Pepsi is back in the news this week and is coming under criticism 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.
As LifeNews reported yesterday, 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.”
However, Pepsi is not the only company that is making products that rely on cells from babies killed in abortions.
As pro-life blogger Susan Michelle notes, the full 36-page document submitted by PepsiCo attorneys in January 2012 to respond to a shareholder resolution from PepsiCo shareholders upset by Pepsi’s reliance on Senomyx shows other companies are problematic as well.
We obtained the document via PepsiCo’s website but have uploaded it here for you to see if you’d like to review the entire document. If you want to cut to the chase, search FETAL and it will take you to the details.
The memo is from Office of Chief Counsel, Division of Corporation Finance, Securities and Exchange Commission and regarding “PepsiCo, Inc Shareholder Proposal of Sarah Giltner, Exchange Act of 1934-Rule 14a-8.”
You’ll note the term ordinary business, widely cites in pro-life news reports today, is used in context of other companies doing likewise, such as Merck, a pharmaceutical company that manufactures many controversial vaccines that are created with cell lines from aborted fetuses.
The document names Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co as two companies that have used or studied using fetal tissue from elective abortions to create their products. As the Pepsi document notes:
The Proposal may be excluded pursuant to Rule 14a-8(i)(7) as relating to ordinary business operations because it attempts to involve shareholders in the management of the Company’s business with respect to the specific methods the Company may use in conducting its product research, development and testing. Recognizing the complexities of research decisions and that such decisions are incompatible with shareholder action, the Staff has consistently concurred with the exclusion of shareholder proposals relating to a company’s product research, development and testing.
For example, the Staff concurred in the exclusion of a similar shareholder proposal as relating to ordinary business matters in Pfizer Inc. (avail. Feb. 14, 2008). That proposal requested the formation of a committee “to more fully explore the ethical and business implications of further research involving cells or cell lines that are the result of the destruction of human embryos.” The Staff concurred that the proposal could be excluded under Rule 14a-8(i)(7), noting that the proposal implicated Pfizer’s “ordinary business operations (i.e., product research, development and testing).” Similarly, in Merck & Co (avail Jan. 23, 1997), the Staff concurred in the exclusion of a proposal seeking the formation of a committee “to study ways to eliminate the use of human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions in the research, development, and testing of the company’s products,” noting that it related to “product research, development and testing.”
Michelle responds, saying, “In layman’s terms, this means that because there’s precedent in medicine, we can still do it, and the shareholders need to stay out of it.”
“It’s tragic that this is true. Precedent does exist; we’ve created pharmaceuticals and wrinkle cream from cells and tissue from aborted babies, so why wouldn’t we make that the product of flavor testing now? People love their food and spend lots of money every year on their snack foods. We are the market for this, and we buy this stuff,” the pro-life advocate continues.
“The precedent does exist because we have furthered the culture of death. When we allowed fetal cell research, we opened the door for this. While that law needs to be changed as soon as possible, what needs to happen immediately is that PepsiCo (which includes Frito-Lay) Nestle, and Kraft need to display morality and ethics and pull out, regardless of the cost, from Senomyx,” she concludes. “We can’t feign shock because we’ve been doing this for years with medicine and skin creams, so this was bound to happen. And only the changing of hearts will reverse it. As long as we are a consumer-driven culture with an appetite for what pleases us, these companies have us where they want us, and we are a part of the profit from the shedding of innocent blood.”
“The SEC decision is a result of its upholding the status quo, the current culture of death. We’ve allowed a society that couldn’t permit anything else. Now we have to change it,” Michelle said.
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.
ACTION: Contact Pepsi:
Jamie Caulfield, Sr. VP
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
Email form: https://cr.pepsi.com/usen/pepsiusen.cfm?time=5189878