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History of the Arctic Cod

Archived article from 2013 - video no longer available

We at Nordic Naturals would like to take you on a tour to the long history of Arctic cod fishing all the way to the present day and the production of our gold standard arctic cod liver oil.

We will show you some of Nordic Naturals innovative processing techniques, methods which can bring you colour with all the purity and freshness level never before achieved. You will get a glimpse of our multi-patented manufacturing technology and our one-of-a-kind capsules being formed right here in the factory in arctic Norway. Finally, you will see our products being shipped directly to you, our customer.

For over 10,000 years, the coastal people in Lofoten have made Norwegian arctic cod a staple of their daily diet. Well before the year 1,000 AD, Lofoten was the world's number one supplier of cod. Traditionally, fish has accounted for over 80% of Norway's exports.

Cod liver oil was always a crucial part of the coastal people's diets. Vitamin A and D, omega 3 fats, unsaturated fatty acids, and oil-rich livers help keep them strong and healthy through the cold and dark winters. It was often said that the people drinking cod liver oil were never ill.

Back in the 1800s, a pharmacist who experienced the exceptional health of the people living on the Norwegian coastline invented a new method of extracting the pure oil from the livers. Subsequently, he invented a method to milk the valuable oil out of fresh cod livers, for the first time making cod liver oil that was both high in quality and affordable. The evolution of cod liver oil production has come a long way since then.

Today we follow one of the small boats, or sjark as they are called in Norway, on this fishing trip to supply the arctic cod livers for Nordic Naturals. When we started researching where to get the best livers for our oil, we quickly realized that only by working with fishermen who go out for one day at a time could we provide the level of freshness required to meet our strict standards.

As you watch the fish being brought in, you will notice that only arctic cod are being harvested. To minimize the impact on the Arctic Ocean's plentiful and diverse ecosystem, the fishermen have adopted a fishing style that only brings in cod, leaving all the other fish unharmed.

It is also reassuring to see that the cod we catch today are of the same size and health as those caught a century ago. Notice how vigorous and plump the fish are, showing us that life in the Arctic Ocean is abundant and healthy. This fact is also supported by the researchers from the University of Tromsø who study fish levels every six months and issue fishing quotas together with the Norwegian government.

When we began to talk with the fishermen, we were surprised to find that many of them were throwing away the valuable and nutrient-rich arctic cod livers. Only by paying them very well, were we able to convince them to save the livers for our arctic cod liver oil production.

Today, due to Nordic Naturals arrangements to purchase the healthy cod livers, the whole fish is now brought to shore. The harvesting of the livers begins just a few feet away from the dock. In mind of our mission to operate in an environmentally responsible manner, we only work with fishermen who utilize 100% of the arctic cod for either human or animal consumption.

The livers are removed and cut into small pieces to prepare them for the extraction process. A forklift takes a small tour up the docks to a Nordic Naturals processing facility, and pours the raw livers directly into the extraction chamber. From this point on, the oil will never be exposed to oxygen, dramatically minimizing the acidity and facilitating the taste of pure health that our customers have come to expect.

With a very short time from catch to processing and a continual use of a nitrogen environment, Nordic Naturals produces the freshest cod liver oil ever made. Why is freshness so important to us? Not only is freshness the most important factor in assuring great tasting oil, it also eliminates unwanted oxidated stress and free radical formation in the body.

Once the oil has been extracted from the cod liver, it's de-gummed using flash exposure to hot water, a process which removes unwanted compounds such as gums, phospholipids, and proteins. Soon after, the fish oil is cooled to three degrees Celsius in order to collect and remove saturated fats. The oil is then filtered to remove the uric acids.

The next filtration is through 100% natural bentonite earth filter to remove metals such as iron and copper. The oil goes through a proprietary filtration process to remove potential earth residue and any transition metals and oxidated particles.

A final distillation step is added to remove any potential heavy metals or other impurities, leaving us with an oil with unsurpassed freshness and purity values. Throughout the process, samples are analyzed and tested guaranteeing that each batch meets Nordic Naturals stringent quality requirements.

Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil capsules are made right here in arctic Norway with our patented fruit-flavoured gelatin which you can see being rolled right into the encapsulation machine. Within a sealed nitrogen environment, the oil is piped into the machine where the oil is deposited directly inside a newly formed and patented flavour gel caps. The combination of the 100% natural flavours in both the gelatin and oil itself make Nordic Naturals arctic cod liver oil capsules a tasty treat even for the most discriminating pallet.

At first, the gelatin is soft and moist, so large tumble dryers gently expose the gelatin to air to begin the drying process. Once they come out, capsules are placed on drying sheets and left to harden. Capsules are then tested by hand to make sure that they all have a perfectly firm, yet chewy quality. When the technicians are satisfied with the texture of the gel caps, they sift through them for final inspection. Great care is taken to remove any potential inferior capsules. Finally, they are placed in bags to ready them for shipment to the U.S.

Once the oil-rich livers are removed from the fish, the clean cod are trucked out to the ancient drying areas where they will be hung out to dry in the wind the same way it has been done for over 10,000 years. The dried codfish is called stockfish, a healthy fresh commodity absolutely free from artificial additives and created almost entirely from fresh air and love alone. The production process is resource friendly and, beyond all doubt, the least energy demanding food manufacturing procedure in the world.

In the United States, Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil, both in capsules and in liquids, finds its way to corporate headquarters in Watsonville, California. Thanks to our careful processing and handling, Nordic Naturals Arctic cod liver oils consistently measure exceptionally fresh and pure. Each bottle is carefully packed into environmentally friendly packages and sent out to find its way to you.

It has long been a Norwegian tradition that children after the age of one take a little cod liver oil every day to keep them well. To help bring this healthy tradition to America, Nordic Naturals offers fish oil so pure and great tasting, even kids ask for more. Children taking Nordic Naturals can look forward to increased support for brain and eye development, memory, learning, and focus.

We hope that you have enjoyed this tour through history of arctic cod to the present day manufacture of cod liver oil from Norway to North America. Now you can understand why we are so proud of our cod liver oil and our unique way of producing it. Sharing our exceptionally fresh and pure cod liver oil with the world has been our goal for the last ten years. This is our love and passion. We will continue to bring you the great taste of pure health for many years to come.

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