Transparency, Blackouts, Doses and Grand Tours: My Response to the Healthy Home EconomistAug 25, 2015
This weekend Sarah Pope wrote me about my report Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth about Fermented Cod Liver Oil, calling it a “bombshell” and saying “The biggest problem is the DNA tests coming back as Alaskan pollack. I don’t eat ANYTHING out of Alaska anymore due to Fukushima and had been told that the ‘cod’ used by GP (Green Pasture) came from North Atlantic Arctic waters. But again, this was a number of years ago. Supply lines have clearly changed.”
By Monday, Pope apparently decided to bury that personal concern and adopt the official party line. As she wrote in her blog Response to Dr. Daniel’s Report on Fermented Cod Liver Oil, “Alaskan Pollock is cod.”
First of all, thank you, Sarah, for confirming what Green Pasture has encouraged many of us to believe — that the company was using cod livers from the North Atlantic. In fact, as my DNA testing has shown, it’s pollock livers from Alaska. But while it’s true that Alaskan pollock is a member of the cod family, Green Pasture’s labeling of their pollock liver oil as “cod liver oil” is deceptive to consumers. It denies us the right to know and make our own choices.
As a consumer, I do not give David Wetzel or Sally Fallon Morell the right to decide for me that pollock is the same as cod. That is no different from Monsanto saying GMO corn is “substantially equivalent” to organic corn.
BLACKENED OUT LAB NAMES
In her recent blog, Pope criticized my report saying, “The labs used to run these tests are unnamed with the letterhead blacked out on the actual lab reports. This is highly unorthodox and is a major red flag. There should be complete transparency here. If the lab work is credible and authentic, the lab should be more than willing to put its name behind the data like is done for other scientific research. “
This is not “highly unorthodox” and it should not be “a red flag.” To order testing, I was required to sign legal documents saying I would not publish the reports. This is standard procedure with most laboratories and I stated this within the report. My choices were to blacken out the company names and letterhead, retype all the data, or not share the data at all. On the Green Pasture website, David Wetzel has shared his data in spread sheets. No labs are named. Most companies do the same. I am sure we would all like the labs to allow “complete transparency.”
Some labs will agree to full publication provided substantially higher fees are paid. The tests I had done cost close to $10,000 and this investigation took many months, creating a real hardship for me and my family. Doubling or tripling the costs would not have been an option.
Pope and others have criticized the fact that I did not fully disclose my sources of funding. To Pope this “raises another serious red flag” and she asks, “Were these other funding sources third parties who stand to financially gain from damaging results?”
Let’s be clear here: Funding covered the costs of lab testing, product purchase and Fed Ex shipments. No one paid me at all for the considerable time and effort I put into this project. Dr. Ron Schmid and the other individuals who helped with the costs of the testing wanted to know the truth, good or bad. They did not feel they would get it from the Weston A. Price Foundation because of its long-term association and financial relationship with Green Pasture. The reason these individuals requested anonymity is they feared that the very act of questioning Green Pasture products would jeopardize their relationship with Sally Fallon Morell and result in their being denied opportunities to write for the journal, serve as chapter leaders, speak at conferences and exhibit at conferences. All readily agreed to my condition that I would publish all the data and that they would have no control over my discussion of it. Some expected the data would cast doubts on the safety and quality of the Green Pasture products. Others hoped the products would be shown as safe and nutrient rich as claimed. All wanted to know the truth.
Many people have questioned why I did not accept an all-expense paid trip to Wetzel’s facility to see his methods for myself. As Pope puts it, “According to a very reliable source, Dr. Daniel notified Dave Wetzel of her concerns regarding the fermented cod liver oil being rancid a year ago, and he responded with an invitation to fly her out to his facility immediately at his expense and spend as much time as she’d like to thoroughly investigate his methods. . . . Why Dr. Daniel didn’t respond to his efforts to address her concerns remains unanswered.”
Why this remained unanswered is that no one asked me! And since Pope has been calling me out on “lack on transparency,” who is that “reliable source” she mentions? The reason I declined to take the trip is this: Doctors are frequently criticized for “educational” trips paid for by Big Pharma — and for good reason! They learn exactly what the manufacturer wants them to learn, and there is a strong likelihood that their objectivity will be swayed by the hospitality. This is the reason most journalists consider it unethical to take all expense paid “junkets” from the subjects of their articles or investigations. They either pay for the trip themselves, get their employer to pay, or don’t go. I believe bloggers and WAPF board members should hold themselves to the same standard.
Last winter, I told Wetzel I could not accept his all-expense paid visit, but would be willing to visit at my own expense. He then informed me that I could come but his lawyer would be present at all times. At that point, I decided not to travel because it would have cost me more than $2000 — $3000 if I brought a needed witness. I needed that money for lab testing. It was also totally obvious that I would see nothing that he did not want me to see. In terms of my “education” about the Green Pasture process, I had already talked to Wetzel in depth on many occasions. And every time, without fail, my specific questions were met with evasive and vague answers, plus a lot of mumbo jumbo along the lines of “We know there are thousands of healing molecules in there that science struggles to find.”
Pope has written that Dr. Ron Schmid by his own admission developed a serious heart condition because he “took ‘excessive amounts’ of 1-3 Tablespoons per day … up to 9X the recommended daily dosage.”
Yes, he did and he has shared his experience in the hope of helping others. And I know for a fact that he was not alone in what Pope describes as “extreme behavior.” Several years ago, Sally Fallon Morell routinely advised people take such high doses of fermented cod liver oil. As she said to me,“Kaayla, women like you and me need 3 tablespoons a day to stay healthy, productive and cope with all the stress.”
I ignored that “extreme recommendation,” and am very glad I did!
Have you downloaded your free copy of the FCLO report yet? Click here.