Pepsi rejects testing with fetal cells

We had a post on the report that Pepsi was using a flavor enhancement test that made use of embryonic cells from an aborted fetus. (NOT that they used that ingredient in their products!) In the discussion that ensued, it turned out that although the company Pepsi contracted with to do the testing had some patents using a Human Embryonic Kidney cells for this purpose, it wasn’t clear that these were used in the testing for Pepsi. At any rate, Pepsi has responded to the controversy and boycotts by vowing not to use testing involving fetal cells.  The boycotts have been called off.

A pro-life group called off its yearlong boycott of Pepsi products Monday after the soft-drink giant provided assurances it would no longer use an aborted fetal-cell line to develop flavor enhancers.

Children of God for Life revealed last year that PepsiCo had contracted with Senomyx Inc., a San Diego biotech company that listed HEK-293, a “human embryo kidney” cell line produced from an aborted fetus in the 1970s, in more than 70 patents related to flavor enhancers.

“We are absolutely thrilled with PepsiCo’s decision,” Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, said on the group’s website. “They have listened to their customers and have made both a wise and profound statement of corporate integrity that deserves the utmost respect, admiration and support of the public.”

In a letter to the group, Paul Boykas, PepsiCo vice president for global public policy, explained the company does no research that uses embryos or fetal cells and that Senomyx will not use the HEK line for Pepsi products.

Senomyx does not use HEK cells or any other tissues or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses for research performed on behalf of PepsiCo,” Mr. Boykas said.

Children of God for Life started its boycott effort, which had grown to include more than 30 pro-life organizations worldwide, last May and had engaged in a long back-and-forth with PepsiCo, during which the corporation denied using embryo or fetal tissue in various ways that pro-lifers dismissed as lawyerly spin.

But Mrs. Vinnedge told The Washington Times on Monday that the latest letter seemed evasion-proof.

“When they said they would not use HEK cell lines in their most recent letter – well, that is the hallmark for Senomyx research. So that was majorly different than what they had said in the past,” she explained.

 

 

Pepsi’s use of aborted fetal cells

I had assumed this was just a wild rumor, but Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing.   And the Obama administration has given its approval.   From Lifesite:

PepsiCo has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has been contracting with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers.

Now, the Obama administration is set to face more criticism because an agency has declared that Pepsi’s use of the company and its controversial flavor testing process constitutes “ordinary business.”

In a decision delivered February 28, the Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”

Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life, the organization that exposed the PepsiCo- Senomyx collaboration last year, informed LifeNews today that a letter signed by Attorney Brian Pitko of the SEC Office of Chief Counsel was sent in response to a 36-page document submitted by PepsiCo attorneys in January 2012. In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject a Shareholder’s Resolution filed in October 2011 that the company “adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements.”

PepsiCo lead attorney George A. Schieren noted that the resolution should be excluded because it “deals with matters related to the company’s ordinary business operations” and that “certain tasks are so fundamental to run a company on a day-to-day basis that they could not be subject to stockholder oversight.”

Vinnedge said she is appalled by the apathy and insensitivity of both PepsiCo executives and the Obama administration.

“We’re not talking about what kind of pencils PepsiCo wants to use – we are talking about exploiting the remains of an aborted child for profit,” she said. “Using human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) to produce flavor enhancers for their beverages is a far cry from routine operations.” . . . .

“The company’s key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products,” the Senomyx web site says. “Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”Vinnedge explained, “What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors. They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”

via Obama Agency: Pepsi Using Aborted Fetal Cells is Ordinary Business | LifeNews.com.

Comments from a source that isn’t pro-life, as such, focused instead on environmental and food issues:

To be clear, the aborted fetal tissue used to make Pepsi’s flavor chemicals does not end up in the final product sold to customers, according to reports — it is used, instead, to evaluate how actual human taste receptors respond to these chemical flavorings. But the fact that Pepsi uses them at all when viable, non-human alternatives are available illustrates the company’s blatant disregard for ethical and moral concerns in the matter.

Pepsi is not the only corporation doing this sort of thing.  Senomyx’s other customers include the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Merck.

So it has come to this:  the commodification of aborted babies.

Will Republicans go along with this, since it’s a matter of corporate practice and they are committed to being pro-business?  Will Libertarians defend this practice, since it’s all free enterprise?  Will Democrats who are normally critical of big business support these corporations, with pro-choicers not seeing a problem since they think fetuses are not human beings and since using fetuses as commodities reinforces a woman’s right to choose?

UPDATE:  Read the comments for some facts that might put Pepsi and federal regulators (not the Obama administration as such) in a more positive light.  But they also might not.  You tell me.

HT:  Trey


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X