What a brave new world this is.
Biotech company using aborted fetal cell lines to test food flavor enhancers (Largo, FL) Children of God for Life is calling for a public boycott of major food companies partnering with Senomyx, a biotech company that produces artificial flavor enhancers using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products.
In 2010, the pro-life organization wrote to Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder, pointing out that moral options for testing their food additives could and should be used. But when Senomyx ignored their letter, they wrote to the companies Senomyx listed on their website as “collaborators” warning them of public backlash and threatened boycott. Food giants Pepsico, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae and Nestlé are the primary targets of the boycott.
Senomyx website states: “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….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.”
Their collaborators provide Senomyx research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.
“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”, stated Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director for Children of God for Life, a pro-life watch dog group that has monitored the use of aborted fetal material in medical and consumer products for years.
“They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors”, she added.
In writing to their collaborators, it took three letters before Nestlé finally admitted the truth about their relationship with Senomyx, noting the cell line was “well established in scientific research”.
Both Pepsico and Campbell Soup also responded. Shockingly, Pepsico wrote: “We hope you are reassured to learn that our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers. This will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people live healthier lives.”
Campbell Soup was more sensitive in their response: “Every effort is made to use the finest ingredients and develop the greatest selection of products, all at a great value. With this in mind, it must be said that the trust we have cultivated and developed over the years with our consumers is not worth compromising to cut costs or increase profit margins.”
While Campbell didn’t state they would change their methods, their response, gave Vinnedge hope. “If enough people voice their outrage and intent to boycott these consumer products, it may convince Senomyx to change their methods”, she noted. “Otherwise, we will be buying Coca-Cola, Lipton soups and Hershey products!”