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Pepsi Getting Heat for Use of Aborted Fetal Cells in Flavor Research

Posted by Aaron Dames on November 18, 2011
[Image: Pepsi.jpg]David Bohon writes in the New American:
Shareholders of PepsiCo have filed a resolution with the Securities and Exchange Commission in an effort to force the company to stop contracting with a research firm that uses cells from aborted babies in its process of producing artificial flavor enhancers. According to, Pepsi has "ignored concerns and criticism from dozens of pro-life groups and tens of thousands of pro-life people who voiced their opposition to PepsiCo contracting with biotech company Senomyx even after it was found to be testing their food additives using fetal cells from abortions."
On its website Senomyx explains that its flavor research 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. 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."
But Debi Vinnedge of Children of God for Life, a pro-life group that has focused its attention on Pepsi's relationship with Senomyx, pointed out that what the company does not reveal is that it is "using HEK293 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."
When asked about her company's use of HEK293, Senomyx vice president Gwen Rosenberg assured a reporter for the Miami New Times that "you won't find anything on our website about HEK293." Queried about the company's position on stem-cell research, Rosenberg boasted, "We don't have a position on anything. We're dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars and reduce salt. Our focus is to help consumers with diabetes or high blood pressure have a better quality of life."