Published on September 20th, 2015 | by DrKaayla


Randy Hartnell of Vital Choice on Cod, Pollock and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Since August 23, when I published my special report Hook, Line and Stinker, many people have stepped up to thank me for investigating and reporting on the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO), a product that many people believe has damaged their health, but which has been heavily promoted over the past eight years by Sally Fallon Morell and the Weston A Price Foundation.  I want to thank these people for offering their support and sharing their stories.  I will be publishing many of their thoughts in the weeks to come.

I would particularly like to thank Randy Hartnell of Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, who firmly yet graciously replied to a woman who expressed anger over my investigation and its possible consequences for the Weston A. Price Foundation.  I am publishing Hartnell’s letter with his permission.

Dear _____,  Thanks very much for taking the time to go into such detail about your concerns. It sounds like you’ve got your mind pretty well made up so I realize that anything I say may be of little consequence.

We have been very strong supporters of the Weston Price foundation for more than a dozen years. I believe you would be hard-pressed to find another company that has been more supportive by way of cash and product donations, or by promoting the annual conferences to our significant customer base. This is one reason I am a Weston A Price Foundation Activist Award recipient.

Since I founded Vital Choice in 2001, I have had a very strong interest in nutritional science. I have attended scores of related conferences around the world, and had the pleasure and honor of developing friendships with top nutrition and lipid scientists. I am not a scientist myself but hang out with quite a few of them so have a rich network to whom I can readily turn with related questions.

People I know have tested the FCLO and expressed confidentially to me that they would never personally consume it based on the extreme oxidation levels. These are experts in the field who have no agenda other than the truth and public well-being. I firmly believe these are Dr. Daniel’s objectives as well.

The fact that the product in question has been mis-branded and mis-marketed as having been derived from one species (Gadus macrocephalus) when it is clearly another (Gadus chalcgorammus) speaks to the integrity of the vendor wouldn’t you say? I have been in the seafood industry for more than 30 years and can tell you that this type of bait-and-switch fraud is very common in the seafood business, as it is relatively easy to perpetrate on unwitting consumers. Part of the reason I founded Vital Choice was to provide a level of product quality and integrity that is all too rare in the seafood industry, so I have very little respect for the people who victimize consumers in this way. And consumers aren’t the only victims of this type of fraud. If you are a cod fisherman and somebody else is mis-labeling their cheap, inferior pollock as cod, he wins and you lose. Having been a fisherman who suffered at the hands of this kind of deceit, i have nothing but disdain for such bad actors.

Furthermore, I’ve never run across anyone within the seafood industry who would mistake cod for a pollock or vice versa. It seems to me that only someone with a financial interest in confusing the two would attempt to make that ridiculous case.

I believe your characterization of Dr. Daniel is extremely misguided, as are the conclusions you’ve reached and accusations you are making as a result. I have been aware of this unfolding story for more than a year and can tell you that Dr. Daniel’s primary objective is the well-being and best interests of the Weston Price community that she has for so long and so faithfully served. I would suggest that you may want to reserve judgment, as I believe the truth will eventually prevail.

I hope you find my perspective at least ‘food for thought.’ We have hundreds if not thousands of fans in the Weston Price community. We have little to gain and much to lose by coming down on the wrong side of this issue. The ‘safe’ thing for us to do would be to keep quiet and wait it out, but we will not be bullied, coerced, or intimidated by anyone into sacrificing our principles and integrity. With what I know, I believe Dr. Daniel and others are highly worthy of our support and until evidence convinces me otherwise, we will continue to provide it.



Randy Hartnell

Founder & President

Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics


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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16 Responses to Randy Hartnell of Vital Choice on Cod, Pollock and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

  1. Well done. Keep calling them out.

  2. Gary says:

    Thank you, Kaayla, for posting Randy Hartnell’s letter. He is indeed a man of uncompromising integrity. I had the pleasure of a long conversation with him in a chance encounter in Indianapolis (and a brief one with you after your presentation). He is indeed gracious, and generous. I remember the best meal I’ve ever eaten was the FTCLDF benefit dinner in Atlanta, in a cavernous room filled to the gunwales with folks feasting on luscious spot prawns. I wonder if Vital Choice will be booted for standing up to bullying? Sally’s responses so far have been one blunder after another. So sad.

  3. Gary says:

    So we now have the People’s Republic of WAPF? Wonder if they will be applying for U.N. membership. Or if the ship is listing, in danger of sinking. Or both?

  4. Pingback: Major Exhibitor Pulling Out of the WAPF Conference - David Gumpert

  5. kathleen schlenz says:

    thank you Randy Hartnell for such a wonderful statement! I only wish that Sally Fallon showed such integrity.

    I have been someone harmed by taking THE RECOMMENDED dose on the bottle of the Fermented Cod Liver Oil, cinnamon flavor. I started to have irregular heart beats after taking it for years. I was very alarmed as my condition seemed to worsen with time despite being the ‘poster child’ for WAPF. I drink raw Guernsey milk, only pastured grass finished meat, pastured eggs, raw pastured butter. I was most alarmed to find out that the GPFCLO contains TRANS FATS!!

  6. Isaac says:

    I have consumed Green Pastures FCLO for years. Even when I lived abroad for a couple of years, I made special arrangements with friends and paid steep international shipping fees to have this product sent to me and my wife. We thought it was an important part of a healing program to overcome chronic health issues. I can’t say that consuming this product harmed me per se, I do not know that either of us felt worse consuming it; however, after having consumed 15ml a day for many months my vitamin D levels had not improved and were still very low. A couple of months before I read your special report “Hook, Line and Stinker”, I had switched to A & D supplementation in the form of softgels. 10K IU vitamin A and 4000 D. These are sourced from concentrated cod liver oil. My vitamin D levels normalized in just a few weeks. It is clear to me that the generous amount of FCLO I was taking daily was not supplying sufficient vitamin D levels to affect my body’s levels. So, though I can’t say FCLO harmed me, it certainly made me waste a lot of time, years, that my body could have used for a faster recovery with a lot cheaper supplements.

    It is hard for me to gauge how much of your report can be called hard science and, if any, how much of this is the result of unethical behavior from Green Pastures. However, I am very disappointed at the generally apologetic and even defensive reaction to it of many scientists and health practitioners associated with WAPF. Even if many of the questions raised by your report can’t be actually proven, the questions raised should appeal to the precautionary principle and provoke pause. Damage to Green Pastures, though a concern, is nothing medically or ethically compared to the potential damage to thousands of chronically ill patients that rely in part on FCLO, at great expense, for their recovery. These consumers delicate state of health does not allow for wasting time on potentially useless remedies, even if they are not directly being harmed.

    An observation: on your report, you state Dr. Price only makes mention of fermented foods twice in “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, which you enumerate as poi with the Polynesians and wine with the Swiss. As I recall from having read the book years ago, he also mentions long-fermentation sour rye bread with the Swiss.

  7. Craig says:

    I’m sure no one in the seafood industry has confused Pollock with Cod. However, Alaskan Pollock is a Cod fish (its common name can cause confusion – I would expect this to be know by people in the seafood industry though).

    If we assume (as many people wrongly do) that Atlantic Cod is what people call true cod, then Alaskan Pollock is extremely closely related to it, more so than Greenland Cod. If people asked for a cod, and were given Greenland Cod, I’m sure they would have no problem with it.

    This is irrelevant to the discussion though, because all the fish I’ve mentioned here are all equally cod fish (despite the common name).

    Fact of the matter is Alaskan Pollock is not a Pollock, but is actually a Cod.

    GP have broken no laws with their labelling. The FDA do not define a what cod liver oil is, no other cod liver oil brand goes into any further detail as to what Cod fish they use in their oil. They are all called ‘cod liver oil’.

    However, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization defines Cod liver oil as: Cod liver oil is derived from the liver of wild cod, Gadus morhua L and other species of Gadidae. See here:

    Alaskan Pollock is not only in the Gadidae family, but is also in the Gadus genus.

    I really am concerned when someone in the seafood industry can mistake Pollock as Alaskan Pollock. I know they have a similar common name, but thats it. What if a fish was called Alaskan Elephant fish? Would that make it an elephant? Of course not, that would be ridiculous.

    Randy Hartnell seems to think that Alaskan Pollock is a Pollock, which for someone so closely tied into the seafood industry is surprising.

    I wonder how much of a political agenda is going on here. There is certainly cause for Dr. Kaayla to take a dig at WAPF and FCLO, and it looks like Randy Hartnell is also going to be a part of the new rival organisation.

    I’d be interested to see what a expert with no ties to Dr. Kaayla/ Ancestral Wisdom would say about this.

    Of course, you could ask experts who have defined things like ‘cod liver oil’ say (see link above).

    • janieinMN says:

      craig – just a gentle reminder — we are in the USA (and so is GP) and must follow FDA rules regarding labeling of food and/or nutritional supplements (AND their ingredients, and their allergens), as well as the US Constitution (mentioned only because you were referencing the UN & WHO in regards to CLO). as such, GP ‘has’ violated labeling laws (both under food and nutritional/dietary supplements), and falls under the category of misbranding, fish species substitution and economic fraud. pretty serious charges…

  8. Lava says:

    I am puzzled that your report finds fermentation detrimental and calls the oil rancid.
    Have you checked the truth or falsehood of the story that this was the method used by Norwegian fishers? Was the product good or the fishermen healthy consuming it?
    Every other brands’ labels happily describe distillation which sounds just like deodorization of margarine and pasteurization of milk. But now you find fermentation an improper technique?

    What brand out there is acceptable?
    Ufskalyski of Mother Linda’s is not mentioned, one way or another.

    I have one more question, which I hope is all right. Did you (Kaayla Daniel) take your blog off the Foundation website, or did the Foundation do it?

    • DrKaayla says:

      The report reviews the evidence and finds no evidence that the “Fermented Cod Liver Oil” product is fermented — or that fish liver oils could ever be fermented. Fermentation was not a method used by Norwegian fishermen. The report discusses how Green Pasture product is rancid as per standards set by GOED, FAO, CRN and other agencies.

      The Weston A. Price Foundation has removed my blog.

      • Lava says:

        I’m on page 16 or so of 111.
        By then you have mentioned the technique Wetzel may be thinking of. Only, the light oil was for food and dark was for industrial purposes. Wetzel says the dark was the medicinal and light oil was weak wimpy stuff.

        It’s funny I never heard of the controversy (probably because I dislike Facebook) The thing that jarred me was Wetzel producing and the Morells using CLO for cattle feed.
        Per your report, the cattle lick is waste turned commercial. It’s like a person selling furniture or ornamental carvings **and** sawdust to the same customer!
        Fallon Morell makes a lot of lecithin being a waste product.

        • Lava says:


          I think if Green Pastures CLO were really a good product, the gov’t would make it illegal and throw Wetzel in jail.

          I’m still wondering how candlefish were thrown into barrels and didn’t become rancid.

      • Gayle Hardine says:

        Why do we have to care about the standards of these organizations? Certainly companies based in the United States have to abide by its laws and regulations whether or not they make sense or are scientifically sound, and work as best as we can with them or modify them. Over 150 companies are members of the CRN, among them are Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. Maybe their “Standards of Good Practice” should be a concern to us.

  9. D. Smith says:

    Not that I wouldn’t be interested in hearing all of the speakers from the conference of PPPF, but I’m probably too late to sign up for them now. I would, however, like to hear what Randy Hartnell had to say. Is there any way someone could do a recap of his talk and present it here? Just hit the highlights? Thanks!

  10. Andy says:

    Whenever I told FCLO, my Vitamin D level shot up, to 70-80… Without the FCLO , it usually would be around 40-50.. So pretty sure FCLO has a lot Vitamin D in it. However, I also read some reports that claiming the Vitamin D in the FCLO was not from the fish, instead was added (by DNA analysis. ). That would be a problem for me.

    • DrKaayla says:

      Testing of samples at many several of the world’s top laboratories revealed almost no Vitamin D3 in FCLO. If your levels shot up, you were probably getting a high dose from some other supplement. DNA analysis showed FCLO comes from pollock livers and not cod livers. The product has thus been misrepresented and some call that consumer fraud.

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