Patents support Oklahoma senator’s bill to ban use of aborted fetal tissues in food research
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, January 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – While an Oklahoma state senator has come under heavy fire for proposing a bill to ban the use of aborted “human fetuses” in foods or food-related research, publicly accessible patent documents show that at least one major food research company in the U.S. is using cells derived from an aborted fetus in flavor enhancing research.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Senator Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, introduced Senate Bill 1418, which prohibits “the sale or manufacture of food or products which contain aborted human fetuses,” or which “used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients.”
“There is a potential that there are companies that are using aborted human babies in their research and development of basically enhancing flavor for artificial flavors,” Shortey told local media.
His bill instantly generated a hailstorm of negative media coverage.
Tulsa news/talk radio station KRMG’s story began, “You might think this is a story out of ‘The Onion’ but it is a real story.” The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Based on something he read online, an Oklahoma state senator has introduced a bill that would ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food. Yes, you read that correctly.” Newser asked, “Is this a going problem in Oklahoma, you ask? Well no, but Shortey read about it once on the Internet…He insists the bill is serious, and says it’s being misunderstood.”
Even Glenn Beck’s news website, The Blaze, called the bill “shockingly strange.”
A national news story from the Associated Press seemed to deny the practice had ever taken place, quoting an e-mail from U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Pat El-Hinnawy that said, “FDA is not aware of this particular concern.”
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However, patent documents clearly show that fetal cell lines from an electively aborted child are being used in the development of flavor enhancers used by such companies as Nestle and Pepsi Cola. The cells do not end up in the final product.
The patent documents show that Senomyx, a San Diego-based biotech company, uses HEK 293 - a line derived from human embryonic kidney cells taken from an unborn child that was aborted in the 1970s.
The Miami New Times reported in March that, while company spokeswoman Gwen Rosenberg insisted “there is nothing on the company website linking Senomyx with HEK293,” a little Googling turned up a patent issued in 2008 for ‘Recombinant Methods for Expressing a Functional Sweet Taste Receptor,’ in which a line item mentions HEK293.”
In US Patent number 7,297,543, Senoymyx states: “The invention provides a preferred mammalian cell lines, e.g., HEK-293 cells that stably express T1R2/T1R3 and G.sub..alpha.15 under inducible conditions. These cells are useful in cell-based assays for identifying compounds that elicit or modulate sweet taste.”
Debi Vinnedge, executive director of the Florida-based pro-life group Children of God for Life, called media coverage of Shortey’s bill “perhaps the worst case of irresponsible reporting by the mainstream media that we have witnessed in this millennium.” Her group broke the story in March 2011.
“A simple fact check would have revealed that Senator Shortey is correct about how some of our foods are being produced,” Vinnedge said.
After her organization began a worldwide boycott of Senomyx’s customers, including Pepsi Cola and Nestle, Campbell’s Soups dropped its contract with the company.
Pepsi Cola has called the allegations “misinformation” and “something we would never do or even consider.” However, the patent materials themselves prove the use of aborted fetal tissues, if not “human fetuses,” the term Shortey used.
The use of aborted fetal tissue or parts in food is not unheard of outside of the U.S. as well. China is reportedly investigating claims aborted children and placentas are used in an aphrodesiac after private lab tests confirmed the presence of human DNA.
Shortey was elected to the Oklahoma state senate in 2010.