PepsiCo has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has been contracting with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers.
Now, the Obama administration is set to face more criticism because an agency has declared that Pepsi’s use of the company and its controversial flavor testing process constitutes “ordinary business.”
In a decision delivered February 28, the Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”
Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life, the organization that exposed the PepsiCo- Senomyx collaboration last year, informed LifeNews today that a letter signed by Attorney Brian Pitko of the SEC Office of Chief Counsel was sent in response to a 36-page document submitted by PepsiCo attorneys in January 2012. In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject a Shareholder’s Resolution filed in October 2011 that the company “adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements.”
PepsiCo lead attorney George A. Schieren noted that the resolution should be excluded because it “deals with matters related to the company’s ordinary business operations” and that “certain tasks are so fundamental to run a company on a day-to-day basis that they could not be subject to stockholder oversight.”
Vinnedge said she is appalled by the apathy and insensitivity of both PepsiCo executives and the Obama administration.
“We’re not talking about what kind of pencils PepsiCo wants to use – we are talking about exploiting the remains of an aborted child for profit,” she said. “Using human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) to produce flavor enhancers for their beverages is a far cry from routine operations
Vinnedge said PepsiCo also requested the resolution be excluded because it “probed too deeply into matters of a complex nature upon which shareholders cannot make an informed judgment.”
“In other words, PepsiCo thinks its stockholders are too stupid to understand what they are doing with the remains of aborted children,” she said. “Well they are about to find out just how smart the public really is when they turn up the heat on the world-wide boycott.”
Vinnedge is warning consumers to be on guard for the roll-out of PepsiCo’s newest beverage that claims to cut sugar and calories by 50%. The product is called Pepsi Next and is anticipated to hit the market in the coming weeks. Since PepsiCo stated that their goal with Senomyx is to produce new beverages with reduced sugars and calories, she wonders if Pepsi Next is the new Senomyx-PepsiCo creation?
“While fetal components are currently not in the final product, there is growing concern among consumers that it could happen in the near future. With the explosion of health foods on the market, there is nothing to stop companies from using fetal remains as protein ingredients,” she told LifeNews. “Impossible, you say? Actually because of GRAS rules (Generally Accepted as Safe) it might not even trigger FDA oversight. And that has consumers plenty worried about just what might be “next” from the industry.”
She says the latest development makes Oklahoma Senator Ralph Shortey’s SB1418 banning the sale of products that are developed with or contain aborted fetal remains critically important for consumer protection.
“We commend the Senator for his courageous move,” noted Vinnedge. “The public is already saying no thanks to all Pepsi beverages and Pepsi Next is just that – the “next” product to avoid.”
As recently as May, Pepsi 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.
“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 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.”
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