterior motive like many recently, pushing people away from Green Pastures (with no real evidence the products are bad), moving away from WAPF, and also recommending EVCLO (known to use very negative marketing towards Green Pasture’s when it first came out). It’s kind of funny how a bunch of you have all done this at the same time. We know Dr Kaayla had a grudge against Sally Fallon, I think this is where it began.

    1. In the video interview I did with Dr. Ron, which will go live on my blog on Friday, he says he does blame FCLO. He didn’t at first – he wanted to believe it was just that he was taking too much. He wanted to believe that his friends were innocent and that he had not been recommending a product that is harming people. That is why he wanted Kaalya to find that the product was safe.

      But he took the same amount of Carlson’s (1-3 TBS I believe it was) for TWENTY FIVE years.

      Then he switched to the FCLO for 2 years (same amount) and ended up in the hospital with terminal heart failure. They gave him 3-6 months to live.

      He got off the stuff and his heart diseased completely reversed itself. Advanced heart failure is not reversible so his doctors considered it a “miraculous recovery”.

      I have read Kaayla’s report. I did think it was conclusive and I think it said plenty. How much more do you need — 5 labs, 10 reports from those labs and the WAPF Integrity in Science Award winner analyzing the information?

      I think it’s sad that you overlook the fact that Dr. Ron almost died and you want to make this about competing products or feuds within WAPF. It was never about any of that.

      Here’s the thing, Morg… Were you there when all of this went down?

      I was. I know all these people. They are my close friends.

      Do you know them?

      If the answer is no… if you don’t know these people well and you’re just making stuff up and/or repeating stories and gossip you’ve heard, you might want to actually listen to what the people involved are saying.

      1. Blaming FCLO for Dr Ron’s heart failure is very unscientific. It could purely be coincidence, something which does happen believe it or not. No I don’t know any of these people personally, GP/Rostita/WAPF, and that makes my opinion unbiased unlike yours. What about GP’s recent tests, from third party NAMED labs showing it’s fine?

  19. I used FCLO for18 months in the baby formula I made for my daughter. I never questioned, never researched…just trusted that the ingredients listed in the NT book were appropriate. I used the brands recommended by the book, and sourced most of them from Radiant Life Catalogue. My daughter is healthy, thank goodness. But I did discontinue the FCLO after she weaned off of formula, mainly because I found the taste and smell so completely repulsive.

    Now I feel bad, realizing that I don’t even know what FERMENTED cod liver oil is! I mean, you are right…how do you ferment oil? Oils have not sugars for bacteria and yeasts to consume! So I’m wondering if you can please enlighten me as to what is actually meant by “fermented” CLO? How is it different in processing and nutrients than plain old CLO? What makes it “fermented” and why was this supposedly preferable to plain, non-fermented oil?

    1. Leesha: Don’t feel bad. It’s water under the bridge, and likely no permanent harm came from this. As Dr. Ron tells us, he fully recovered from the effects of this stuff. Fermented cod liver oil is no different at all from the “barrel oil” once widely produced, and it is rancid, made from putrefying cod livers. Read Archie Welch’s little book, “Cod Liver Oil” (the link is above). Also read what the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation has to say (they are the custodian of the archive of Dr. Price’s work, and that link is also above). Sally has done a world of good in her time on this earth, but she made a colossal and dangerous blunder in promoting and defending a dangerous, unhealthful product.

  20. Thank you so much for this great information! I have been so lost following this drama and you really have cleared it up for me. Its great to see a new organization forming. I had a baby 6 months ago and follow WAPF principles but I am mostly paleo since i am also gluten free. I cook for families who want to eat nourishing food, whether its gaps, gluten free, traditional foods or paleo. It makes so much sense to join forces! i live in NH, about two hours from Southbridge, so I hope to attend the first conference.

  21. Whoa. You and I have walked very similar paths over the years. Nothing but love for you and your continued growth, both in failure and success. Fascinating reading, both your accounts and the links you have provided. Thank you so much for all you do! <3

  22. i’m still wondering where the Price Pottenger Foundation is in all this? and a little confused as to why a new organization needed forming when PPF already exists. Perhaps i’m a bit ignorant of the history there and why WAPF and PPF were two distinct entities anyway. As a side note… i think more than a few of us saw this coming. I found your conclusions valid and respectful. To say that i agree with your poignant words, “At the end of the day, this is not about keeping the community together. This is about truth.” would be a massive understatement. I’ve been in the bigger tent for awhile.

  23. I appreciate that you have taken the time to write this, but you have missed some crucial points and seem to lack a fundamental understanding of bioscience. This is the problem that many bloggers make – they are not scientists, they are bloggers. Rumours become facts, and personal feelings/ politics get involved.

    FCLO is not rancid in an oxidative sense, there are many tests to prove this. There may well be microbial hydrolysis, but this isn’t bad (it just creates free fatty acids, which is what our digestive system does anyway).

    FCLO is not toxic, and in fact has a very beneficial fatty acid profile.

    This debate has been polluted with politics of WAPF and FFNW (PPNF). Ignore all the politics and heresay, and look at the facts:

    GP is not the WAPF, despite their close affiliation. GP creates health supplements, whereas WAPF is an organisation which promotes a way of life what happens to include FCLO. If the politics of the WAPF are bad, don’t let it taint GP.

    Frankly I am disgusted the the actions of Kaayla, Gumpet and Dr Ron.

  24. Error 1: It isn’t the oil that it fermented but the liver itself, and yes it can be done as the liver has glycogen storage.

      1. Have you at all read Chris Masterjohns article regarding this debate?

        He has written about the issue around fermentation which might inform you more. However, it seem like you have already made up your mind a long time ago without really investigating and looking into all the evidence that has been present (besides of course Dr. Kaylaas report.)

        1. Dear Sebastian,

          Have you ever seen the judgments in your words and sentences? – Have you ever in your life questioned a professional scientist and his/ her writings?

          If you may on a positive and great day take Mr. Masterjohns article and investigate into that, line by line, paragraph by paragraph from the real scientific view, you may not be so clever at giving references on other people in your coming time as a living and creational human being.

          When a scientist knows or even do not know, that may reflect the true scientist. But when a scientist in his or her work belives or even imagines or try to belive, and do this in writing in an article like this, then I must say that this particular scientist has become just like an ordinary human being – that we all may be always.

          In your reply here to this pretty neutral article you are just as a whole lot of other claimed or even educated scientists, you are taking a stand for something that you do not want to let go of, and you are doing this even without going into their writings from a deeper scientific level and perspective at all.
          You are here acting as a judge!

          Do you know how easy it is to just ask the author of this article to get answers?
          Just try to imagine how it would be to ask if there might be anything you should want to know.
          Ask and you will get, that is what you may have if you do not already have judged and given the verdict!

          Have you ever in your life made your own conclusions without the usage of other people’s underlay named by you as scientifically proven – because it is written by someone that has titles and scientific titles?

          Are you aware that all written papers that are not presented in an enviroment of the scientific methods and its enviroment will allways be personal, and not scientific papers?

          Is it so in your eyes that educated scientists of this world are above the humans and their practical experiences? If so in your world, I do hope you will grow from within to be a real scentist of this world – a scentist of the new time for the real people of this world.

          So please Sebastian, be aware of your sentences …. they may sentence yourself with more just-is than you may understand and know.

          I pray upon your light and wisdom,
          Sincerely yours,

          1. Damien, are you a bot? Your comment reads like an automated spam email. Seriously. I challenge anyone to read Damien’s above comment, in its entirety, without laughing.

  25. Oh, yes, please do post the lab results information. Thank you so much for this well thought out article and taking the time in our behalf. I have signed up for the video recordings and am very excited to see them! I hope your finances turn around soon. I’m very glad you will be able to attend the conference. I can’t this year ($$) as well, but maybe someday I can. Have a wonderful time! God bless you!

  26. Hello, I am curious to know why you see the book review on Robert Lustig’s book as a form of shaming? Also, Sally did not write the book review. Sally and Kaayla reviewed the book review. I know the author of the review and he was in no way influenced by Sally. He is a PhD biochemist.

  27. Remarkable.

    Perhaps it’s because I”m on the autistic spectrum, and that my predominant relationship to the world is through my connection to reality, rather than my connection to other people, that it was clear to me a dozen years ago that the products Sally was pushing were not what they were claimed to be. Dave Wetzel in particular was entirely un-forthcoming with information. I could tell you stories, and did try to warn people, about everything from Chris Cogswell at Radiant Life to that Jupiter grinder that was claimed to be granite but wasn’t to … our Mr. McAfee. I had to conclude that Sally must be getting money from all this, and it’s really been unpleasant sitting around waiting for everyone to catch up these last dozen years. But in any case, here I get to my point. There is still too much entanglement with the supreme con man Mr. McAfee by the members of this new organization. David Gumpert in particular with his support of RaMI, and even Ron, as much as I love his book, took far too long to wake up, which makes me think he’s kind of naive. Now I gather you “Neuro-typicals” don’t like this kind of directness and want everything to be “nice”; but I don’t care. As I said, my relationship is to reality. (Though I do have a soft spot for dogs.)

    1. You hit the nail on the head, OatStraw – I certainly was naive about all this FCLO business, and slow to investigate properly especially since I was selling it. I’ve apologized for that. But I’m not passing judgment on Mark McAfee or anyone else. We each move at our own pace, and my hope is that he and many others still supporting the WAPF will see that what we are doing at the Paleo-Primal-Price Foundation is worthy of their support. And yes, we do want everything to be “nice” in our new organization in that we’d like all viewpoints to be heard and respected. Perhaps you will choose to connect with our reality!

  28. Hi Ann Marie,
    So glad to see you back! I always appreciate the amount of time and research you put in before posting your thoughts.
    I’m having trouble pinning your article to have as a reference later. The ‘error’ message from Pinterest is partially hidden behind any of the ‘pinable images’ I’ve tried, so I’m not sure what the problem is. What I can read is, “…his image may lead to…” Is there a way for you to figure that out? I’m not sure I’ve had this issue pinning something before.
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, you’ve presented some things I wasn’t aware of in this whole mess. Definitely gave me some more things to research for myself!

  29. Thank you for making your voice heard on this matter, and speaking from a place of compassion. I wish that more people in the real food community had the courage to speak up about this.
    I’m a single mom of three, and travelling isn’t easy for me. So I can’t make it to the conference, but I did purchase the videos, and am proud to support the new organization!

  30. I don’t know the science being “fermented oils”, but I do know that while I lived in the arctic for 3 years, I learned of an Inuit “delicacy”: fermented seal fat. This was called: “misirak”, and traditionally was made by stuffing a stomach (usually a seal’s, but could be caribou…) with fat, digging a hole in the ground, and leaving it there for many months (during the summer) or a year. I tasted it, and to me it tasted like blue cheese with a strong after taste. A problem the Inuit got into was that they started making it with “modern” appliances, and so would put seal fat in a plastic bin. They got very sick with an illness that I forget the name. The problem was that the seal stomach is porous even though it seems non porous, and dug in the ground, air still gets to it. However, a plastic container has no air going in, and that caused the problem.

  31. Thank you Ann Marie,

    Yes, please write more about the testing. Thank you. You’ve been missed – you were my first real food blog and newsletter I ever subcribed to 🙂
    Anya Marie Shortridge @ MyGardenHaven

  32. Thank you so much for this valuable information! I’m very disheartened to hear about the lack of quality of the fermented cod liver oil but more so over the attitudes from so many that I looked up to in the Weston a price foundation. It’s always so sad and unhealthy when people aren’t willing to look beyond their beliefs and resist questions . It does not have to be so combative and we should all be willing to be open minded and continue our education on what we know about health and foods and everything in between. Thank you for all your time and all your research as I am a mother with one and bring it with another I didn’t take fermented cod liver oil much this pregnancy because it just didn’t feel good on it. Now it’s starting to make more sense. I’m looking forward to following more of the Paleo price foundation.

  33. “I’m honestly surprised that more bloggers who have been promoting the FCLO over the years have not yet posted about this issue. A few people posted articles right after the report came out, but since then it’s been crickets.”

    I can only assume that many bloggers are not keen to jump in and declare themselves for or against any particular viewpoint when they are still evaluating the evidence. I’m not yet convinced that either side has it all right or all wrong, but I’m very unimpressed how both the WAPF and Kaayla Daniels and her crowd have handled this. I think highly of you and your opinion and I appreciate your investment of time and effort into delving into this subject and speaking to it, given, as you said, that you used to advocate taking FCLO. I look forward to further reports and hope to see you in Massachusetts in November!

    1. Of course. I’m not asking them to take a stand one way or the other, but I’m curious as to why more bloggers, especially the ones who have been ACTIVELY promoting GPP FCLO for years and years, are not speaking out and asking questions at least. Expressing concern at least. It’s curious to me.

      I hope to see you in Mass too – are you for sure coming?

      1. Yes I am! I signed up and paid. Now I need to arrange my ticket and hotel. This is a real financial challenge for me, but it seems like it could be a valuable conference.

  34. Still reading, but this jumps out: “When I spoke to Archie about his research at the conference in 2012, he said, “You can’t ferment oil.” This hit me like a thunderbolt. It’s true. You can’t ferment oil.” Well, that’s not exactly 100% true, but according to the general understanding of the common use of “fermentation,” which is bacterial transformation of sugar, no, oil cannot be fermented. So the name “fermented cod liver oil” has always been a bit of a misnomer. From my reading, the point of fermentation of the fish livers is to release the oil.

    However, there are various processes with various technical definitions that are also called fermentation but that are not the lactic-acid fermentation we in the real food world typically think of. There is alcoholic fermentation, and I have read about other types of fermentation processes. Fish sauce is fermented, and I believe it contains some protein and fats from fish. I believe this issue of types of fermentation (the various technical definitions used in food processing) was discussed in Chris Masterjohn’s initial response to the FCLO controversy. I haven’t seen what he may have written since then, and if I find the piece, I’ll post it here. But FCLO should be understood to mean the livers were fermented to release the oil. Whether that’s a good way to do it or not, I can’t say.

    1. Jeanmarie – you can ferment livers, but you can’t ferment oil.

      My beef with this is HOW does the oil stay fresh and not oxidized over a 6 month period of sitting in vats?

      Also why did Dave Wetzel tell us that we could store this oil in the cupboard for 6 months to a year? What is protecting it from rancidity?

        1. Ginny: Watch the interview with Archie Welch. This will answer your question (not at all a stupid question; in fact, a very important one). I believe it is a combination of vitamin E and rosemary (one of my favorite salad ingredients), and the fact that Corganics ships with a cold-pack.

          1. Yes. PUFAs are oxidized by exposure to air, heat, light and moisture.

            “One reason the polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture as in cooking and processing.” – Dr. Mary Enig


            Exposure to metal, too…


            So how can the FCLO sit in vats in a greenhouse for 6 months in 10,000 gallon vats and not go rancid? Presumably the vats are stainless steel — hard to find vats that are made from wood or other materials. But even if they were made from wood… 6 months in a greenhouse? Is it climate-controlled and kept at arctic conditions? Presumably not because you can’t “facto-ferment” something if it’s almost frozen.

            The whole thing makes no sense. I just don’t see how it can’t be rancid.

            Definitely not a stupid question.

            It is the ONE question everyone should be asking.

            The emperor has no clothes.

            1. Again, I don’t have those answers, but remember lacto-fermentation is not the only kind of fermentation. I don’t have the technical knowledge to judge chemical and mechanical production processes that I only know about from hearsay, andI also don’t assume that everyone opining on this has that necessary level of expertise and understanding, either, so I cannot come to a conclusion until I get further information.

              1. The question is not about fermentation… we know that the fermentation is used just to release the oil.

                The question I have is HOW does the oil NOT go rancid when exposed to air, light and heat?

                David Wetzel wrote on the GPP FAQ that the oil is exposed to sunlight via the solar roof. Then, after Kaayla’s report came out, he changed the FAQ to say that they do NOT expose the oil to sunlight. So which is it? And why did he change the FAQ after the report came out?

                I delved into these questions in depth in my interview with one of the world’s leading marine oil/PUFA expert — his answers were shocking. The video with him will go up tomorrow (Friday).

      1. I sure don’t have those answers, and I have wondered about it since before Kaayla Daniels’ report, so I’m glad more testing is being done and hope to get some clarity. (But fermentation of non-sugary foods was discussed in one of the gazillion posts I have read since this controversy started, and as best as I can recall, it was in Chris Masterjon’s piece. I’ll find and read it.) FWIW, I tossed my half-open bottle of FCLO, though I’m keeping my unopened one for now, and so not taking it for now. I am obviously not supportive of anything that is causing widespread harm, if that is indeed the case, but I am not convinced of all the allegations I have read about. (I am not questioning any individual cases, only to what extent harm is widespread, and whether it is inevitable or a matter of individual intolerance.) I think it wise to stop taking something and doing more research if their are negative indications, but I am still uncomfortable with the way this has been handled — and that does NOT mean I’m on the side of the WAPF or GP, I just have seen so many blog posts and comments that *to me* seemed to be jumping to conclusions and making some pretty drastic assumptions about various people’s motives or states of minds, that that makes me suspicious and uncomfortable. I do not know what is the truth and what is not; I am still investigating. I am not taking sides.
        Thanks again for delving into this issue.

    1. I ordered some from Amazon recently but I haven’t tried it yet. I really liked the Rosita EVCLO that I tasted at the Paleo-Primal-Price Foundation conference this weekend so I’ll probably order some of that. It’s also good to remember that not everyone has to take CLO, and not necessarily daily. Now I’m glad that I never took FCLO on a really regular basis. I never noticed any negative effects other than making my throat burn! And, now that I think about it, nausea a couple of times.

  35. Pingback: Die Ergebnisse des Tests Schock fermentiert Lebertran | Abnehmen Leicht Gemacht
  36. Any insights into Green Pasture’s Fermented Blue Skate Oil? Is that safe to consume? I have a bottle and take it sporadically…

    1. No, in my opinion it is not safe.

      As I say, I do not understand how the fish oil Green Pasture is selling is not rancid if it has been sitting out exposed to air and light for months on end. Wetzel says he lets it sit in vats for month. What protects it from rancidity?

      Unless I hear back from Wetzel re: how he is protecting this oil from rancidity, I assume it is not safe for human consumption.

    1. Interesting but wrong… garum is not the same thing as fermented cod liver oil.

      One reason: “The very high salt content prevents food borne pathogenic bacteria growing1, yet is tolerated by specific species of bacteria including Lactobacillis spp and Enterobacteria spp2,3.”

      They don’t add salt to FCLO, and it goes rancid.

  37. Fermented CLO never made sense to me, as you can only ferment carbohydrates. I always took fresh CLO.

  38. I think I’m going to have to stop taking FCLO. I started taking it when pregnant because my teeth would always get cavities or infected when I was pregnant. Well it absolutely did help my teeth and cleared up infections. I was amazed! Saved me a second root canal. Then, years later, I got pregnant again and started taking it. I developed a form of eczema called pomphollyx. It’s gross. I was leeching liquid out of my skin. I’ve always had different forms of allergies and eczema and thought pregnancy hormones and food allergies were the culprit. Now my fourth pregnancy and I’m having more symptoms while taking FCLO for my teeth and it sounds an awful lot like liver toxicitity. My pompholyx I think was initially caused by the FCLO and it blows up whenever I take it. It really did help my teeth though. But it’s killing me otherwise.

  39. I have a simple question. Why is it “rancid” fclo that is supposedly causing people so many extreme health problems, but the surely rancid vegetable oils that almost everyone else eats does not do the same? I mean most of the people who come into these diets do so after having spent years on the Standard American Diet, and oftentimes, not having yet developed chronic disease. Then why does *this* “rancid” oil cause problems that other rancid oils did not? Is it at all possible a coincidence? All these stories of people almost dying or developing a condition a while after taking fclo seem, in my opinion, to be scapegoating, without proof. This is not only with the people who had no previous conditions; I can’t count how many of the anti-fclo story tellers openly admit they have preexisting health conditions that can lead to certain problems, and then when it happens, still they blame the fclo. It’s like everyone who ever took fclo and something bad happened automatically blame it because that’s what a lot of other people are doing. Personally, I don’t believe it’s rancid. I had an “empty” bottle of Garden of Life clo that I left in a drawer for a few months, and when I opened it up to clean it out, it smelled horrendous. Certainly THAT was rancid. But it was not at all like the smell of fclo. I don’t think it even tastes bad. Powerful, but not gross.
    I’m saying this as someone who does not sell nor benefit in any way from promoting fclo; I’ve just read several of the articles surrounding this controversy that apparently happened a few years ago. I’m only about a third of the way through my first bottle. I got it to help with my acne; it seemed to help for a few weeks, but I’m breaking out again and I’m not sure what’s up. I might switch back to Garden of Life, which used to give me nice skin and it cost a lot less. Apparently no one trusts them, but at least the label says the vitamins are natural to the oil and not synthetically added.

  40. My doctor told me to take the butter oil from GP. I pointed this whole scandal out to her and she dismissed it as people trying to undermine WAPF. She was adamant. How do we know for sure who's right and who's telling the truth? She said the test results were botched or rigged, I forgot, that was a year or 2 ago.

  41. Umm, what?

    You can absolutely ferment cod liver oil. You soak the cod livers in brine before grinding them up. It’s a very simple process. Please stop listening to dumb people on the internet who probably also believe the world is flat and the coronavirus came from people eating bats.

    It just doesn’t work that way

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