After months of pro-life protests and opposition, PepsiCo has indicated it will alter its contract with biotech firm Senomyx Inc., which uses cells from a baby killed in an abortion to conduct flavor testing.
The second-largest beverage company in the world contracted with the firm in a $30 million deal in August 2010 and once Debi Vinnedge of the pro-life group Children of God for Life uncovered the connection, numerous pro-life groups, including LifeNews, joined together to promote a boycott of Pepsi until it ends the Senomyx contract.
Vinnedge informed LifeNews today of Pepsi’s decision and hailed it as a major breakthrough and achievement by thousands of concerned consumers who have been writing and boycotting PepsiCo beverages since last May.
In a letter to her group, PepsiCo’s VP of Global Public Policy, Paul Boykas stated that “Senomyx will not use HEK cells or any other tissues or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses for research performed on behalf of PepsiCo.”
“We took the matter very seriously,” stated Mr. Boykas. “We have an official Statement on Responsible Research and we intend to live by that policy.”
That policy precludes any research by PepsiCo — or third parties they fund — from using human tissue or cell lines derived from embryos or babies who are victimized by abortions.
Vinnedge told LifeNews the PepsiCo decision means an immediate end to the boycott that began in May 2011– welcome news to both PepsiCo and their customers who have abstained from their favorite beverages in protest.
“We are absolutely thrilled with PepsiCo’s decision. 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.”
“Senomyx receives royalties for products sold using their ingredients. If they do not use aborted fetal cell lines, they offend no one; if they do, they most certainly offend at least half of US consumers who are pro-life. But Children of God for Life also heard from a number of women who stated they were pro choice yet this use of aborted fetal cell lines, crossed the line and angered them as well,” she added.
“If for no other reason, it only makes financial sense for both Senomyx and their collaborators to avoid a substantial loss of potential market,” Vinnedge said. “Senomyx needs to stop using the aborted fetal cell lines entirely and we will continue to pressure them to do so.”
Vinnedge noted that the company had conducted internal discussions, recognizing it was a highly sensitive and controversial subject that was not in the best interests of PepsiCo.
Brad Mattes, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute, one of thirty-five pro-life organizations that joined Children of God for Life in the boycott, also weighed in on the decision.
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“We are grateful to PepsiCo and especially to all those who sent a loud and clear message to the management of this company. It’s incumbent upon us to closely monitor the situation to be sure that PepsiCo remains true to their word,” he said. “There are moral cell lines Senomyx can and should be using — not just for PepsiCo research but for all their customers.”
Vinnedge is strongly encouraging the public to take one more important step: write to PepsiCo and thank them — and then go buy your favorite Pepsi products to celebrate.
“Too often we seem to focus on the negatives and forget to take the time to let others know we appreciate their efforts,” stated Vinnedge. “It is our sincere hope that the public will once again rise to the occasion en masse as they did in the boycott — but this time in appreciation and support of PepsiCo.”
ACTION: Contact Pepsico:
Jamie Caulfield, Sr. VP
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
Email form: http://cr.pepsi.com/usen/pepsiusen.cfm?time=5189878