A pro-life group that monitors the use of cells from babies victimized by abortions is today highlighting a biotech company, Senomyx, which it says produces artificial flavor enhancers using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products.
Debi Vinnedge, the director of the pro-life organization, tells LifeNews.com today that, in 2010, her group wrote to Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder and pointed out that moral options for testing their food additives could and should be used. But when Senomyx ignored her letter, the group wrote to the companies Senomyx listed on their website as “collaborators” warning them of public backlash and threatened boycott. They included food giants PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae and Nestlé. (See update below.)
“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 says a boycott is important because the collaborating companies provide Senomyx with research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.
“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,” she said. “They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”
Vinnedge says she has contacted the food companies working with Senomyx, but said it took three letters before one company, Nestlé, finally admitted its relationship with Senomyx and company officials claimed the line of cells from abortions was “well established in scientific research”.
Both PepsiCo and Campbell Soup also responded.
PepsiCo wrote: “We hope you are reassured to learn that our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers. This will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people live healthier lives.”
Campbell Soup officials told the pro-life group: “Every effort is made to use the finest ingredients and develop the greatest selection of products, all at a great value. With this in mind, it must be said that the trust we have cultivated and developed over the years with our consumers is not worth compromising to cut costs or increase profit margins.”
While Campbell Soup didn’t state they would change their methods, their response, gave Vinnedge hope.
“If enough people voice their outrage and intent to boycott these consumer products, it may convince Senomyx to change their methods,” she said. “Otherwise, we will be buying Coca-Cola, Lipton soups and Hershey products.”
UPDATE: Within hours of its press statement to LifeNews.com, the pro-life group received notice from Campbell Soup that the company has severed its ties with Senomyx. Juli Mandel Sloves, Senior Manager of Nutrition & Wellness Communications at Campbell Soup Company, told Vinnedge, “We are no longer in partnership with Senomyx. This fact was discussed during the Senomyx conference call with its investors earlier this month.”
ACTION: Contact the companies at:
Kent Snyder, CEO
4767 Nexus Centre Drive
San Diego, California 92121
Edmund M. Carpenter, CEO
1 Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1701
Paul Bulcke, CEO
800 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203
Jamie Caulfield, Sr.VP
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
Irene Rosenfeld, CEO
Kraft Foods/Cadbury Chocolate
Three Lakes Drive
Northfield, IL 60093
Mr. Torkel Rhenman Chief Executive Officer
4300 Duncan Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63110