We are sorry to announce the resignation of Sylvia Onusic, PhD, from our board of directors. A talented researcher, Dr. Onusic has made valuable contributions to the work of the Foundation over the years, including many articles published in the journal.
Unfortunately, Dr. Onusic has chosen to resurrect the fermented cod liver oil controversy in her resignation letter, and her allegations about the product and my integrity are now making the rounds in social media. Dr. Onusic accuses me of refusing to discuss the Foundation’s endorsement of fermented cod liver oil and its use in our raw milk baby formula. Normally I don’t reply to personal attacks, but in this case I feel I must set the record straight. Not once in recent times has Dr. Onusic expressed any concerns to me or other members of the board about fermented cod liver oil or its use in our baby formula; and I have no recollection of any discussion with her about these subjects. Since she never brought the subject up or requested any discussion, there has been no discussion! As I have communicated to her privately, I would have been happy to discuss the baby formula if she had asked to discuss it.
We have extensively addressed the concerns about fermented cod liver oil before. They are posted here:. You may want to listen to my recent podcast on the cod liver oil controversy: .
But I would like to address the larger implications of this controversy. Criticism of fermented cod liver oil first emerged when a competing producer of a cod liver oil product issued a very inflammatory pamphlet against fermented cod liver oil at one of our conferences—this was several years ago. This is absolutely against our rules. We do not allow exhibitors to criticize competing products at our conference (or in ads in Wise Traditions). I told the exhibitors to remove the pamphlet at once, which they did.
However, the attacks on fermented cod liver oil continued, from several quarters, becoming more shrill and more personal against me—in spite of the fact that we turned to experts to do various tests which showed that the product was safe, wholesome and unadulterated. The implication is that I or the Foundation should rescind an endorsement—throw a small company making a good product under the bus—simply because competitors are attacking the product or attacking us personally.
Imagine what would happen if we gave in to such pressure! One by one our products and producers would be attacked—first fermented cod liver oil, then all the natural cod liver oils that we recommend, then the larger raw milk producers, then producers of fermented foods and beverages, then companies providing grass-fed meats or wild seafood. If we give in to one such attack, then we would likely give in to another, and one by one our good products and artisan producers would be removed from our Shopping Guide.
The Foundation and I personally are always happy to answer questions and listen to genuine concerns about any product listed in our Shopping Guide; but we will not give in to competitors’ attacks on other products, products that conform to our guidelines and that have helped so many of us on the road to good health. Clearly, not every product included in our Shopping Guide will work for each individual. We include a variety of products in each category so that consumers may have a choice.
Sally Fallon Morell, President