Saturday, August 22, 2015

Shocking Test Results for Fermented Cod Liver Oil

One of the most controversial posts on this blog has been the one about Why My Family Stopped Taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO). I've been thanked for that post, I've been attacked for that
post; it definitely seemed to hit some nerves. However, that will be nothing compared to the stir that will be created by some shocking new test data for FCLO.

This new test data comes from multiple independent laboratories, and is the result of efforts by nutritionist Kaayla Daniel, who is the Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). Over the last year or two, people started expressing doubts about FCLO, including how it is produced, its vitamin content, and its efficacy. The Board of the WAPF voted against testing FCLO (as they felt like the testing they had already performed was sufficient), but Kaayla wanted to investigate further to find out if there was any validity to the doubts about FCLO.

Because there have been questions raised about the accuracy of the FCLO test results that Green Pasture posts on their website, Kaayla sent unopened bottles of FCLO to multiple laboratories in the United States as well as abroad, who were known to be experts in testing marine oils.  Kaayla wanted to find out if there were any issues with rancidity, and find out how FCLO's nutrient-profile looked.

As the test results came in, she was surprised to find that, in addition to rancidity and nutrient issues, FCLO actually appeared to be made from something other than the liver oil of Arctic codfish.  This led to DNA testing of the Green Pasture Cattle Lick product, which is said to be made from the livers leftover from making FCLO. And the DNA tests showed that the source of the liver was actually Alaskan pollock, NOT cod!

In short, the test results showed the following:
  • FCLO appears to not actually be a fermented product, as its pH is too basic and it does not contain significant levels of lactic acid bacteria. 
  • At least one of the bottles of FCLO that was tested showed significant rancidity issues. (Note: there is not a consensus in the scientific community about what constitutes rancidity, so this conclusion is widely debated.)
  • The bottles of FCLO that were tested had extremely low levels of Vitamin D, nearly nonexistent Vitamin K, and less Vitamin A than claimed by Green Pastures.
  • The EPA to DHA ratio of the bottles of FCLO that were tested is not consistent with what it should be if it is really made from the liver oil of codfish.  
  • DNA testing of a product claimed to be liver leftover after making FCLO showed it to actually be liver from Alaskan pollock, NOT cod liver! Pollock is a member of the cod family, but it has a very different nutrient profile than codfish.
If you want to dig into the nitty-gritty details of the testing and data analysis, Kaayla has written a detailed report on the matter, which you can see here.

I am relieved that I trusted my gut instincts and stopped giving my family fermented cod liver oil a few years ago. And I am so glad that we can boost our nutrition instead with extra virgin cod liver oil!  The color, odor, and flavor of EVCLO are wonderful indicators of its freshness and purity; Rosita's transparency in describing and showing their processes for harvesting the oil is refreshing and gives me confidence that this really is a well-produced product.

Here are some links for those who want to read more analysis of Kaayla's FCLO report and the controversy surrounding it:

    What has been your experience with FCLO?  Have you tried EVCLO

    Links to Corganic are affiliate links. If you use these links, your price remains the same, but I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting this site!


    .ambre. said...

    Thank you so much for sharing why you stopped before as it gave me the courage to stop taking something that was making me gag and heave just because it was "good for me".

    .ambre. said...

    Thank you so much for sharing your story of why you stopped with your family before. It gave me the courage to stop taking a product that was making me heave and gag just because it was "good for me".

    Jennifer said...

    Today was the first time I read about the controversy with FCLO. I am sad and disheartened. I have been a member of the WAPF for 7 years now and trusted their recommendations. As a health care practitioner I have recommended and currently sell GP FCLO in my office. I hope Dave from GP responds to these allegations sooner rather than later. I'll either throw the bottles away or try to get a refund. Very frustrated...

    Anonymous said...

    I am actually not surprised by these findings.

    A few years ago, I too used their "product". It was ridiculously expensive and I just didn't trust the company. I ordered other items from them as well. They were quite arrogant regarding any questioning of items as well as shipping policies, etc. Yet, here we, the flock..continually tolerated their flippancy out of trust to WAP.

    I AM surprised to know that WAPF did not even want this cod liver oil tested. That alone loses respect for the organization in my eyes.

    A huge THANK YOU!! to Kaayla. Always question. Always question. Even after we've used something for long periods; they change formulas, add cheaper ingredients, etc.

    On the contrary, every single question I have posed to Rosita has been answered quickly and truthfully. I was skeptical regarding this oil due to the mistrust of Blue Ice. I waited patiently for their oil to come to fruition. No regrets. In the meantime, I used Sonne's.
    No regrets.

    So, where/when do we file a class action lawsuit for the scam of "fermented" oil? Knowing the damage of rancid oils to cells and having it pushed by the same teachers is unforgivable! Time to follow the money and see who else was/is profiting on the bogus product.

    Thanks for the info.

    Becky Mauldin, N.D. said...

    I used to be a die hard follower of the WAPF and have even written an article in Wise Traditions about 9 years ago. See

    I used Green Pastures cod liver oil before it was fermented, and then when they switched to fermented, my intuition just told me something was not ok with it. I never used it and will not use it. I know a lot about fermentation and knew that you can't ferment oil, only carbohydrate. Thanks for verifying what I suspected.

    My other concern with the WAPF diet is the liberal use of animal fats and butter. Animal fats and butter concentrate environmental chemicals, such as dioxin. This is a scientific fact.

    When this was covered in a Wise Traditions article by Chris Masterjohn, they just brushed it off saying that the Vitamin A in the fats would protect the body from those toxins. That is just not true. These toxins bio-accumulate in our fat cells and cause damage to many systems of the body, particularly the endocrine system.

    My story is that I ate a ton of butter during several years when I was following WAPF guidelines. I also happened to live near a dioxin polluted town and I got high levels of these toxins in my body from the raw dairy I was consuming.

    I also ate butter and meats from various farms around the country. The truth is that all butter and animal fats concentrate fat-soluble environmental chemicals.

    Thinking I was getting healthier, my body was slowly becoming more toxic. I ended up with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, hypothyroidism, adrenal exhaustion, and other health problems.

    A blood test showed that I was actually allergic to the class of chemicals that dioxin is in. I was advised by my MD to STOP eating all locally grown food, butter, and raw milk. I believe that my body got sensitized to dioxins from the large amounts I was exposed to in the animal fats I was eating during this time (not just from my local sources).

    I got extremely sick and I had to do a sauna detox program to get those toxins out of my body. After I recovered my health, I became a Naturopath and now help others regain their health.

    I am sad to say that I am no longer a supporter of WAPF, due to this type of misinformation.

    I believe I was harmed by the WAPF dietary guidelines, and will not recommend their diet to my clients.

    The WAPF is keeping their head in the sand about the level of pollutants in these high fat foods. But this is a REAL and growing problem that needs to be addressed!

    And Dr. Price never advised that we ferment cod liver oil or take it in high doses!

    We don't live in Dr. Weston Price's world anymore, so what worked then, may not be a good idea now.

    Thanks for getting the word out about this!

    Becky Mauldin ND
    Pure Vitality

    tracy s said...

    Thank you so much for this article!!!!! It confirms what my intuition has been telling me! I knew something was off with this product!

    Anonymous said...

    Wow! What timing!

    I have been doing diligent research into how supplements are made and the sources for the supplements after taking a "safe" supplement (that was supposedly free of any of my allergies) and having my throat swell up/closed 3 days in a row! I stopped taking the supplement on the third day.

    I have learned in my research much of what you shared here.

    I am still looking for several "pure" supplement sources (to include stuff that is allegedly made from cod liver oil.) So far, no luck.

    Thanks for sharing the information.

    Ron Schmid said...

    If anyone would like to read my summary of Dr. Daniel's report, you may do so at

    Ron Schmid, ND

    Anonymous said...

    Shame on you. Of course you immediately show up to gloat on your amazing instincts. How about the one where you recommended eating as much ice-cream as you wanted? Or what about the post on how sugar isn't that bad? People trusted a company that probably shouldn't have been trusted, and feel really badly about their decision and concerned for their kids. But you show up to be patted on the back for winning this one. Well congratulations.

    Tara said...

    Ugh...I fed FCLO to my baby several years ago. :( And I took it myself. I guess I don't need to feel bad that I didn't keep up with it! Putrefied fish oil? Oh my. :(

    Anonymous said...

    Could someone explain why Ms. Daniels requires that folks give her their email and contact information before downloading this information? It doesn't help her credibility to have it look like she wants personal benefit from sharing this information, which I'm inclined to believe and would have liked to see first hand.

    Sarah Smith said...

    It looks like you can probably download it without providing your email address if you go here:

    Anonymous said...

    Please watch my video covering this shocking e-book here!

    Anonymous said...

    Currently, there are stories posted all over the place about FCLO (Facebook pages/groups, Yahoo groups, blog comments, etc).

    People need to have one place to share stories about FCLO, so people can really see how many there are.

    Please post your story here:

    Caitlin said...

    holy crap.

    Anonymous said...

    Green Pasture's quality control guy is from China. Guess he brought their "standards" with him! So upset about being deceived this way!

    Anonymous said...

    I call BS on this article. Seems like Astroturfing to me.

    Elizabeth said...

    What do you suggest for those who truly cannot afford extra virgin cod liver oil for their family? Thank you!!

    Sarah Smith said...

    Elizabeth: I would focus on eating as many nutrient-dense foods as possible, including pastured eggs, raw milk, dairy products, butter, fruits and veggies grown locally, bone broths, etc.

    One other thing of note is that I don't think it is necessary to take EVCLO daily. They even say so on the paper that comes with it in the mail; daily doses can be beneficial at first, but once the body has had access to those nutrients regularly, the dosing can be slowed down. My family only takes EVCLO about 1-2 times per week, and that makes a bottle last much longer.

    Elizabeth said...

    Thank you, Sarah!

    Unknown said...

    Actually, the results are not shocking. If you have a good read of Dr. Kaaylas report, she hasn't actually found anything wrong with the product. Most of her tests come back negative or inconclusive...When you couple this with the clear reason for bias (which she even admits to) then you really have to question all the conclusions.

    Sadly, people have just read her conclusions, and not the whole report. You can read a clear dissection of her report here:

    Please do spread accurate information about the report around. It is Kaayla who is toxic, not FCLO.

    Unknown said...


    I write to you as I recover from some incredibly uncomfortable food poisoning symptoms after taking green pastures fermented cod liver oil.
    After taking 2 servings on day one (of 2ml) when I tried to sleep that night I woke up at around 2am with really bad acid re-flux. I quickly googled a cure and found that some people have tried apple cider vinegar (luckily I had some) so I sipped some of that and after 10 mins (feeling absolutely awful and very close to vomiting) I was able to get back to bed. The next day I woke not feeling too bad so I decided that I'd probably just overdone it and instead, early in the day this time, took a single 1.5ml dosage with some food. I didn't feel anything up until bedtime.
    That night was pretty much sleepless as I developed sharp pains in the stomach and cold sweats. I got out of bed early the next day telling myself I'm done with the FCLO (angry because I paid $80 AUD for it after an emphatic recommendation by the staff at a local health store)
    I felt incredibly drained and told myself 'you just need to get some food in' well as soon as I took my first bites of the eggs I had made for myself i had instant gurglings and pain in the stomach and ran to the toilet with diarrhea. So the rest of the day was spent either on the can or lying in bed. In the evening I had a similar experience to previous nights but this time with constant stops to the toilet.
    It is now 5:34am, the same morning, I haven't had a wink of sleep and i've just emailed work saying I will be sick and unable to work tomorrow (of which i get paid pro rata so now a payless day!)
    I don't know what can be done, but i'm tired and angry about it!


    Anonymous said...

    Hi Sarah, are you taking the EVCLO as part of your effort to improve dental health? I don't like swallowing oils but I really need to make extra effort in doing something to slow down or heal my dental issues...

    Sarah Smith said...

    My family takes the EVCLO about 1-2 times per week. Instead of forcing it down, we take it when it sounds good to us, and don't take it when it doesn't.

    I don't think it is necessary to take EVCLO daily. They even say so on the paper that comes with it in the mail; daily doses can be beneficial at first, but once the body has had access to those nutrients regularly, the dosing can be slowed down.

    Scentsibly Prepared said...

    This is an interesting post. We are just about to get back to taking Cod Liver oil so I was interested in reading this. I am not sure I totally believe Daniels due to her involvement with the new company (but this is just from internet research - I could be wrong about that).
    We have taken Green Pastures FCLO for years (all 9 in our family) and have never had an issue with rancidity, stomach problems, etc..
    For those that commented GP was ridiculously expensive - the EVCLO that is recommended here is MORE expensive! only 5 ounces and you have to buy the butter oil separately and they are each about $50!
    We buy both together of the GP stuff in a 8 ounce bottle for about $39 each on their website.
    I am going to continue to research this and thank you for open dialog here :)

    KureKong said...

    Sorry to hear this bad news. Have been taking Fish Oil since January and following Ramiel Nagel's advice for the past two months.
    The good news is that I've gone from tooth infection and an abscess to almost complete reduction of swelling or anything noticeable. When I took the Green Pastures product I had almost instant relief of symptoms. When I took Carlson's fish oil (Lemon) it worked but not as well. It could be placebo effect, but the disappearing abscess cannot be denied - it's gone.

    Of course, I've given up all grains except rice, consumed butter, sweet potatoes, raw fish and meat, cut to 1/2 coffee per day, and almost any alcohol (consumed at a wedding and another gathering), plus all processed sugar. Now that the teeth are under control I can probably ease off on the diet but still be wary of processed foods.

    Will look into another oil for myself and the family.