Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth..." /> Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Still on the Hook | Dr. Kaayla Daniel


Published on September 9th, 2016 | by DrKaayla


Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Still on the Hook!

Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth about Fermented Cod Liver Oil
came out a year ago, and stirred up quite a fuss in the Weston A. Price Foundation, paleo and real food communities.

For those who have not been following the controversy, here’s a brief summary.

I wrote the report following a nearly year-long investigation of the Green Pasture brand “Fermented Cod Liver Oil” (FCLO), a product that was — and is—  heavily promoted by Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF).

Prior to undertaking this investigation, I spent months trying to convince Fallon Morell and the WAPF Board of the need to examine growing evidence that the Green Pasture products were “not as advertised” and appeared to be contributing to and even causing serious health problems, hospitalizations and deaths.

That discussion did not go well, however, because Fallon Morell insisted there was no problem with her pet product.  Although I was then Vice President of WAPF and had won the foundation’s 2005 Integrity in Science Award, she dismissed my concerns as “stupid” and scoffed at preliminary laboratory data showing the product to be rancid, putrid and low in the fat-soluble vitamins A and D.  She dismissed the world’s leading fats and oils experts as “bought off” by the marine oils industry and insisted the only reliable source of information was David Wetzel, the owner of Green Pasture.  In person and through email communications, she strongly advised me to let Wetzel “set me straight” and stated that she would not give credence to any laboratory data that was “not fair to Dave.”

On December 12, 2014, WAPF’s Board of Directors voted against testing as unnecessary based on Fallon Morell’s beliefs, Wetzel’s assurances, Geoffrey Morell’s dowsing and pendulum swinging, and scientific data procured by Fallon Morell that was of limited and questionable value. I was strongly advised to relax, leave the science to people who could be “fair to Dave,” and to toe the FCLO line.


While it was tempting to just step away, this was not a minor debate about the merits of different brands. The safety of men, women and children was at stake.  People already seemed to have been gravely harmed.  Because WAPF had promoted this product, and I had served WAPF faithfully for more than ten years, I felt a personal responsibility to step up and investigate.  I had hoped to exonerate the product.  Instead, I found damning evidence that I could not allow to be covered up.


As reported last year in Hook, Line and Stinker, data from top laboratories in the U.S, U.K., Norway and the Netherlans, showed the Green Pasture “Fermented Cod Liver Oil” product to be rancid, putrid, not fermented and offering only modest levels of Vitamin A and almost no Vitamin D.  Furthermore, DNA testing revealed Green Pasture’s “cod livers” to be “pollock livers,” a fact that many people regard as “consumer fraud.”  Even more shocking was data from several laboratories that showed the Green Pasture pollock liver oil to contain high levels of trans fats of a type found only in industrially processed vegetable oils.

These findings came as no surprise to fats and oils experts around the world, many of whom told me it was “the most rancid oil” they’d ever tasted or tested.  Some suspected it was not from arctic cod — or even cod at all.  Although the majority of my sources requested anonymity because of their academic positions, Drs. Bo Martinsen, Gjermund Vogt and Rudi Moerck have spoken up publicly and/or posted online about the obvious rancidity in the Green Pasture “fermented cod liver oil” product.

Despite substantial evidence — and growing numbers of complaints from consumers harmed by the product — Sally Fallon Morell continues to defend and promote it.  Over the past year I have chosen not to engage in an ongoing debate because I had done my duty and paid a high price for it physically, emotionally and financially. I wanted to move on with my life. More importantly, I had already addressed Fallon Morell’s arguments in Hook, Line and Stinker and in a series of blogs published on this website last fall.  I am clarifying a few matters now because false statements about my work and motives abound on the internet and it is apparent that many people have either not read my report or did not read it carefully.

This blog is the first in a series intended to answer Frequently Asked Questions about Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil and to provide requested updates.

Q  Sally Fallon Morell assures us that she had the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil properly tested and it was proven safe by Martin Grootveld of De Montfort University in Leicester. Why don’t you accept his findings?

A  Fallon Morell claims Professor Grootveld is an expert on NMR testing and marine oils. “Highly qualified,” she writes and she lists some impressive-sounding academic positions.1 In truth, Grootveld’s long resumé is short on credentials in marine oils. His official biography2 lists no publications on this topic, and a Pub Med search reveals just one.3

Prof. Grootveld’s credibility as a “marine oils expert” is further undermined by the fact that he made two basic errors in his December 12, 2014 letter to Sally Fallon Morell.4  In that letter, published on the WAPF website and repeatedly used by Fallon Morell to prop up her case for FCLO, he misidentified EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) as a 22:5 fatty acid and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) as a 24:6 fatty acid. The correct nomenclature for EPA is 20:5, and for DHA 22:6.  (In chemistry shorthand, two numbers separated by a colon provide the chain length and number of double bonds.)

This is basic science. No genuine marine oils expert would ever make such an error.  And no capable undergraduate student would have made that error either.

I just read Sally’s defense of FCLO testing in the Spring 2016 issue of Wise Traditions. It would appear to rest on Dr. Grootveld’s credentials. Is he, in fact, a fats and oils expert?

A  In addition to the  2003 paper on marine oils noted above, Professor Grootveld published three papers on the topic of heated and reheated vegetable oils in the 1990s.6-8  He was not the lead author.  Add in the fact that he hasn’t published much else, if anything, on this topic in more than twenty years, it would be a stretch to call him an expert in the field. He’s researched many different topics over the course of his career, but lately has focused on mouth rinses, dental fluoride and teeth whitening.9-12

So if you need help attaining fresh breath and white teeth, call on him. Then again, maybe not, if you accept long-standing evidence that fluoride is toxic to body and brain. Indeed this fluoride proponent states that parts of the state of Karnataka India may require “fluoridation treatment in order to mitigate for dental caries and further ailments related to fluoride deficiency.”13  

Q  Sally Fallon says Grootveld is a leader in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technology and NMR is the gold standard for rancidity testing.14  Why didn’t you use it?

A  I did use it!  NMR stands as a stunning example of modern technology. The group that ushered in this technology — and remains the leader in the field — is SINTEF, headquartered in Trondheim, Norway.  Its speciality is marine oils.  Curious then, that Fallon Morell did not choose SINTEF for testing. Then again, it makes perfect sense given that the spectra image and data analysis provided me by SINTEF  provided results sharply discrepant from those Fallon Morell wished to achieve.

In contrast, Grootveld has used NMR primarily for studies on saliva and other subjects unrelated to fats and oils.15-19  Furthermore, his December 12, 2014 report sent to Fallon Morell20 did not include a spectra, which would have allowed others to evaluate the quality of his work.  He did provide visuals with his Spring 2016 report but they are notably blurry, cluttered and hard to read.  A spectra is a visual image showing the pattern of separated substances obtained through NMR technology or other analytical techniques.

SINTEF, the world’s leaders in testing fish oil using 1H NMR and 13C NMR technology, reported high levels of hydrolytic rancidity. The researchers also reported “interference from the brown pigment” of FCLO21 but Grootveld did not.  Why was that?  Was he more skilled?  Or did he employ questionable technique?

The answer is, Grootveld used 1H NMR technology, but the gold standard is testing with both 13C NMR and 1H NMR.  Similarly, his method involved only deuterated chloroform (CDCL3) when dimethyl-sulfoxide-d6 (DMSO) was also needed. In rancidity testing, peroxide peaks are most easily observed when deuteriated chloroform is used while aldehydes peaks are better seen in a mix of choloroform and DMSO.  In brief, his methods were incomplete and not fully capable of revealing the peroxide and aldehyde peaks associated with the primary and secondary stages of rancidity.23 Because any bottle of FCLO tested last year would have already reached tertiary or end-stage rancidity, the peroxides and aldehydes would almost certainly have been low anyway. The point is, his technique was not up to the task.

Q  Sally Fallon dismisses TBARS (Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances) as an “inexpensive, inadequate and inferior” testing method compared to to NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). She said Grootveld called it “analytical garbage.”24  She said you relied on that.  Shame on you!  

Did you even read Hook, Line and Stinker? Fallon Morell is counting on the fact that most of her followers did not. The fact is, my report includes rancidity data obtained from laboratories using many analytical methods. These methods included TBARS and NMR, among others.  My report furthermore discussed the pros, cons and limitations of each method in depth, and did not rely on TBARS for its final conclusions.  Read the report. Technical matters are explained in clear English. The content was vetted by leading experts in the field.  Do not count on Fallon Morell to give you accurate information.

Q  WAPF found FCLO to be far more “stable” than other cod liver oils sold. You say it’s rancid. I don’t know what to believe.

A  Fallon Morell writes, “It is interesting to speculate on why the brown fermented cod liver oil is so stable, free from any detectable breakdown products.”25

The reason it is “stable” is simple. No speculation required!  FCLO is “stable” because it has completed its rancidity cycle. It has reached the end-stage and is stable enough to serve as varnish or paint. When evaluating FCLO or any other oil, product, it is crucial to understand the stages of rancidity.  For a full discussion of rancidity issues, read Section II of Hook, Line and Stinker.

As natural food health experts have been advising for years, “If it won’t go bad, don’t eat it. If it will go bad, eat it before it does.”  Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and other books has also advanced and popularized that concept.

  “Don’t eat anything that’s not capable of rotting.”– Michael Pollan26  

The bottom line is oils are supposed to go rancid.  Most oil and supplement companies choose manufacturing techniques that help maintain freshness and delay that process as long as possible.  An oil should start to go bad if left out on the countertop. Fish liver oils are especially vulnerability to rancidity because of high DHA, EPA and omega 3 polyunsaturated oil content.  They need to be carefully protected from heat, light and air.  Is Fallon Morell testing fish liver oils like that because she has a poor understanding of fats and oils?  Or is she trying to rig the testing to favor FCLO?

Isn’t Sally Fallon a fats and oils expert?

A  No.  Her credibility rests entirely on books and articles co-authored with the late Mary G. Enig, PhD. Dr. Enig specialized in fats and oils and was widely respected in the scientific community for her brilliance, courage and integrity. Until her retirement in the mid 2000s, Dr. Enig carefully reviewed articles coauthored with Fallon Morell to ensure they were backed by science.

When she founded the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fallon Morell deferred to the seniority and authority of Dr. Enig. She now disparages all who disagree with her as “bought by industry” and seeks out “experts” who see things her way.  A fine example of this is her choice of Professor Martin Grootveld, an academic with slim credentials in fats and oils and almost none in marine oil.

Q  Did Dr. Mary Enig endorse FCLO? Did she test it?

No.  Green Pasture introduced FCLO in 2006, after Dr. Enig had mostly retired. The cod liver oil product Mary recommended was not FCLO, but an earlier product, imported by Green Pasture from Norway and privately labeled. That product was a high-quality arctic cod liver oil.  It was not fermented and bore no resemblance whatsoever to FCLO.

Q  We know that WAPF has paid substantial sums of money for Chris Masterjohn’s education, laboratory and advice over the years. If Sally has “bought” Dr. Masterjohn, then why didn’t his August 29, 2015 defense27 come out firmly on the side of FCLO?  It runs on and on and is confusing and unfocused.

A  No way he could focus, with one eye on Sally’s largesse and the other eye on his reputation.  Lynne Farrow, author of The Iodine Crisis, summed it up neatly with the words: “This is what I would have written if I wanted to filibuster a not too bright professor.”28

Q  Why did you drag Sally into your net?  The issues are with David Wetzel and Green Pasture.

A.  Because Fallon Morell has effectively served as the “marketing arm” for Green Pasture ever since the product was introduced to the public in 2006.  Few would have continued to buy that brown and bad-tasting product had she not been pushing it as “the only cod liver oil we love” and “our number one superfood.”

Q  Sally’s maiden name is Wetzel. Is she related to David Wetzel and Green Pasture? Is she personally profiting from his products as an early investor? Someone must have invested in the start up cost of his operation. If she’s getting a royalty on every single bottle sold, she’d be making millions, right?  

 Online genealogical sites provide no evidence that Fallon Morell is related to David Wetzel.  She is a daughter of the late aviation pioneer Harry Wetzel. However, she has told several people that she feels a profound “spiritual connection” with David Wetzel and that he is a deadringer for one of her ancestors.  She denies any financial relationship with Wetzel — either personally or through the Weston A. Price Foundation.  The extent to which she has promoted and defended this product, however, suggests otherwise.  I think a full investigation is in order.

 Should I switch to the Green Pasture Fermented Skate Liver Oil? Is that a good product?

A  Because of the high costs of laboratory testing, I focused on Green Pasture’s FCLO and X-Factor Butter Oil, the two products most heavily promoted by the Weston A. Price Foundation. Given the  disturbing results of that investigation, I have to ask why you would even consider buying from this company? If the product’s “fermented,” it’s most likely rancid and putrid. If the label says “skate livers,” the livers might be from skate, pollock or something else altogether. As for the promised high vitamin content, don’t count on it. Add in the fact that both the FCLO and the X-Factor Butter Oil were sold for years with misleading — some would say fraudulent — labels, and I cannot think of one good reason to support this company.

Reputable companies providing honest products at a fair price do exist. Patronize them.

Q  The Weston A. Price Foundation says it took your allegations seriously and tested several brands of cod liver oil after your report was published. Didn’t their test results prove that FCLO is truly a “high vitamin” cod liver oil? Didn’t that article vindicate FCLO?

A Sally Fallon Morell reported the results of testing several brands of cod liver oil, including FCLO, in the Spring issue of Wise Traditions.29 Although she continues to claim it to be a “high vitamin cod liver oil,” a careful look at her data shows FCLO has an extremely low level of Vitamin D at only 59 IUs of Vitamin D per teaspoon. Fallon Morell also reported Vitamin A levels at 3,125 IUs per teaspoon, which is an appreciable amount, but significantly lower than what she lists on the foundation’s cod liver oil recommendations page. On that page — which has yet to be updated — Sally Fallon Morell continues to praise FCLO for its alleged 9,500 IU per teaspoon of vitamin A and alleged 1,950 IU per teaspoon of vitamin D.  Indeed, it would be impossible to find such high numbers in a natural, unsupplemented fish liver oil.  And that’s a good thing, given the very real dangers of Vitamin A and D toxicity.  That’s not been problem for people taking FCLO.  Rather many have shown clinically low levels of Vitamin D, contributing to a host of health problems.  FCLO’s modest levels of Vitamin A are the likeliest reason some people claim to have benefited from the product despite its rancidity and other dangers.

The bottom line is, Fallon Morell’s test results did not vindicate FCLO and her opinions. Rather the data closely matched my findings of low levels of vitamin D and modest levels of Vitamin A.  It vindicated me and the need for my investigation.

Are there high levels of phenols in FCLO?  Is that why it’s brown?  Would phenols keep it from going rancid?

Sally Fallon Morell would like you to think so. She speculates that FCLO might be high in phenols similar to those found in extra virgin olive oil.  Thanks to the magic of these putative phenols, Fallon Morell says,“the dark translucent color of fermented cod liver oil should not be taken as an indication of rancidity, but as a sign that the oil is stable and safe.”30

It’s understandable that Fallon Morell would like to find phenols in Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil. The phenols found in fresh extra virgin olive oil serve as antioxidants and also contribute to the peppery “burn” characteristic of a true olive oil. Phenols — if anyone could actually find them in a natural fish liver oil— could thus explain two major problems associated with the FCLO: its rancid brown color and the fact that so many consumers have reported a burning in their throats.  However, the likelihood that phenols similar to those found in extra virgin olive oil would naturally appear in Green Pasture, or any other fish liver oil, products is remote.

With few exceptions, phenols are found  in plant foods.  Yes, polyphenols such as the secoiridoids and phlorotannins appear in fish that eat large quantities of algae.31 But the problem is this: cod do not eat algae. Nor do pollock, an important point given that DNA testing in 2015 showed Green Pasture’s arctic cod livers to be Alaskan pollock. Although the feeding patterns of cod and pollock differ somewhat, both are “generalist predators” that feed on a wide variety of fish, invertebrates .  . . and even their own young.  (Yes, they are cannibals.)32

Phenols have also been found in fish that live downstream from oil refineries.33  The researchers found the toxic phenols in fish flesh. Whether they also appear in the fish livers is uncertain. In any case, David Wetzel claims his fish livers come from pristine waters.

The bottom line? If future laboratory testing reveals phenols in FCLO, the likeliest reason is Green Pasture added them.  The reason he would do that is some types of phenols are more effective at preventing oxidation in fish oil than the synthetic antioxidants, BHQ, BTA, TBHQ.34,35 Over the years, Wetzel has repeatedly disparaged antioxidants as overrated and unnecessary for the preservation of his unique product. To use standard antioxidants now — whether natural or synthetic — would be to admit both the need and the error of his ways. Neither he nor Fallon Morell is about to do that. But adding brown and burning phenols to the product could be the answer to their prayers.  If so, it’s hardly coincidental that Fallon Morell has already spun phenols into the official FCLO myth.




1.  http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/report-cod-liver-oil-2/

2. http://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/academic-staff/health-and-life-sciences/martin-grootveld/martin-grootveld.aspx)

3.  Siddiqui N, Sim J, Silwood CJ, Toms H, Iles Ra, Grootveld M.   Multicomponent analysis of encapsulated marine oil supplements using high-resolution 1H and 13C NMR techniques. J Lipid Res. 2003 Dec;44(12):2406-27.

4. http://www.westonaprice.org/wp-content/uploads/13GrootveldReport.pdf

5. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/report-cod-liver-oil-2/

6. Sheerin AN, Silwood C, Lynch E, Grootveld M.  Production of lipid peroxidation products in culinary oils and facts during episodes of thermal stressing: a high field 1H NMR investigation. Biochem Soc Trans. 1997 Aug;25(3):495S.

7. Atherton M1, Silwood C, Lynch E, Grootveld M. In vivo absorption and metabolism of alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes generated in polyunsaturate-rich culinary oils during episodes of thermal stressing. Biochem Soc Trans. 1997 Aug;25(3):494S.

8. Indart A1, Viana M, Grootveld MC, Silwood CJ, Sanchez-Vera I, Bonet B. Teratogenic actions of thermally-stressed culinary oils in rats. Free Radic Res. 2002 Oct;36(10):1051-8.

9. Chang H, Silwood CJ, Lynch E, Grootveld M. High-resolution 1H NMR investigations of the oxidative consumption of salivary biomolecules by oral rinse peroxides. Acta Odontol Scand. 2013 Jan;71(1):223-35.

10. Chan W, Lynch E, Grootveld M. Tooth-whitening activity of a novel home-bleaching system utilising thermal diffusion: a multifactorial simultaneous evaluation of efficacy at cervical, body and incisal tooth sites. Br Dent J. 2012 Feb 17;212(4):E8

11. Goldberg M, Grootveld M, Lynch E.  Undesirable and adverse effects of tooth-whitening products: a review.  Clin Oral Investig. 2010 Feb;14(1):1-10.

12.  Grootveld M, Silwood CJ, Lynch E. High resolution 1H NMR investigations of the oxidative consumption of salivary biomolecules by ozone: relevance to the therapeutic applications of this agent in clinical dentistry. Biofactors. 2006;27(1-4):5-18.

13.  Chowdhury CR1, Shahnawaz K2, Kumari D2, Chowdhury A3, Bedi R4, Lynch E5, Harding S6, Grootveld M7.  Spatial distribution mapping of drinking water fluoride levels in Karnataka, India: fluoride-related health effects. Perspect Public Health. 2016 Feb 3. pii: 1757913915626744.

14. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/report-cod-liver-oil-2/

15.  Chang H1, Silwood CJ, Lynch E, Grootveld M.   High-resolution 1H NMR investigations of the oxidative consumption of salivary biomolecules by oral rinse peroxides.  Acta Odontol Scand. 2013 Jan;71(1):223-35.

16. Chang H, Tomoda S, Silwood CJ, Lynch E, Grootveld M. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2012 Apr 1;520(1):51-65.

17. Grootveld M, Silwood CJ, Winter WT. High-resolution (1)H NMR investigations of the capacity of dentifrices containing a “smart” bioactive glass to influence the metabolic profile of and deliver calcium ions to human saliva. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2009 Oct;91(1):88-101.

18.  Grootveld M, Silwood CJ, Lynch E. High resolution 1H NMR investigations of the oxidative consumption of salivary biomolecules by ozone: relevance to the therapeutic applications of this agent in clinical dentistry. Biofactors. 2006;27(1-4):5-18.

19.  Grootveld M, Silwood CJ. 1H NMR analysis as a diagnostic probe for human saliva. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Apr 1;329(1):1-5.

20. http://www.westonaprice.org/wp-content/uploads/13GrootveldReport.pdf

21. Daniel K.  Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth about Fermented Cod Liver Oil, p. 20.

22. http://www.westonaprice.org/wp-content/uploads/13GrootveldReport.pdf

23. Skiera C1, Steliopoulos P2, Kuballa T2, Diehl B3, Holzgrabe U4.Determination of free fatty acids in pharmaceutical lipids by ¹H NMR and comparison with the classical acid value.J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2014 May;93:43-50.

24. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/report-cod-liver-oil-2/

25. Ibid.

26. Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Penguin, 2009). p. 131.

27. http://chrismasterjohnphd.com/2015/08/29/weighing-in-on-fermented-cod-liver-oi/

28.  Comment by Lynne Farrow on the Facebook page of Cheeseslave (Ann Marie Michaels). https://www.facebook.com/cheeseslave/posts/10153151047756304?comment_id=10153153460161304.

29.  http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/report-cod-liver-oil-2/  and http://www.westonaprice.org/wp-content/uploads/CovanceBlueIceCodLiverOil.pdf

30.  Ibid.

31. Clayton PR, Ladi S.  From alga to omega; have we reached peak (fish) oil? J R Soc Med, 2015, Vol 109(9) 351-357.

32. Urban, Daniel. Food habits of Pacific cod and walleye pollock in the northern Gulf of Alaska.  National Marine Fisheries Service, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 469: 215–222, 2012.

33. Zhou, Yong. Waste Discharge into the Marine Environment  (Pergamon Press,2015) p.77.

34. Maqsood S, Benakul S, Abushelaibi A, Alam A. Phenolic compuonds and plant phenolic extracts as natural antioxidants in prevention of lipid oxidation in seafood: a detailed review.  Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Vol 13 (6), November 2014. 1125–1140.

35.  Maqsood S,  Benakul S,Shahidi S.  Emerging Roles of phenolic compounds as natural food additives in fish and fish products. Crit Rev Sci Nut 53(2):162-79. January 2013.

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About the Author

75 Responses to Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Still on the Hook!

  1. janieinMN says:

    GREAT article. Thanks for the update on GP’s FCLO debacle. Thanks for your perseverance in bringing this to light last Fall with all the scientific details.

    • DrKaayla says:


      • Danielle says:

        I just ordered $100 worth of this product for my son and I and am feeling very discouraged that I should not take it. The bottle is new and I’m anxious to hear what your thoughts are. I truly don’t want to give something to my 3 year old or 6 month old baby that could harm them. Finances are tight as well so I’m sad to just assume it’s all bad and chuck it. Do you think the new bottle could mean better product? Or is this product unsafe for my family? I know you’re very busy but if you have a minute to respond to my comment either here or via email I would truly appreciate it.

        • DrKaayla says:

          I cannot recommend giving this product to anyone, much less a baby. For those who have just purchased bottles, my advice is send them back.

          I apologize for getting back to you at such a late date. The pushback on my writing has been overwhelming and I’m seriously behind on responding emails and comments.

  2. Violetta Watson says:

    Thank you so much for the work you’re doing. It’s hard to find accurate information on fish oils. I truly appreciate it.

  3. Susan says:

    It’s hard to believe Sally Fallon Morell would urge all of us to consume something toxic after courageously exposing the horrors of our modern diet all these years.

    I would also say that about you — who I’ve been following since The Whole Soy Story.

    I’m sad about this dissension.
    But I’m sure going to find an alternative to Green Pastures.

    • Anon longtime WAPF member says:

      I’ve been following this saga too, and my feelings are identical to yours, Susan. Daniel and Fallon have both done so much good . . . it’s a shame they’ve had this falling out. I tried Green Pastures’ FCLO and found it to be truly nasty stuff. I worked my way thru several bottles over the years but my instincts told me it simply wasn’t meant for human consumption. Several months ago I threw in the towel and discarded my last unopened jar. I’ll continue to take high-quality CLO during the winter months and I’ll continue to support the WAPF. If I want fermented foods, I’ll stick to kraut and kimchee.

    • DrKaayla says:

      I am sad about the dissension too. Because people were seriously harmed by FCLO, I felt there was no alternative but to investigate and share this information.

  4. amy says:

    I really appreciate this update. I am so grateful that you spoke up. I do have a lingering question about the report that you wrote. Why did you write in such a casual tone that was not at all scientific? Also, very shortly before you published the paper, you were actively promoting the bone broth book that you and Sally co-wrote. I completely agree with you that you are in the correct position on FCLO, but it seemed like you were publicly defriending Sally and attacking her character.

    • DrKaayla says:

      The report is written clearly in a popular style. There is nothing casual about it, and the science is discussed and documented in depth over more than 100 pages. The first several chapters discuss the background and the history. As I’ve explained many times, this product would never have succeeded in the marketplace had Sally Fallon Morell not served effectively as Green Pasture’s “marketing arm” through the Weston A. Price Foundation. As Vice President of the WAPF, I could not go on allowing the promotion of a product that was causing illnesses, hospitalizations and even deaths. I wrote a whistleblowing report because people needed to get this information and I could not allow Fallon Morell to succeed in her attempts at a coverup. You are welcome to decide for yourself about what all this says about Fallon Morell’s character.
      In terms of the broth book, I have promoted the book ever since it was published in 2014. Broth is a healing food that I continue to recommend.

  5. Pingback: New Cod Liver Oil Scandal? Let’s Hope Not - David Gumpert

  6. Patti says:

    Now that it is a year since you wrote your report, I want to say that my health has improved dramatically. I had a vitamin D level of 16 and now it is 55 (all I did was stop FCLO and take an inexpensive daily 5000IU Vitamin D3). I had a C-Reactive Protein of 27 and now it is below 3 (took a year to get there). Ferritin was in teens and now it is 48. I also had severe alopecia. My husband says my hair “died”, as the little bit that was left was so dry and brittle, it really did look like dead hair. I had the little bit of hair on my head shaved in January and I now have 3 inches of shiny white hair (I was a dark headed brunette). It isn’t thick enough to look normal, but at least it is something! Unfortunately, the chronically low vitamin D (caused because I trusted WAPF on the GPFCLO) probably had a lot to do with the ovarian mass that caused me to have the ovary removal/ hysterectomy June, 2015. I resigned as a chapter leader when I realized WAPF would continue to support the product. I shudder to think where my health might be if you did not do what you did. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  7. Robin says:

    I think there has been way too much bowing down at the altar of holy fermentation lately. Slap the word “fermented” on the label of just about anything and you can charge ten times the money.
    Sure yoghurt and kombucha are great but not everything is better fermented. I live in Hawaii where the Noni fruit is traditionally fermented but now it is also available as a fruit leather. Fermentation was a necessary means of preservation before refrigeration and fruit leathers were invented but if your compare the nutrient levels in the fermented juice (which also stinks, burns, and tastes nasty) with the fresh fruit or leathers (which are quite tasty), the fermented juice doesn’t measure up.
    This masochistic idea that, if it tastes horrible, it must be good for you makes no sense. Our bodies are not that stupid evolutionarily speaking. If we had eaten rancid food often, we would never have survived as a species. But if Sally says so, we eagerly line up, open our wallets and our mouths for a dose of FCLO. Common sense and a quick sniff will tell you that stuff is not meant to be in the human body.

  8. Corrie says:

    Thank you for speaking up for the truth. I can’t imagine what challenges it created for you and thanks for taking the risks! What Cod Liver oil products do you recommend?

  9. kinga says:

    This is both good and bad – which most people would agree with. We are talking about health (as you stated) and I truly believe that both you and Sally are trying to do something good. I truly admire you both for it. What makes us sad is that it had to be this way – animosity has no place here when it comes to our health. If we cannot trust you (all) then who can we trust? I believe in your findings due to my childhood and we ate real cod liver (I’m from Eastern Europe) as part of our diet and yes, that fermented stuff is nasty as hell. The real cold liver has a beautiful mild taste. I hope that you and Sally will find a way to join forces again since we need you both – together. We are always better together than individually. I wish I could express this to Sally too. She needs to stop being stubborn and accept the facts and move on with you – no without you.

  10. Russ says:

    Thank you for your scientific integrity and for your courage in writing this. I too, had been under the impression that Green Pastures was about as good as it gets. Real, life-saving stuff. Of course, when associated with the WAPF, it was almost unimpeachable, right? It’s a shame that it’s not at all what it has been touted as. And I also thought Sally was the “oil queen” and could be trusted. Pollack livers? Sounds like what many purveyors of fish are doing – passing off “junk fish” as the expensive stuff and making bank on the ignorance of their customers. And the olive oil industry is doing the same thing. Rancid and not fermented? Crazy. Unhealthy, rather than health-giving. It’s stuff like this that gives insidious Big Pharma additional ammo to force full regulation (under their control, of course) of the supplement industry.

  11. Francie says:

    I’m terribly confused about this. I’ve been taking FCLO for years now! What kind should I be taking?

  12. Michelle says:

    I can’t thank you enough for alerting us about this oil. It took a year for me to get my digestive health back. I had a Vitamin D level of 26 when I started FCLO and 21 when I stopped last year. I am testing again at the end of this month after getting plenty of sun and liquid Vitamin D. My daughter actually improved form 37 to 66. Thanks again!

  13. Craig says:

    I am really glad Dr Daniel that you came out about the truths behind this FCLO. There are so many issues with this FCLO, and if it was not for you coming out with it, and Dr Ron with his health issue, more people could have been seriously injured by this product. It really disturbs me that Sally Fallon is still saying that this oil is fine, and is absolutely not rancid. It goes to show she really does not have a scientific bone in her body, and is somehow financially attached to this David Wetzel, and Green Pastures. I especially disliked the way Sally Fallon turned on Dr Ron after he came out about his health issues, and was blaming Green Pastures. The moment she did that i knew she was somehow tied to the profits from Green Pastures, because why would you immediately try and discredit a good man before you actually did some testing to find out the true story behind this FCLO? To me her behavior and immediate reaction is suspect and we need to look into the relationship between Sally and Green Pastures more carefully. Anyway, thank you for your diligence in breaking the truth behind FCLO.

  14. Leo G Younger says:

    Thank you for your integrity and courage.

  15. Betty says:

    can you name the fish oils that are reputable?

    • DrKaayla says:

      Sorry, but I am not in the business of testing oils and other supplements. Testing is extremely costly. I only researched the Green Pasture cod liver oil and X Factor butter oil. The costs of having them tested comprehensively ran close to $10,000. I did so because I was then Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which strongly endorsed — and still endorses! — these products as superior supplements that health conscious men, women and children should take. I distrusted these products because they tasted and smelled rancid, and were considered rancid by every fats and oils specialist I consulted. It was increasingly evident that this product was contributing to — and causing — health problems among many people in the WAPF and paleo communities. As far as I know, other premium products in the marketplace are what their manufacturers say they are. Always ask questions and trust your gut. And if an oil smells or tastes “off” toss it or return it.

  16. Lynn says:

    I have always been a bit suspicious of FCLO, but I took it daily for many years on the advice of the WAPF. At annual conferences I occasionally asked Dave Wetzel questions about his product. I never felt comfortable with his answers. Once I emailed a specific question about the n-6:n-3 ratio for my aging, unwell uncle, and his reply to me was downright rude. The science of marine oils is complex and difficult for me to understand but one thing is not up for interpretation: the GPP FCLO I bought was a pollock product, not cod. To me that is fraud and reason enough to switch to another brand. Thanks Kaayla for your investigations!

  17. Steve says:

    What happened to my comment?
    My question is what is bad about their butter oil?

    • DrKaayla says:

      Please read “Hook, Line and Stinker.” The final chapter discusses the X Factor Butter Oil in depth. Among other issues, it’s rancid and you can get almost as much Vitamin K2 from a good grassfed ghee. I like Pure Indians Foods brand.

  18. Jill says:

    Thank you so much for your work & for continuing to update the public & keep us informed. I was amazed at how quickly everything quieted down last fall and how little information or questioning I have been able to find since then!

  19. julielu says:

    The answers are what matters – the personal stuff is irrelevant to me. The politics maybe “dirty” but if the facts are clean then the “debate” will rise above ‘personal’ credibilities of the debaters.

    That the Prof G testing methods for this product have given rise to his legitimacy as an expert is for us to wake up and take note. It happens all to often and we must be ever vigilant to distinguish between science and the marketplace and always question whether the relationship between them has not been compromised.

    It is obvious that without marketing and introduction from the WAPF once tasted this product wouldn’t have survived in the marketplace!

    Stability from rancidity ….Hadn’t made that connection….. so FCLO is only a step away from those clean vegetable oils in clear plastic bottles – bleached, deodorised and filtered so there is nothing left to degrade and taste so awful.

    As far as Im concerned that product has been irrevocably tainted ( thats a haha lol) and those in denial must take heed for their own /family’s health’s sake. Thank you Patti (Sep18,2016) for sharing your story – the blood data alone are outrageous indictment of this product.

    We who place trust in others must take the only safe course with this Product and now hold back its use until there is NO remaining debate.

    Thank You for your cont. voice and work in bringing this to my attention. It further reinforces my own position and what i will say to others.

  20. Have you had the butter oil tested? Is there any other company that actually produces high quality butter oil? What Cod liver oil do you recommend, if any?

    • DrKaayla says:

      Yes, the final chapter of “Hook, Line and Stinker” reports on the Green Pasture X-Factor butter oil. It was found rancid, and we now know that the butter does not come from happy cows from the Great Plains but from Argentina. So the product was mislabeled. You can get a nice high level of Vitamin K2 in Pure Indian Foods ghee. That products costs way less than the GP X factor butter oil, is delicious and not rancid. In terms of a cod liver oil, I would just recommend fish and liver a couple times a week. If you can’t stand the taste of liver, Vital Proteins brand liver caps (from beef) are great.

  21. Lorien says:

    So what do you recommend as alternatives to the GPFCLO???

    • DrKaayla says:

      You probably don’t need to take any cod liver oil if you eat a rich and varied omnivorous diet that includes fish liver (calf, lamb, chicken) several times a week. In terms of cod liver oil or fish oil products, take care to cap them quickly, keep out of the light and refrigerate or otherwise keep cool. Also buy small bottles that you can use up within a few weeks after opening. People debate whether “all natural” or using the finest technology is better. If something seems “off” in terms of taste or smell, trust your instincts and toss it or return.

  22. Margaret Auld-Louie says:

    Thanks so much for the update. I had stopped taking the FCLO a few years ago when my chiropractor, who prescribed it, died of breast cancer (hmmm, wonder if the FCLO contributed to her cancer). I really appreciate your courage in researching and publishing on this issue. I have a hard time now trusting the WAPF on anything, not just FCLO. If they’re lying about this, what else are they lying about? I’m a longtime member and active in my local chapter, but am disillusioned. I’ve followed the WAPF dietary recommendations for over 10 years but my health has worsened rather than improved. And my chiropractor died of breast cancer, as mentioned above, despite her following the WAPF diet very closely. I recently learned I have chronic Lyme disease, which explains my health struggles, but you would think that eating such a perfect diet would improve my health somewhat. And I have not “sailed thru menopause” like you once stated that women do on the WAPF diet. Instead, menopause has been a nightmare of severe hot flashes and other symptoms, still persisting 9 years later.

    • DrKaayla says:

      Sorry to hear of your health challenges. The research is clear that rancid oils and low vitamin D levels may contribute to cancers and other diseases. Most of the WAPF dietary recommendations are good, but keep in mind that Sally Fallon Morell’s recommendations may or may not accord with the work of Dr. Weston A. Price. With my clients, I strongly recommend testing for gluten and grain intolerances, iodine deficiencies, Vitamin D levels and MTHFR genetic mutation. If you don’t have an alternative MD or other health practitioner who could help you with that, contact me (using the contact button) at the bottom right of my home page. Good luck.

  23. Lava says:

    I’m getting both yours and Green Pastures’ newsletters in my email. It’s weird. I can’t wait for your blog about GP’s new label. I can tell you right now, that backstory of the “company” in Argentina is written in poor English, and the “company” has no name!

  24. carmen says:

    I applaud you and the courage it has taken to stay the course and stand up for what you KNOW to be right.

  25. Susan says:

    Actually, I did use a pendulum with my FCLO (lol). Have stopped taking FCLO and feel rather stunning better. The mysterious heartburn and pain in my knees disappeared.

    This is very brave of you, Kaayla.

  26. Val says:

    Thank you so much, Kaayla,
    Although I have been interested in nutrition and diet for many years because I developed food and environmental sensitivities in my teens and 20’s, I am relatively new to the Weston Price Foundation and your work but was very impressed by your courage and willingness to sacrifice personal and professional gain to retain your integrity. Thank you for publishing your findings and keeping us updated.

    • DrKaayla says:

      Thank you. Do share your findings about food and environmental sensitivities, locally, online and wherever you can. We need people willing to step up and help solve the problems caused by our toxic modern world.

  27. Tim Ferriss says:

    Sally got me started into “this WAP movement”. I’m a huge fan of her work and devotion to “real food”. This article saddens me. I hope Sally reads it and responds. Everybody makes errors in judgement. Thank you Dr Kaayla for bringing this to light.

  28. chelsea smith says:

    Do you still take Cod liver oil, just not from Green Pastures?? This is crazy, Im a mother of three children, new to all this health stuff and I was actually giving this GPFCLO to them thinking I was being a good mom and taking care of my children…only to find out this!!!

    • DrKaayla says:

      Yes, many mothers have given this rancid product to their babies and children thinking it would bring them optimum health.

      Not everyone needs to take cod liver oil. It may not be needed if you are eating liver and plenty of fish.

  29. Jennifer Billings says:

    I also am very grateful for your work. I have five children who I have recently started giving this to. My youngest is 3 years old and has Trisomy 21, so I have embarked on a mission to uncover anything helpful that we can appropriate. It is a bit sad to toss my large stock of unopened bottles in the trash, but I am happy to do so under the circumstances. Thank you!!!

  30. Kristin says:

    Could you go into more detail of the health struggles people have had from taking FCLO aside from vitamin D difficiency?

    • DrKaayla says:

      I’ve already written blogs about the heart issues, most often showing up as heart arrhythmias. I have also seen ample evidence from people’s lab reports of high C-reactive protein levels — a test of inflammation in the body — going down after ceasing FCLO consumption. I am currently working on blog about high fatty acid levels and cancers. Sadly, a lot of people in the WAPF community have died recently of cancer. I have confirmed long-term FCLO consumption for many of them. Sadly, we can expect to see more cases of chronic disease of many types now that the product has been on the market for more than ten years.

  31. Catherine Janosky says:

    So disappointed in WAPF and Sally Fallon! I know you took great risks to let everyone know about FCLO, and that is what got my attention. It is amazing how people will believe what they want to believe even though they are presented with the truth. Thank you for having the guts to pursue the truth and to let ‘the people’ know. Good luck to you! You’ve got my support.

  32. Deborah Boggs says:

    What CLO do you now recommend?

    • DrKaayla says:

      I do not recommend any specific brand. Some people prefer a fresh cod liver oil that has been processed “naturally,” others prefer to reap the benefits of Father Technology. Whichever you choose, take care of your oils. Do not leave out on the counter, close the cap tightly, keep away from heat, light or air . . . and use up quickly. Do not ever buy the “economy size” unless you have a very large family! Trust your sense of taste and smell, and if it has “turned” toss it out.

      Also keep in mind that if you eat liver every week and plenty of fish you may not cod liver oil. If you like fish but hate liver, I recommend Vital Proteins brand liver caps. Their collagen and cartilage products are awesome too. Here’s my affiliate link http://tracking.vitalproteins.com/aff_c?offer_id=4&aff_id=2424

  33. Thank you for the update Kaayla and answers to FAQs. Like others I do appreciate your courage.

    In working with mammalian omegas from the harp seal for over 8 years, I have focused on the various aspects of the fat industry. I worked for one of the largest food processing company in Canada so I am aware of the RBD process.

    Right off the start, I questioned whether or not you could even ferment an oil like many do with other foods. Can an oil be fermented without it being rancid?

    The FCLO never attracted me. Other some herbal remedies, I question an oil that tastes that bad. My fellow holistic nutritionists took it because they were told by WAPF it was the best.

    Each to their own. Thanks again.


    • DrKaayla says:

      Exciting work you are doing. I look forward to learning more about fats from the harp seal. I’ve recently been researching hump fat from camels.

  34. Jessica says:

    I’m so extremely saddened by this information. I’ve been using this product to make my baby’s formula for over a year! And my other two children take it too! I myself have been taking it for about four years. I thought I was doing something so good for us. Mainly I thought I was helping my children. I’m seriously sickened. I’ve had some bottles recently that haven’t tasted good at all but I’ve still taken it, put it in my infants’ formula and given it to a four and five year old. I’m so thankful a friend told me about this research so that I didn’t keep giving them this anymore. Thank you for putting yourself out there for people like me and for my kids. I can’t imagine it was easy but we appreciate it.

  35. Erley says:

    Hi there … thanks for the report , time and money you have spent on this subject…
    i recently tried to share your report on s FB group .. i dont think they will allow the post .
    The member that contacted me about the pending post was in the busy of selling the product him self.
    Which i find terrible .
    It seems there are alot of labs tests here that the said FB members should be able to read or made aware of .
    Thanks again. Erley

  36. Jen says:

    I am so glad I found this article just minutes before hitting the button to purchase CLO. I will continue instead to add more liver and fish to our diet, and expose myself to the copious amounts of sunshine we have here in southern California.

    We’ve been following the WAPF way of eating for the past 2 months, consuming more of the healthy whole fats from grass-fed, pastured sources including butter, ghee, eggs, raw milk and cheeses, beef/poultry and fish. I have the Broth book and have made a few broths, and will continue doing that as well. I only hope that I am on the right road and not increasing my risk of cardiac disease.

  37. Sue says:

    Kaayla, thanks for your work. I have been reading about CLO to use as an immune booster for my 4 year old kids, and was considering FClO when I came across your research. So no FCLO for me or them now. Do you have any view on Carlsons CLO for kids please? I know you have said multiple times that you are not in the business of testing, but it would be really helpful if you can comment. I don’t want to take a chanc e with my kids

    • DrKaayla says:

      I’m not aware of any safety issues with Carlsons. With any oils, buy small bottles, use up quickly, close cap tightly, and keep away from heat, light and air. Trust your taste and smell, and toss if you think there’s any possibility that it has “turned.”

  38. Pingback: The Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal - Hard Boiled Body

  39. Tina Nelson says:

    Oh my goodness the book I’m reading SUPER NUTRITION FOR BABIES; mentions Weston A. Price Foundation so much. They speak Highly of them. The book was published 2012 by Fair Winds Press. The authors are Kelly Genzlinger and Katherine Erlich. I dont know what to do now! I’m so late on all this information. My son is now a yr old and so healthy. I don’t want to harm his body. In 2014 I lost my daughter due to a traumatic labor in a birthing centee with a midwife. Before that day I thought I was making great decisions for my baby girls future and the worst happen. I dont mean or intentionally try to overwhelm myself now but when it comes to my son, I want the very best and so i stress myself on cooking only healthy foods for him and no juice or unhealthy fast snacks but family are telling me I’m being too much. That I need to let him live….after reading this I feel so stupid and disappointed I trusted a damn book. What can I do?!?!

    • DrKaayla says:

      Please don’t beat yourself up as you did the best you knew with the information you had. Regarding FCLO, many people have been deceived, including the authors of that book, a book that I endorsed before I knew enough myself to investigate FCLO.

  40. Anat says:

    Wow- I was exposed to this FLCO controversy in reading Sally Fallon Morell’s defense in the WPF but didnt pay much attention to it then. I am not surprised by this at all- here’s why:
    First, a few years back I bought this “miracle panacea” to try. I couldnt stand the taste and more so, it made me feel bad. So I ended up tossing it in the trash can. Second- I believe fish oil supplement CAN be very harmful to our health- some 10 years ago I took Carlson (a very reputable brand) fish oil capsules, which I kept refrigerated. A doctor I was seeing then tested me for oxidative stress and found dangerously high levels (in my 40s!). Puzzled, he asked me to check if my fish oil supplement is not rancid. I stopped taking it and retested- this time the oxidative stress test showed low levels. So if you take fish oil without the ability to taste and/or smell it- you are likely exposed to the possibility of harming your heart health- rather than protecting it! This by it self is alarming to me, as so many older people take it in an attempt to protect their heart.
    Thirdly- in recent years I have come to view the WPF as overzealous about saturated fats and row milk. Anyone invested so heavily in their own ideology find it hard to seek or admit the truth…

  41. Pingback: The Cod Liver Oil Controversy - Holistic Squid

  42. Lisa Nichols says:

    Thank you so very, very much for your sacrifice Kaayla.

  43. may says:

    what are health issues associated with taking FCLO? my oldest son took FCLO from infancy and has a lot of health issues, comparing to his brother who didn’t take FCLO.

    • DrKaayla says:

      We most often receive reports of digestive issues, inflammation and heart arrhythmias. However, rancid oils affect every cell in the body, thus contributing to many possible health issues.

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