Vital Choice Wild Seafood, which was slated to be a $5,000 gold sponsor and to donate several thousand dollars worth of food for the conference, informed WAPF on Monday morning that it was canceling its sponsorship. The Vital Choice president, Randy Hartnell, had described in a blog post Sunday his disappointment with WAPF’s enthusiastic backing of Green Pasture, the maker of fermented cod liver oil that was said by Daniel in an August report to be rancid and made from pollock instead of cod livers.
WAPF had three weeks ago kicked Ron Schmid’s Dr. Ron’s nutritional supplement business out of the conference as a gold sponsor, based on his contention that the Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil led to heart failure that nearly killed Schmid. That leaves six gold sponsors listed on the WAPF conference web page, along with three platinum sponsors, which includes Green Pasture.
In the blog post, on Kaayla Daniel’s web site, in the form of a response to an irate Vital Choice customer, Hartnell said, in part, “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……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.”
Before Vital Choice “quit” the WAPF conference, it was clearly skating on thin ice for its criticism of GP, and thus was in danger of being “fired” from the conference, as Dr. Ron’s had been. Hartnell, an outspoken former Alaskan fisherman, was emphatic in his reason for departing the WAPF conference, after 12 years of sponsorship. “We cannot endorse any organization that knowingly promotes a potentially hazardous product, and the irresponsible producer of that product, and attempts to deny and cover up critically important information about it. We regret we have no choice but to take this position, and are hopeful that one day commonsense and accountability will prevail for the well-being of all WAPF members.”
Sally Fallon Morell, the president and founder of WAPF, has continued to position the dust-up over her ongoing endorsement of Green Pasture as a minor spat, of little consequence to her or WAPF. After the removal of Daniel last evening, she put out an email to foundation members announcing the removal, and adding: “Certain sensationalist blogs have claimed that there is ‘chaos’ and ‘carnage’ at the Weston A. Price Foundation. I would like to assure all of you that here is no carnage, no chaos at WAPF. The office is very calm. We have received a few phone calls about the cod liver oil controversy, and we have pointed them to our statements on the website (Concerns about Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Questions and Answers About Fermented Cod Liver Oil). Many supportive emails have come in. No one has cancelled membership over these concerns, and no current chapter leaders have resigned. Registrations for the conference are way ahead of last year, and we look forward to seeing many of you there.”
In another reaction to the Daniel ouster from the board, Ron Schmid, the naturopathic physician and owner of Dr. Ron’s, today sent out an angry letter of warning to nearly 600 WAPF chapter leaders about the Green Pasture product, referring to fermented cod liver oil as “rancid (rotten) pollock liver oil (RPLO)” He acknowledged that “many people have taken RPLO with no apparent ill effects, and even benefits.”
He maintained, “If the dose is small enough for the individual, the benefits of the nutrients may outweigh the damage toxins do for some time.”
Schmid added, to the chapter leaders: “All over the internet, people continue to sell RPLO. Stores carry it, health care professionals recommend it to their patients. Meanwhile Sally threatens lawsuits against those of you who even question the stuff. “ He then offered a legal challenge: “To Sally and the WAPF board, and to David Wetzel and Green Pasture, I say this: You say I am slandering RPLO. Well, sue me. Not your chapter leaders, me. I welcome it. I’ll see you in court, where the truth will come out.”