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Pro-Life Groups: Boycott Pepsi for Using Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 5/25/11 11:23 AM

National

Dozens of pro-life groups are calling on pro-life Americans to boycott PepsiCo because it has contracted with a company that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers.

LifeNews.com reported on the controversy in March when information came to light showing biotech company Senomyx was found to be testing their food additives using fetal cells from abortions. Senomyx ignored a letter from the pro-life group Children of God for Life, which complained about its practices.

“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.”

Debi Vinnedge, of the pro-life group, 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.”

After exposing the practice, Vinnedge’s group called for pro-life people to contact the companies using Senomyx to test their products. While some companies stopped contracting with it, others did not.

Now, Vinnedge says today that PepsiCo is funding the research and development by paying royalties to Senomyx to use the human embryonic kidney cells to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.

“There are many options PepsiCo could be using instead of aborted fetal cells, including animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells,” she told LifeNews. “The revelation—a potential public relations nightmare—motivated Campbell Soup to sever all relations with Senomyx. However, PepsiCo continues their business relationship despite the abortion connection. Their response earlier this year drew public ire when they wrote that “our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers.”

“When pressed further, PepsiCo attempted to pacify angry consumers with a form letter response in which they insinuated they had been accused of conducting aborted fetal tissue research,” she added. “Their duplicity again drew public outrage.”

Brad Mattes of the Life Issues Institute is another pro-life leader calling for a boycott.

“While aborted fetal cells aren’t actually in the product itself, the close relationship is enough to repulse most consumers.  To our knowledge, this is the first time a food product has been publicly associated with abortion,” he said.

Senomyx boasts they have over 800,000 unique flavors for foods, Vinnedge says, but cells expressing certain proteins produce a chemical signal when the flavors are introduced, which determines if they have achieved the proper flavor. The aborted fetal cells are not in the product itself.

Pro-life organizations are asking the public to boycott all Pepsi drink products and encourage consumers to contact Pepsi management requesting that they sever all ties with Senomyx. Consumers are also encouraged to contact Campbell Soup and thank them for responding to pro-life concerns.

Pro-life groups joining Children of God for Life in the boycott to date are:  American Life League, Life Issues Institute, Concerned Women for America, Colorado Right to Life, American Right to Life, Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, ALL Arizona, Central Nebraskans for Life, Pro-Life Waco, Houston Coalition for Life, Mother and Unborn Baby Fox Valley, Womankind, Billboards for Life, Movement for a Better America, Defenders of the Unborn, Focus Pregnancy Help Center, Idaho Chooses Life, EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers of NY, Four Seasons for Life, CREDO,  Life Choices, STOPP Dallas, CA Right To Life, Human Life Alliance, International Right to Life Federation, Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. LifeNews.com has joined the boycott call as well.

ACTION: Contact these companies…

Jamie Caulfield, Sr. VP
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 253-2000
Email form: http://cr.pepsi.com/usen/pepsiusen.cfm?time=5189878

Edmund M. Carpenter, Chair, Corporate Development
Campbell Soup
1 Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1701
1-800-257-8443
Email form: http://campbellsoupcompany.com/Feedback.aspx