From the very start I had never wanted to get involved with the politics revolving around the FCLO scandal. Politics are synonymous with ulterior motives, lies, and half-truths – none of which I have much time for. However, as the dust settles on the scandal, and more science is coming to light you do have to look at the politics to fully understand what has gone on, and why Green Pastures were attacked with such ferocity with so little evidence.
It is hard to know where to start with the scandal, but for me, it starts somewhere is mid 2013, which was when I first came across a product called Extra Virgin Cod Liver oil (EVCLO). At the time, I thought the EVCLO website was another site owned by Rosita (which is the company that make EVCLO) but it is actually owned by the owners of Corganic/ Organic 3 (a health site specialising in supplements for sufferers of gut and psychology syndrome and similar disorders). I spoke with the guys at EVCLO back in 2013 as I was interested in selling their product here in the UK, but it was early days, communication and organisation were poor, and we didn’t get very far. I kept a close eye on them though, and regularly visited their site hoping someday, when EVCLO was a bit more established, we would be able to sell their product.
Rosita make EVCLO, but I now know it was the brain child of the guys over at Corganics, and the site is run by Corganics. Nothing wrong with this at all of course, but when you know the connection between EVCLO and Corganics it casts another shadow on some of the events which went on since I discovered them.
A bit of background
The owners of Corganics are heavily involved with the Weston A price foundation (WAPF). In fact, Dan Corrigan (co owner of Corganic helped run the first WAPF chapter in 2001) so it is quite safe to say that a large proportion of their customers were from the WAPF community. The WAPF strongly recommend a brand of cod liver oil called Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO), and it is on their recommendation of this brand that Green Pastures have been very successful globally.
For a short time, Corganics sold this brand of cod liver oil, but many of their customers complained about it because it upset their sensitive digestive systems, and so after 8 months Corganics stopped selling it and started looking for alternatives. This led Archie Welch (co-owner of Corganics) to discover Rosita in 2012, which at the time was a producer of Ratfish oil in Norway.
Archie discussed the possibility of Rosita producing a cod liver oil using their extraction methods, and they began developing the product called he calls Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO). It was during the development stages of the product that I first came across the EVCLO website.
Obviously, nothing wrong with all of this – one company is helping the other create a great product and launch it in the US market. Companies do this all the time. However, consider this through out the rest of the article: the main target audience of this product in the US is the WAPF members, most of which will be taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
During the final stages of the EVCLO production (which took 2 years), I noticed a considerable amount of Green Pastures slandering online. At the time, I hadn’t realised there was a connection between Corganics, EVCLO and the WAPF (I have nothing to do with WAPF) at the time, I didn’t think much of it, but looking back now, I’m not so sure. Here are some highlights, but this is by no means the full extent:
Jan 2013 sees the following blog post published by Sarah Smith (a co-leader of a WAPF chapter), saying how she is switching from FCLO to EVCLO after collaborating with Archie Welch (co-owner of Corganics) on a project (nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.nl/2013/01/why-we-stopped-taking-fermented-cod.html)
In 2013 EVLO publish the following article about cod liver oil, which says fermented cod liver oil is less nutritious than fresh oil. (http://evclo.com/history/)
in 2014 shortly after the launch of EVCLO, we see a very negative campaign launched against FCLO through social media. Much of this has been deleted, but the remnants of fake Facebook profiles promoting EVCLO still remain. The EVCLO site clearly makes attacks against fermented cod liver oil, and Dan Corrigan instigates open attacks against FCLO, sayings its production methods are a fallacy because oil cannot fermented (not that anyone claimed the oil fermented, it is the liver that ferments). This makes a lot of WAPF members doubt the authenticity of fermented cod liver oil, and look for an alternative, and you can read about all of this more here: http://davidgumpert.com/simmering-cod-liver-oil-imbroglio-heats-up-for-wapf-conference
Sept 2014 – we see the owner of Rosita publish a video suggesting that Green Pastures purchase their oil from China (or at least Alibaba, which is a Chinese wholesale site).
This kind of activity is unethical to say the least. The owner of Corganics and Rosita have gone out of their way to spread lies about how their direct competition source and process their product. It puts EVCLO in a bad light and paints the picture of an untrustworthy company who are quite happy to lie. And for what? Money? Well, I don’t think you lie like this just to improve peoples health. The motives are speculation on my part, but I don’t doubt that 2 years of experimenting with cod livers costs money, which needs to be recouped. In a recent interview Archie Welch says that at some point he had Rosita on the phone saying “we’ve got these fishermen out there, and if we don’t keep them busy we will lose them” and “I don’t know if we can keep doing production on this”. To me, this sounds like someone who wants more sales for financial reasons, not for the spreading of health. Perhaps sales of EVCLO didn’t go the way Corganics has expected (not surprising considering the WAPF rated FCLO better than EVCLO), and so tried to take measures to improve their sales, or, perhaps a slander campaign against FCLO was the plan all along.
Now I’m not saying that a company needing to make money makes them evil, but they way they decide to go about it can.
The WAPF warned Corganics about slandering FCLO, at which point EVCLO/ Corganics apologise for their actions and remove what they can of their campaign against FCLO (although there are still comments on the EVCLO blog which mention their unethical marketing). However, the members of WAPF still didn’t seem to take to EVCLO, possibly because WAPF said that FCLO was better than EVCLO, but I think that their obvious slander campaign didn’t do them any favours either.
Since the removal of the slander campaign, discussions about EVCLO and their online activity seemed to die down. Blog posts on the EVCLO site (which previously had been regular) stopped in November 2014 and the general feel that I got was that FCLO was still the favourite cod liver oil in the global health community, and EVCLO was known about, but not used by the masses.
It was around this time (the serendipitous timing hasn’t gone unnoticed) that Dr.Kaayla was expressing her concerns to the WAPF that FCLO was rancid, and in February 2015 the WAPF did test the FCLO at MidWest Laboratories for several rancidity bio-markers (of which none were found). In the same month, Dr. Kaayla decided to do her own research and sent her own samples of FCLO to labs for testing.
On the 20th August 2015, Dan Corrigan published an article saying how Weston A.Price would love EVCLO, and the following day, Dr. Kaayla published her report on the authenticity of FCLO based on her own interpretation of her findings (the timing of which I find coincidental). Kaayla’s report resulted in an explosion in the WAPF community (I can only assume because people mindlessly only read her conclusions, and not her methods/findings, because her findings don’t match her conclusions), with many people turning on Green Pastures.
Regardless of the lack of scientific validity of the study, a rift was made in the WAPF community, and in almost all articles and discussions about it, you will find someone recommending EVCLO as an alternative to Green Pastures FCLO, or rather, rancid Pollock oil, which is what Kaayla and others took to naming FCLO.
Kaayla, who was vice president of WAPF quickly co-founded another organisation (Primal Paleo & Price Foundation, or PPPF) after she was kicked out of the WAPF, and a sponsor of this new foundation is Corganics.
Funnily enough, despite there being so much evidence to show that FCLO doesn’t contain anything toxic, people refuse to accept they are wrong about FCLO and still claim that it is toxic despite not knowing anything about lipid chemistry. I’ve had people email say that are worried that ‘the vitamins have gone rancid after only a few weeks’, which makes no sense!
I’ve asked Ann Marie Michaels (who has taken a very active role against Green Pastures) a number of times to let me know what exactly in FCLO is so toxic, and, after much dancing around the subject, she tells me that it’s the free fatty acids, because they prove the oil is rancid, and so toxic (despite free fatty acids not being toxic).
Anyway, I’ve vented enough on Kaayla’s report all ready. Suffice to say, it is a clear and unfounded attack against Green Pastures and the WAPF.
The Kaayla/ Corganic connection
There is a clear motive for Corganic to slander Green Pastures and the WAPF. Corganic’s EVCLO will only ever be second best in the eyes of the WAPF, and so their EVCLO would never reach the level they wanted, but what about Kaayla? How is she connected to EVCLO/ Corganics?
There is no doubt that Kaayla and the owners of Corganics know each other, and have for many years. I’ve also read that Kaayla was unhappy with the way Sally Fallon (President of the WAPF) was doing things with the WAPF, so perhaps Kaayla saw this as a way to cripple the WAPF and start her own foundation (which has actually happened). This, considering the unethical actions of Kaayla and Corganic we have seen, wouldn’t surprise me.
I can’t prove this of course, but I do think that there has been some collaboration between Dr. Kaayla and Corganics in the systematic attack on the WAPF/ Green Pastures, and seeing as they have both benefited from the resulting chaos, I think it would be quite likely.
The Darker Shadow
EVCLO has demonstrated its unethical marketing, but tests by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority have shown that oils produced by Rosita contain pollutants above the safe limit. I spoke to Rosita about this, and they say that they were tricked by the Norwegian authorities into providing a contaminated sample. Usually, I would be more than happy to give Rosita the benefit of the doubt, but considering the barefaced lying that their company has done already, I’m not so sure. It’s your judgement to make.
So, not only are EVCLO acting unethically, but their product might also be poisons.
So, to summarise the events:
Corganics invested heavily into the development of EVCLO, upon release of this product, the WAPF rated it below FCLO, and so sales were poor. Either in reaction to this, or as part of their marketing plan, Corganics/ EVCLO and Rosita launched a malicious campaign against Green Pastures, which included accusing them of purchasing ingredients from China, lying about their producing methods, and saying that FCLO is lower in vitamins than EVCLO. This campaign got EVCLO noticed, but the lies and rumours they were spreading were unfounded and obviously malicious, so peoples opinion of the company fell. After a warning from the WAPF about EVCLO’s behaviour, they apologies for their actions, and removed much of their campaign.
The slander campaign seemed to end in late 2014, which is when I suspect Corganics started conferring with Dr. Kaayla, because shortly after the end of the slander campaign Dr. Kaayla voices her concern about FCLO being rancid. The WAPF sent out samples of FCLO to Midwest Labs and Leicester School of Pharmacy which shows that FCLO had no lipid peroxide species and is safe. Despite the evidence showing that FCLO is not toxic, Dr.Kaayla decides to do her own research (you need to ask yourself why), and publishes a damning report against FCLO. Dr. Kaaylas research is riddled with flaws but this seems to mean very little considering her position of trust in the WAPF (vice president). People read her conclusions and chaos ensues, resulting in the WAPF and Green Pastures being accused of fraud, lying and worse.
As a result of the chaos Dr. Kaayla establishes her own foundation (PPPF), people are encouraged to get rid of their FCLO and take EVCLO, and according to Archie Welch sales of EVCLO are starting to increase.
Image courtesy of Josh.