Published on September 22nd, 2015 | by DrKaayla


Marine Stewardship Council to Investigate Green Pasture

The Marine Stewardship Council has initiated an investigation of Green Pasture’s unauthorized use of its good name.  Although Green Pasture does not use the MSC Eco-Label on its bottles of fermented cod liver oil, skate oil or other products, the company implies the Marine Stewardship Council’s endorsement on its website.

And that’s not okay.

Proper use of the MSC eco-label requires that the product be traceable through the supply chain back to a certified fishery to assure consumers it’s a truly sustainable seafood product and not mislabeled as such.  Boat-to-bottle transparency, of course, is impossible for a company that has long promised consumers a premium “cod liver oil” product but delivered cheap “pollock liver oil.” It’s also impossible when that company has implied that its “arctic cod” came from the North Atlantic when it actually came from the Pacific.

Over the years many consumers have asked David Wetzel of Green Pasture where he sources the fish livers he ferments, but have consistently gotten vague and evasive answers.  He has sometimes said his source is a mysterious unnamed Russian and other times declared he obtains all his livers from unnamed suppliers supposedly accredited by the MSC. Either way consumers have had no solid information that could help them accurately evaluate the authenticity and sustainability of his product.  Yet most consumers have trusted that the product was what he said it was because of the endorsement of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

In fact, the FCLO  is mislabeled as from cod livers, an act that may violate FDA and FTC regulations and has led to the filing of consumer complaints. The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office is also finding the matter of interest.  Furthermore, Food Safety News, a publication taken seriously by food and supplement regulators, has called on the Department of Justice and the FDA to investigate.

In short, Green Pasture’s unauthorized use of the Marine Stewardship Council’s name appears to be part of an overall pattern in which there has been a notable lack of transparency and denial of the consumer’s “right to know.”

Replying to one consumer, Michael Griff, who serves as Commercial Manager, Americas, for the Marine Stewardship Council, wrote: “Green Pasture Products may be sourcing from MSC certified fisheries but they are not able to make this claim since they have not followed the MSC Chain of Custody certification. Chain of Custody is an essential part of the MSC program which ensures that product can be traced back to a MSC certified fishery that meets our rigorous standard.

In another email, Griff wrote, “We will contact the company and explain what they would need to do in order to make such a claim and be in compliance with our program.”

As for its action on a complaint lodged last year, the Marine Stewardship Council replied, “Green Pasture has not been responsive and we will contact them again. If they do not respond, we will send them a formal letter . .  .

The Marine Stewardship Council is “a world-wide organization with a mission to use its eco-label and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.”


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Hook-Line-Stinker-Ka#CFF6D2Have you read Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth about Fermented Cod Liver Oil yet?  Learn how lab tests show this product is rancid, low in fat-soluble vitamins . . . and not even cod!  Click here to get your free download.

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5 Responses to Marine Stewardship Council to Investigate Green Pasture

  1. I am hearing nothing but the chant of “It is too COD!!!” from those who are making money from this product. They are the only ones defending it. When it clearly is NOT cod, cannot be labeled as such, and has been proven NOT to be cod, they claim that because it has been moved to the same genus as Cod that it must necessarily BE cod, though it is of inferior quality and has a far lower value, and cannot legally be named as such.

    Interesting that the company does not try to deny at all. They have outright admitted to fraudulent actions, while they do not bother to claim that they did not do it, nor do they deny that they violated federal regulations. They only claim that doing so is somehow NOT fraud.

  2. Vital Choice has been an MSC licensee since our founding in 2001. As such we are intimately familiar with the rigorous, costly and administratively burdensome standards and procedures required to earn their accreditation, and which make the MSC the gold standard of seafood eco labels. This is yet another example of “freeloaders” stealing business from those who must charge more for their products to cover these consumer assurance costs.

  3. Craig says:

    If you read the FDA definitions, they don’t actually define what cod liver oil is, just what cod, the food, is.

    Dr. Kaayla, please read the definition of cod liver oil on page 34 here:

    What are your thoughts?

  4. David says:

    Around 5 years ago, at our invitation, Dave Wetzel made a presentation about FCLO at a local weston price chapter event. During the presentation, he said that there were many different species of cod but only very few had elevated vitamin levels. That of course prompted the question…”Which species do you use?”. His response…”That’s proprietary.” I thought that was a strange answer for such a simple question…especially to an audience that’s very concerned about where their food comes from. Well, now I know why he answered that way. Thanks Kayla, for being the kind of leader we truly need. I am grateful for all the work the weston price foundation has done…but their response to this legitimate concern is very disappointing.

  5. Craig says:

    GP never said that they were accredited by the MSC, only that they worked with companies that were. GP have sadly deleted their blog post about it, but you can find it here:

    I would be very interested to see the results of the MSC investigation….

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