BioethicsFri Jul 15, 2011 - 4:20 pm EST
Flavor company that uses embryo cells hides partner company names
LARGO, Florida, July 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A biomedical firm that uses fetal cell lines in flavor technology has removed from its website the names of organizations that use their products, according to the pro-life group Children of God for Life (COGFL).
Senomyx has been called out by the organization for using HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells in the research and development of their artificial flavor enhancers, despite a pro-life consumer backlash.
Among Senomyx’s partnering companies is PepsiCo, which has been targeted for boycott based on its use of the flavor technology. In a recent response to customer letters, PepsiCo noted, “With respect to the flavor discovery research with Senomyx, we utilize techniques that have been the gold standard for several decades.”
COGFL responded, however, that the statement only further inflamed the public’s moral concerns.
“If this ‘gold standard’ is no big deal, then why are they trying so hard to hide the truth?” asked COGFL Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge. “PepsiCo and Senomyx have done everything in their power to trivialize what they are doing, when in fact what they are doing is only further damaging their public image.”
Vinnedge says she wrote to all Board Members of PepsiCo in late June noting their responsibility to protect shareholders’ interests and cautioned that further action would be taken if nothing is done. Since PepsiCo is funding the research and development, and will pay royalties to Senomyx for product sales, COGFL says they have the ability to change the technology being utilized. Board members have not yet responded.
“As we noted in our PepsiCo Board letter, consumers find it repulsive to associate aborted fetal kidney material with something they are about to drink,” stated Ms. Vinnedge. “We believe consumers have a right to know and choose other products.”
In several previous press releases, Children of God for Life has called on all Senomyx partners to either end their affiliation with Senomyx or persuade them to use morally obtained cell lines, several of which are listed as viable alternatives in their own patents.
The group is asking the public to continue their boycott efforts and they have produced a one page flyer that can be downloaded here.
“The boycott is working and if PepsiCo continues to ignore our requests, we will file a shareholder resolution to significantly broaden public knowledge,” said Vinnedge.
COGFL noted that PepsiCo stockholders interested in joining the effort can contact the organization here.