Update on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal & WAPF-Gate

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I wanted to write an update on the fermented cod liver oil scandal and WAPF-Gate. I posted a whole series of articles and videos on my blog last fall. Here's the first post I wrote: My Take on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal (there are several more that I wrote after that.)

One of my readers sent me a link to this article by Jaclyn Harwell on her blog, The Family That Heals Together: The Weston A. Price Foundation Vindicated Kaayla Daniel in the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Controversy.

It's worth reading. The author makes some interesting points.

I especially like the timeline in the post that clearly illustrates how the whole thing went down. Click over to the post to see the timeline.

The timeline shows:

  • In 2014, Dr. Kaayla Daniel, former Vice President of the Weston Price Foundation (WAPF), requested that the WAPF board do independent testing of the Green Pasture brand fermented cod liver oil (FCLO). The WAPF had always published Green Pastures' testing data and had never done independent testing.
  • The WAPF board voted no on the independent testing. Keep in mind, the WAPF board is appointed, not elected. All members are appointed by WAPF President, Sally Fallon.
  • In 2015, Dr. Kaayla Daniel sent the products out for independent testing and published her “whistleblower report” in August, 2015 (one year ago). Daniel was promptly removed from the WAPF board.
  • In November 2015, WAPF finally does independent testing of the FCLO (after heavily promoting it for over a decade). The results were very close the independent test results in Dr. Kaayla's whistleblower report.
  • As of August 2016, the Weston Price Foundation and Green Pasture Products still have not updated their websites with the data from the independent test results WAPF published almost a year ago.

Again, please click over to Jaclyn's website to get a visual of the timeline. It's very well done.

My Take On All Of This

I am disgusted by the lack of integrity we have seen from both the Weston A. Price Foundation and Green Pasture Products. These two organizations have worked in tandem over a decade to promote a product, FCLO, that is very questionable in terms of safety.

The mislabeling of the nutritional value and the ingredients is one thing… but the potential rancidity of the product is a much bigger issue.

Is Fermented Cod Liver Oil Rancid?

To this day I cannot understand how this “FCLO” (or perhaps it should be called FPLO since the reports found they were using pollack as opposed to cod) is not rancid.

All the fish oil experts I interviewed (and I spoke to three different people, but I only posted one of the interviews on my blog) said that fish oil goes rancid and becomes toxic when it is exposed to light, air, and heat.

This is why fish oil manufacturers go to great lengths to protect these delicate oils from exposure to light, air, and heat. This is also why fish oil manufacturers recommend on their websites that you should store fish oil in the refrigerator after opening. Because when you open the bottle, the oil is exposed to air. Storing it in the fridge helps to slow down the rancidity. Rancidity is inevitable with all marine oils which is why they recommend that you store it in the fridge and buy it in small bottles and use it quickly within a matter of a couple months.

But we have yet to hear how Green Pasture Products' fermented cod liver oil is processed. The owner, Dave Wetzel, has gone on record repeatedly saying that the FCLO is exposed to light and air. He has also never come forward to explain how he processes the oil.

I emailed Dave Wetzel and Sally Fallon asking for more information last year. Neither one of them ever wrote back. If the manufacturing process at Green Pasture Products does not expose the oil to light, air, and heat, why hasn't Dave Wetzel, in almost a year, come forward in the spirit of transparency to share what his processes are? We have no information from him about how he protects this oil from rancidity.

When I compare that to the interviews I've done with three different sources, all three people who are very involved in fish oil manufacturing… they spoke at great length and in great detail about how they protect their marine oils from exposure to light, air, and heat, from boat to bottle and capsule. They have many processes that protect the oil, such as manufacturing plants with dim lighting and processes to remove the air from the bottle when they package it.

But here it is, almost a year later, and we haven't heard a peep from David Wetzel or Sally Fallon about how he is manufacturing this oil.

Brushing Off Heart Disease By Claiming It Was the Dosage

On the WAPF website, Sally Fallon wrote last year that “IF” Dr. Ron Schmid's heart disease was caused by taking cod liver oil, it was because he took “too much”. She says that the WAPF recommendations are to take 1 teaspoon per day.

Here is what Fallon wrote on the WAPF website:

Sally Fallon WAPF 1 teaspoon FCLO heart failure

However, on the Green Pasture Products FAQ page, under the part about how much we should take, there is a video of Sarah Pope, WAPF board member and author of The Healthy Home Economist blog, recommending that people take 1 teaspoon of FCLO per day.

Sarah Pope

In the video, Sarah Pope says, “A large spoon is a teaspoon, believe it or not. It's not a tablespoon.”

Except the spoon she holds up is a tablespoon, not a teaspoon.

Here's the video (it's set to start playing when she holds up the tablespoon):

Last year, after I rewatched Sarah's video, I measured a number of large spoons from various flatware settings. All measured a tablespoon, not a teaspoon. I guess Sarah did not actually measure it?

So Sarah Pope, by her own admission, has (unwittingly) been taking 1 tablespoon of FCLO for years… and Sally Fallon said on the WAPF website that could cause heart disease.

Let that sink in.

Can you trust these people?

More Misinformation

And that's not the only misinformation they have published… you can still find gems like these on the WAPF website:

According to a recent WAPF-funded analysis by UBE Laboratories, fish eggs contain 17,000 IU vitamin D per tablespoon!

17,000? Really?

According to the USDA, salmon roe, or caviar, has 19 IU of vitamin D.

USDA Salmon Roe

Um… that's kind of a HUGE difference. Just to give you an idea of how outrageous this is, one 3-ounce salmon filet contains 447 IU of vitamin D.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 1.52.59 PM

You would have to eat 38 servings of salmon to get 17,000 IU of vitamin D. That's over SEVEN pounds of salmon! How is it possible that one tablespoon of salmon roe has the same amount of vitamin D?

Sadly, when you google “salmon roe vitamin D”, the number one search result is WAPF board member, Sarah Pope's article, Fish Eggs: Superior Vitamin D Boost in which she repeats that same number, 17,000 IU in a tablespoon of fish eggs. There are even commenters questioning her on the post… but she just says it's from a study WAPF did.

This incorrect information has been published on multiple websites, all parroting the same number: Nourishing Our Children, Real Food Forager, The Coconut Mama, Holistic Squid and others.

Integrity Matters

For all of these reasons, I continue to be suspicious of Green Pasture Products and WAPF, as I think we all should be.

I'm also disappointed in most of the bloggers in the WAPF community who have not questioned or reported on this scandal. The same bloggers who promoted FCLO for years have been silent throughout this whole scandal. The ones who have not been silent continue to promote FCLO.

For all of the reasons above, as I relaunch Cheeseslave, I am in the process of removing all links to the Weston Price Foundation from my website. As much as I appreciate what I learned from “Nourishing Traditions” and Sally Fallon, and as grateful as I am for all the connections and community that I built from the WAPF, I feel that this lack of integrity is egregious and I can no longer trust anything they say or publish.

My integrity is everything. If my readers cannot trust what I publish, there is no reason for you to read my blog. I cannot link to a website run by an organization that refuses to act in a responsible way.

It's very sad to me when people don't take responsibility for their actions. I guess many people are making money off of the current setup, so they don't want to speak out. And maybe they don't want to “rock the boat” or “burn bridges”.

I think what Kaayla did by publishing her whistleblower report, and the people who supported her, showed a lot of integrity. It's never easy to be the one pointing things people don't want to hear. It's never easy to stand out. But oftentimes that is what has to be done in order to make the world a better place.

Thank you to Jacklyn who wrote the post over at The Family That Heals Together. I'm grateful that you took the time to inform us and I am grateful for your display of integrity.

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.

12 thoughts on “Update on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal & WAPF-Gate

  1. I’m really wondering about the UBE Laboratories. Their findings are always way off at least where WAPF and Green Pasture are concerned. UBE found only D2 in FCLO and no D3, when D2 shouldn’t be in CLO at all as it’s from plant sources. Covance Laboratory found only D3 when they tested the FCLO, but in very low amounts.

    WAPF and Green Pasture obviously don’t go by the industry standard which they’ve actually said on their website. They don’t believe in USDA standards either, which makes no sense at all and I wonder why more people aren’t scratching their heads.

    I had someone tell me it’s all about interpreting the test results, not the actual results themselves.

    1. Yes it was the UBE Laboratories that found 17,000 IU of vitamin D in one tablespoon of salmon roe. This is bizarre. No one else, to my knowledge, has replicated these findings. Which makes me question Sally Fallon’s judgement as to why she would publicize it.

    1. I buy the Rosita EVCLO from Corganic. I take it myself and give it to my family. I think it is the best on the market.

      I think there are other brands that are good, too. Like Nordic Naturals. But I believe the raw EVCLO is the very best.

      Disclosure: They are friends of mine, but they don’t pay me to say that. They are not currently a sponsor — I don’t have any sponsors. They were a sponsor in past years.

      I need to write a blog post about why we still take cod liver oil. I think it is a very valuable supplement for many reasons.

    1. How does that make me a hypocrite? I am coming forward and saying I was wrong. It’s easier to say nothing, which is what almost everyone else is doing.

      Thanks for pointing out that post. I hadn’t gotten around to fixing it yet.

  2. Here we go again………… *YAWN*

    Ann Marie, I truly feel sorry for you. You tried, there was an explosion of rapid-fire posts, nothing happened, people screamed at the top of their lungs, nothing happened. Stop beating this dead horse with a stick. No one, except for a handful of followers of specific blogs, actually buys what you’re saying about FCLO anymore.

    1. Hi, “TJ”,

      You know what I hate? People who post on my blog anonymously using fake email addresses.

      Based on your IP address, it looks like your in the Virginia/D.C. area so I’m guessing you’re somehow affiliated with the Weston A. Price Foundation. Gee, why does that not surprise me?

      Are you making money off of WAPF? Maybe that’s why you are criticizing me and the facts I’m presenting.

      I don’t like anonymous commenters because I think it’s cowardly. if you want to say something to me, identify yourself.

      Yeah, I am not holding my breath.

      1. Oh and “a handful of followers”? To date, since I started blogging about it last year, the posts I’ve done on the fermented cod liver oil scandal alone have racked up over 60,000 pageviews… these posts have reached tens of thousands of unique visitors.

        And I’m just getting started.

        So, TJ, if you’re getting a paycheck or somehow benefitting from the WAPF, you might want to look for a new gig. Because it’s only a matter of time before the truth is exposed.

  3. In November 2015 I was 49 years old and began researching ways to better my health. FCLO was one of the supplements I found and I began taking it regularly. About 5 months into taking it, I began having increasingly worse heartburn and burping, but never connected it to the FCLO I was taking. Sometimes the episodes were so painful it made me feel panicky and all I wanted to do was drink cold seltzer water and stop moving until the pain subsided. One night the pain was so bad that I ended up in the bathroom sobbing and throwing up. I went to my doctor and after answering his questions, he wasn’t convinced the pain was stomach-related and ordered an EKG. Imagine my surprise when I was told that the EKG showed I had most likely had a heart attack in the recent past. The painful episodes have continued, but have not been as bad as that one, and I started to wonder if something I was taking could be causing the pain and stopped taking my vitamins and the FCLO until I could do some research, which led me to this site. Since I stopped taking the FCLO, the “heartburn” pain has decreased significantly which tells me I am on the right track. I am scheduled for a cardiac perfusion stress test to determine if this was definitely a heart attack and how severe it was. I am devastated to think that a supplement that I was taking could have led to this, but I am grateful to have found the information in this site. If anyone has any recommendations on a brand of Cod Liver Oil that is safe I would appreciate any suggestions.

  4. I never trusted WAPF. I read Price’s book, and WAPF’s recommendations didn’t line up with Price’s, in my mind. (For one thing he didn’t recommend fermented foods, poi being the exception, whereas WAPF pushes them) I read Nourishing Traditions, and it was full of a lot of noble savage and good-old-days myths. Many of their “scientific” references are poor studies, outdated studies, or just misrepresented. I think Price would be furious at what’s been promoted in his name.

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