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Pepsi Ignores Criticism on Use of Aborted Cells in Research

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 5/30/11 3:17 PM

National

PepsiCo is ignoring criticism from pro-life advocates upset that the company contracts with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers.

Last week, dozens of pro-life groups called for a boycott of Pepsi because of information that came to light in March 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 Children of God for Life, 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 contacting Pepsi with their concerns, the beverage and food products company responded via email to pro-life advocates with an unsigned form response from “Pepsi Consumer Relations.”

“Thank you for contacting us to share your sincere concerns,” the PepsiCo response says. “Please be assured that PepsiCo is committed to using only the highest ethical methods in all aspects of our research. This is something we take very seriously, and we hold ourselves and all of our research partners to the same high standards as the world’s leading research centers.”

The email continues:  “With respect to the flavor discovery research with Senomyx, we utilize techniques that have been the gold standard for several decades by top universities, hospitals, U.S. government agencies, food and beverage companies, and essentially every pharmaceutical and biotech company in the world. Yet, there is some misinformation being circulated meant to distort what we’re doing and question our motives and those of other companies. This is unfortunate, and it is certainly not reflective of the work we are doing. We hope this information is helpful and reassuring. Thank you again for reaching out to us and allowing us to clarify the situation.”

In comments to LifeNews.com, Vinnedge says this is the latest example of PepsiCo avoiding or glossing over the criticism it receives.

“It seems that PepsiCo is simply not able to understand the concerns of consumers as they respond to their complaints with deceptive form letters,” she said.

“First, they tried to reassure the public their relationship with Senomyx was to produce “lower calorie great tasting beverages”.  Then after our first press release March 29th, they tried to insinuate the reports were false and they were being accused of doing aborted fetal research,” Vinnedge explained. “Now, as the full boycott begins, they brush off using aborted fetal cell lines as an industry gold standard.”

“Well, we have a message for PepsiCo,” the pro-life advocate continued. “We who are pro-life have a “gold standard” too. And that means we defend the sanctity of all human life
including the remains of innocent aborted babies that PepsiCo is exploiting for profit.”

“If they want to boycott to end, they need to tell Senomyx to start using moral sources for their research and development or they will sever their contracts,” she concluded.

Senomyx boasts that it has 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