A Summary of Dr. Kaayla Daniel's New Report on Green Pasture's Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil

by Ron Schmid, ND

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Kaayla T. Daniel PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and 2005 winner of the Foundation’s Integrity in Science award, has just published an e-report titled Hook, Line and Stinker! The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil. We carried Green Pasture FCLO and Butter Oil for many years until I read Dr. Daniel’s report. I have prepared this summary of her report so that our customers may learn why we no longer carry these products.

To download the full report, please go to Dr. Daniel’s website,

Summary of Dr. Daniel’s Report: Green Pasture brand “fermented cod liver oil” (FCLO) has been promoted by the producer and the Weston A. Price Foundation as the only true “traditional” cod liver oil and the “high vitamin” cod liver oil recommended by Dr. Weston Price. Dr. Daniel had concerns about many of the claims and brought them to the attention of Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Foundation, and requested testing. Morell and the Board declined. Dr. Daniel on her own had extensive testing done at world renowned marine lipid laboratories. The following are some of her conclusions.

  • Flavors, odors and colors are indicative of rancidity – extreme rancidity – and that’s what the data show. Several lab managers said FCLO was the most rancid oil they’d ever tested. A massive body of research shows rancid polyunsaturated fatty acids can contribute to heart disease, cancer and other ills.
  • Levels of fat-soluble vitamins reported by the labs utilized for this testing are significantly lower than those reported on the Weston Price Foundation and Green Pasture web sites. Levels of vitamin D are strikingly low, in contrast with the high levels reported by Green Pasture, which has reported especially high levels of vitamin D2. The world’s leading vitamin D researcher states that he has never found vitamin D2 in cod liver oil. Interestingly, a number of doctors and other health care professionals have reported severe vitamin D deficiencies among some patients who have been taking daily doses of FCLO for months or even years.
  • Green Pasture claims stupendous amounts of vitamin K and significant amounts of Coenzyme Q10 in FCLO. The world’s leading vitamin K research center found extremely low levels of vitamin K; another lab showed nearly undetectable levels of Coenzyme Q10.
  • The ratio of EPA to DHA for Arctic cod should be about 6 to 10. Testing at the two labs sent samples of FCLO to show the ratio of EPA to DHA to be approximately 2 to 1. These numbers do not match Arctic cod, and in fact are similar to what one would expect from Alaskan pollock.
  • According to the Green Pasture website, the “cod livers” in the Green Pasture Cattle Lick product are left over from the manufacture of FCLO. Dr. Daniel had DNA testing done on the product. The lab reports that the liver is “100 percent Alaskan pollock.” While pollock is a member of the cod family, it is a cheap product with a very different nutritional profile than codfish, and is commonly substituted in “cod liver oils” coming out of China and other countries. It is a favorite of Big Food, which turns it into fish sticks, fried fish, and other fishy substances found in processed, packaged and fast foods. The livers are primarily sold for use in pet food. So much for truth in labeling.
  • FCLO was tested for trans fats. The lab showed 3.22 percent trans fats, of which Dr. Gjermund Vogt, a leading authority on fish oils, says: “No authentic raw or mildly processed cod liver oil will contain trans fats [indicating] that another oil has been added to this oil.” The evidence indicates that the most likely explanation is that a heat damaged vegetable oil has been added.
  • Joan Grinzi, Executive Director of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, says: “It’s taken us over a year to thoroughly search the archives. We can now state that Dr. Price never mentioned fermented cod liver oil and never recommended a product like it.” FCLO is neither a true “traditional” cod liver oil nor the “high vitamin cod liver oil” recommended by Dr. Price.
  • Dr. Price pointed out the danger of rancidity in the cod liver oils of his day, and he cited other researchers from the 1920s and 1930s who had “called attention to the importance of considering the toxic substances in cod liver oils as possible explanation for differences in the results obtained by different workers in vitamin studies.” Clinicians observed “severe and striking” effects, most notably “serious structural damage” to the heart and kidneys.
  • Green Pasture Butter Oil showed very good levels of Vitamin K2. So too did grass-fed ghee – which costs about one-seventh as much. Green Pasture claims its butter oil is from the “milk of cows that graze on select grasses of the Northern Great Plains.” In fact, evidence indicates that for several years the company has imported its butter in large canisters from Argentina, which visitors to Green Pasture have reported sit around and heat up in his solar facility. Many butter oil connoisseurs have commented that the product has gone downhill over the past several years, with “off flavors” and an “odd texture.”
  • Lab testing of the butter oil showed a Peroxide Value of 3.6 meq/kg. The value should be no higher than 0.6 meq/kg. Acid Value tested at 3.0 mg-KOH/g. The value should be no higher than 0.796 mg KOH/g. Both of these tests show significant primary-stage rancidity.