Sylvia Onusic

It’s the scandal that won’t go away for the Weston A. Price Foundation. 

The scandal, of course, is the refusal of the foodie organization to step back from its enthusiastic endorsement of so-called fermented cod liver oil since a flood of health concerns began coming to light in 2014 and 2015. The latest flareup over FCLO comes with the publicly announced resignation by one of the organization’s directors, nutritionist Sylvia Onusic. 

In a statement posted on her web site and on her Facebook page, the nutritionist blames WAPF’s founder, Sally Fallon Morell, for her “continued insistence that FCLO be an integral ingredient in the homemade infant formula recipe, despite the possibility that the product may be harmful.” WAPF has long recommended a homemade infant formula based on raw cow or goat milk for mothers who encounter difficulties breast feeding. 

Though Onusic only joined the board in 2017, she has been involved in WAPF research and information projects since 2011, when she helped draft supporting evidence for a WAPF court case over the use of soy in prison food; the suit was eventually dismissed by a federal judge. 

Onusic says the continuing FCLO situation made her involvement on the WAPF board untenable, since “one of the major policies and positions of the WAPF is to defend and promote the use of FCLO unquestioningly. I cannot in good faith uphold this loyalty oath. First do no harm.” 

In an interview, she told me that she had tried privately to convince Fallon-Morell to back away from the FCLO endorsement. “Sally asked me to join the board, out of the blue. I thought about it. I thought maybe I could help the board, bring them into the modern world in some respects. Quickly I found out that Sally will listen to you, but nothing ever changes.” Indeed, according to Onusic, WAPF’s founder refers to herself as “the benevolent dictator.” She added that another member has been after WAPF to change its infant formula to eliminate the FCLO from the recipe. 

In her statement, Onusic reiterated concerns raised by Kaayla Daniel, a former WAPF vice president, who was booted off the board in 2015 after she released results of a study she conducted suggesting that FCLO is rancid. According to Onusic,  “The product is made with raw fish livers, a probiotic, a carbohydrate, and other ingredients, which lie in a vat for several months under the sun, without refrigeration or protection from deterioration. However, there is little transparency surrounding the production of FCLO. A former board member [Kaayla Daniel] presented laboratory analysis of FLCO based on state of the art methods (nuclear magnetic resonance) from top marine lipid laboratories which showed rancidity, the possibility of added vegetable oils, controversial levels vitamin D to vitamin A, and no vitamin K2 or CoQ10 content (as previously promoted stated on the label). The testing raised the possibility of harm and risk of harm, which should be investigated. However, no discussion was permitted about the issue at the time and the member was removed from the Board. But the elephant is still in the room.” 


While we are on the subject of infants…..There is a followup report from NPR on the American effort to derail a World Health Organization initiative to encourage breast feeding over commercial infant formula. The report indicates the U.S. has, in the past been kind of neutral when the subject has come up, and that the recent opposition from the Trump administration is the most serious opposition ever.

There is also followup news on the outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 in Tennessee in May that sickened 15 children. It seems there were two varieties of the E.coli at work, likely one at a raw milk dairy serving herdshare members that sickened ten, and another at a day care facility where goats were around that sickened five. At least four had HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome), a complication of the infection that often shuts down kidney function for a time. All but one of the children but have been released from the hospital; the one still hospitalized is a two-year-old boy understood to have been sickened by the raw milk, who has had a very difficult time with complications from the HUS; it’s uncertain what ongoing problems he might have both physically and mentally.