Are Aborted Fetus Cells Helping to Make Your Diet Pepsi Sweeter?

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Stem Cells - scientific marvel or evil?
The Christian media is swarming with accusations that Senomyx, a San Diego-based research and development company, whose clients include food heavy-hitters Nestle, Campbell's Soup, Kraft Foods, and PepsiCo, is conducting research with HEK293, originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells.

These accusations began with an action alert issued by Largo, Florida-based Children of God for Life, a nonprofit, pro-life organization focused on the "bioethical issues of human cloning, embryonic, and fetal tissue research." In the alert, Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God, calls for the public to "boycott products of major food companies that are partnering with Senomyx, a biotech company that produces artificial flavor enhancers, unless the company stops using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products."

On the company website, Senomyx describes research to find new ways to improve food flavors by taking advantage of the mouth's taste receptors. If you recall junior high school biology, the mouth can really taste only five flavors -- sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and glutamate. The company is using isolated human taste receptors in the form of proteins to identify flavors and enhance them.

Gwen Rosenberg, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Senomyx, described the process as "basically a robotic tasting system." She depicted rows of little plastic square dishes with hundreds of tiny indentations in each dish. A protein is placed in each indentation, then a flavor. If the protein reacts to the flavor, the results are charted. If the new flavor (of which the company has more than 800,000) is successful with the protein test, the company then conducts taste tests with (live) adult humans.

Asked about the action alert, Rosenberg said, "We don't discuss details of our research, but you won't find anything on our website about HEK293." I asked Rosenberg if Senomyx had a position on stem cell research. "We've never been asked that," she replied, "We don't have a position on anything. We're dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars and reduce salt. Our focus is to help consumers with diabetes or high blood pressure have a better quality of life."

Though Rosenberg states 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.

So what exactly is HEK293? It's a cell line that started in the 1970s from human embryonic kidney cells. The line was cultured by scientist Alex Van der Eb in the early 1970s at his lab at the University of Leiden, Holland. Since then, the cell line has been cultured and grown in laboratories (you can buy some here). It's primary use is as a protein or a protein vessel -- sort of a natural test tube. It's also pretty common and seems to be available at most laboratory supply companies and used by many R&D facilities. In short, maybe not such a big deal.

So what does all of this mean? Is this "action alert" yet another rant by the right wing to draw attention to itself and delay scientific progress? In my opinion, yes. Children of God for Life has also issued news releases warning parents that childhood vaccines are made with aborted fetus cells. The cells they're talking about have "technically" originated from aborted fetus cells, but it's not like scientists are putting fetus body parts into blenders while laughing. Think of the fetus cells as sort of "ancient ancestors" to the new cells that are readily used today as "building blocks" and receptors in many commonplace scientific experiments in universities, hospitals, and commercial labs.

I would rather see cells being cultivated and grown in labs for use in experiments than the heinous wholesale torture and experimentation on laboratory animals. True, some of the experimentation is frivolous (who gives a rat's ass about finding out if something is sweeter than sugar -- use sugar sparingly and let's call it a day), but evil? I think not. This seems like just another way the religious right wants to set science and progress back to the "good old days" -- when people died from the common cold and the only way you could sweeten your iced tea was with sugar.

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169 comments
ThoreauHD
ThoreauHD

Some of you non-biologists(author) and anti-religious bigots are missing the point.  The point is that you are eating human DNA.  

You can not eat your own species' DNA, because it leads to Creutzfeld-Jakob disease aka Mad Cow Disease in bovine species.  It creates prions in the host when you are a cannibal.  Prions are fractured protein daggers that rupture cells, and result in the swiss cheese brains you find in CJ/Mad Cow victims. 

Cells have DNA.  Cloned Cells have DNA.  Animal cell DNA is species specific.  Some species are a closer match, and some are a further match- But human is a direct match to human.  Just because it doesn't vote for Obama doesn't make it any less human, and it doesn't remove the risk or fact that you are eating cloned human organ cells.

ccopeland55
ccopeland55

worst of all, who would even research how to use human cells within our foods and drinks? Sickos complete and total sickos. I wish all of them would disappear as our earth would improve significantly and naturally.

ccopeland55
ccopeland55

all sodas have bad things and will eventually make you ill. city tap water is worse. Look up flouride...it started being used in prison camps to gain control and more. Where can we find pure water? pure drinks? pure food?

Nobleradiance
Nobleradiance like.author.displayName 1 Like

So we are becoming cannibals now?  That's what makes this evil.  Are we to eat our own young...our own children?  That's down right sick!  I think not!  Putting cells or any part of a murdered baby, fetus...aka human---into our food, is cannibalism.  THAT IS EVIL.  And such a people will not stand long.  God will no stand silent while HIS creation eats itself.

Bdjdkkdkd
Bdjdkkdkd

I don't like Pepsi, Kraft, nestle products ect. Because I think it's nasty to eat even small little cells from a human fetus. I don't like the fact that a lot of people don't know about this because their making them selves into cannibals with out even knowing it . Lots of people aren't religious and they still might think its nasty. I would prefer not to know this because I had just finished some lays when I found out that I have a human embryo in a bag

Getoverit
Getoverit

Ok so how does a cell thats been cloned thousands of times over, or possibly more equate to an embryo, or an aborted fetus, or an unborn child? Sorry I really dont see the problem. Much less how people came up with the myth that the cells wound up in the Pepsi. Cmon people...You got way too much time on your hands. I can think of better uses for a brain cell.

Redd_molina
Redd_molina like.author.displayName 1 Like

Since when is dead babies "scientific progress?"

Steven T Woodworth
Steven T Woodworth like.author.displayName 1 Like

they say they are gonna discontinue doin it,but i dont beleive it!!

Ncfuersts
Ncfuersts like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

So, in your enlightened view, the torturing of animals is more heinous than "technically" killing  fetuses for scientific uses.  Good to know they are not being put in a "blender while scientists laugh".  As long as the unborn are "building blocks" and are our "ancient ancestors" it sounds really great and more palatable to swallow as being a good thing.  I guess the successful advancement in the treatment of parkinson's disease from adult stem cells or the use of umbilical cord blood and more recently, amniotic fluid cells, is not good enough progress.  We must extend our scientific research to include the use of unborn children in order to really by trying your best.  If not, you are just wanting to go back to "the old days where people died from the common cold."  Get yourself educated and, more importantly, get your facts straight before you write your next article.

pstepin
pstepin like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Ncfuersts thank you for pointing out how the author tried to diminsh the questionable issue being discussed.  It seems to me that the author's use of flattering euphemism and analogies wouldn't be needed as persuasion if the bare truth of the situation was really acceptable.

Hmmm wonder if Pepsi advertises/owns/is on the board of the New Times / village voice media?

TomDark9
TomDark9 like.author.displayName 1 Like

What about the "ew" factor? Principles are good and all -- tho' I think you "science" types are tasteless -- but, just, ew.  I don't even think I'd let people suck down a Mountain Dew if it was based on some science nurd fiddling around with one of my toenail clippings. So I'm quitting on Pepsi, Kraft, and anybody else involved in this frankenfood crap. 

Guest
Guest

Has anyone making a comment on this actually done research on this topic? The term aborted is misappropriated here, because the cells typically come from embryos that were going to be implanted via INF, however unused embryos are typically left frozen for years, and after 5 to 10 years, the genetic material is degraded. The debate is then not about abortion, but should women be forced to carry all of the given eggs to term? How would that effect cost of living for many families who would have more children than they would be able to support? How many would end up in foster care? Also, if the embryos are not used, they are typically thrown  away after a period of time. It is interesting how many of the comments made relate to the argument of the biblical relevance of abortion, looking up scripture to back your arguments, when scripture may be interpreted in numerous ways. Also, why would passages from the bible, written thousands of years ago, be relevant to modern developments? I have nothing against religion, however I advice taking it with a grain of salt, taking into consideration the many interpretations (like denominations and religions in general), and actually doing some research on the subject rather than quoting verse that may be read in any number of ways. I am anticipating rebuttal, there is always rebuttal. However, I have no intention to type any more on the subject, and am attaching a link to an article related to the use of stem cells, not aborted fetuses, that may help anyone who is truly interested in understanding and then making a decision on the subject, rather than those who wish to remain uninformed and disagree with this comment. Thank you for your time. 

http://neuronalsurvival.se/wp-... 

ccopeland55
ccopeland55

@Guest you can try to justify this cr*p, but in the end its cr*p like your response.

Stephanie Shawn Dowdy-White
Stephanie Shawn Dowdy-White like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is just wrong no matter how you look at it. Why would anyone in there right mind allow this in their foods, and the so called story that it is better for people with diabetes is a joke!! When there is already an all natural sweetner that does not affect a person with diabetes. Can you say cannabolism?

Stephanie Shawn Dowdy-White
Stephanie Shawn Dowdy-White like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is just wrong no matter how you look at it. Why would anyone in there right mind allow this in their foods, and the so called story that it is better for people with diabetes is a joke!! When there is already an all natural sweetner that does not affect a person with diabetes. Can you say cannabolism?

headly
headly like.author.displayName 1 Like

holy crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

RAK
RAK

This is extremely deceiving.  These articles I see from these pro life organizations make it sound like aborted fetuses are being harvested when in fact, if any of you would do a little research instead of following the sheep, you would see this is one lineof kidney cells from an aborted fetus 35 years ago and they just keep replicating those cells...they are CELLS you lose millions of these a day you people are rediculous.  I used to be prolife but seeing how wackey you people are I am starting to think I don't care I'm just sick of everyone and their let's boycott this of protest that with out knowing facts.

Theelisons
Theelisons

This is disturbing!  Have we really come to this as a society?

Mandymac
Mandymac

Really?  Really?  Your right using animals...lets not use animals lets us a cell that has the dna of a aborted...(murdered) baby.  You dont have to be crazy right wing to think this is disgusting and wrong.  But your right its just a murdered baby kidney cell with the full dna of a baby. and we are using it for scienfic testing... why dont you donate your kidney so they can use it to see if they can make popcorn saltier wtih out using salt..DISGUSTING...all the technology we have and we have to use aborted baby cells.  That is not science!

jazzmom6
jazzmom6

Soooo...you dont consider eating the young, cannabalistic, etc.  I bet you can rationalize anything!

Rmcduell
Rmcduell

"experimenting on animals is not OK, but killing human fetuses is acceptable" seems to be the prevailing attitude of our society today. We have already gone off the slippery slope and are free-falling into the dark abyss.

what the???
what the???

You would rather the cells of aborted babies be used in experimentation than animals.  Some of us would disagree with that sentiment.We allow their hearts to be stopped, we allow their potential to be snuffed out, we deny them any hope of a possible future, and then we harvest them to enhance the flavor of our food, keep us wrinkle-free, and develop vaccines for those babies we have deemed worthy of life.

Katherine Hall
Katherine Hall

Wow really? I think I am going to be sick. And I am pissed.

XLIB
XLIB

Funny how the article went from being informative to taking a swipe at the right. Seems that the msm just can't report but have to inject opionions. Perhaps this is an opinion piece? If not, why not just report and leave out the snide, demeaning remarks.The remark about the "right" wanting to stifle any scientific advancement, really? Seem to me the left is really working hard to bring us back to the dark ages. No research into using clean coal, no research into better was to retrieve our own natural gas, on and on. What a bunch of smug people you are.

Philosopherscorner
Philosopherscorner

A comment:   author states:  "I would rather see cells being cultivated and grown in labs for use in experiments than the heinous wholesale torture and experimentation on laboratory animals." - ok cruelty to mammals is "heinous".  Babies are mammals.  Embryonic babies don't have kidneys - fully developed ones do and usually these "cells" need to be fresh which means being at the abortion table to get the cells.  No use of anaesthesia is bothered with.  So, this is heinous by the author's own standard.  Perhaps we should instead use fetal dolphins for our research.  This would not be "heinous" by the author's own confused sense of what is acceptable.

Jponwst
Jponwst

The author of this piece of garbage is no less a a bigot who sterotypes people than the vile segregationists of old South.

PoliticallyIncorrect
PoliticallyIncorrect

I think you're wrong about the intentions of the right wing. No one is calling them evil and accusing them of being monsters who laugh while they put "fetus body parts into blenders." I think you're wrong about them wanting to set science and progress back. Using another cell that doesn't, even technically, come from an aborted baby would not set back their research at all. They could have easily picked a different cell which would do the same thing.

This looks like another article to make the right wing look idiotic and over dramatic. No one is trying to prevent science from progressing but there are ways that research and progress shouldn't be done and this is one of them.

Patriot Games
Patriot Games

Anyone ever hear of CANNIBALISM?  Some moron know-it-all blogged that it's healthier to drink fetus cells than the other ingredients they put in soda. So does that mean it's healthier to eat your children than eat a hamburger? And if so, does that mean you should do it? Liberals think only about abortion and the "Christians" who oppose it. I'm a Christian and I'm not an abortion enthusiast but I'm no fanatic about it. In some circumstances I'm all for it. What;s more others than Christians oppose abortion or have mixed positions.

This issue is NOT about abortion. It's about having some respect for the dignity of life in whatever condition. It is very much about not doing anything even vagely connected to cannibalism. Besides carcinogens and other unhealthy chemicals, it makes you wonder if there's any line the hucksters won't cross in dumping garbage in your food to make a sale easier. And if Obama is for it, you know it's crazy as hell.

Melinda Sykes
Melinda Sykes

Love the debates here.  Please don't compare humans to chickens.  We are not birds.  We are born and not hatched.  Human females have ovaries which are referred to as eggs.  These require a sperm to fertilize the egg at which point it is no longer an egg it has become a zygote - a one cell human being.

“Fertilized Eggs” vs Zygotic Human Embryos

Goto commentsLeave a comment

Is it okay to use the term “fertilized egg”?

Not if you’re referring to human beings after conception.

The problem lies in how the words are used. Fertilization is an initiating process – a verb. With humans, it is not an end state of that process. People are born – not hatched, so the gestational environment (egg) that avians require is not the same needed by mammals*. If a human egg (oocyte) is fertilized (undergoes that process) it is no longer an egg. It is transformed. It changes its state of being.

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (HESCR) and abortion proponents play word games, using a valid phrase “fertilized egg”, but fallaciously redefine the meaning to a thing which exists after the process is finished. It’s only valid to say it’s a “fertilized egg” between the time the zona pellucida has been penetrated until amphimixis is complete – at which point you have a zygote – a one cell human being. The actually process of fertilization is no longer occurring to an egg – which has been transformed.

MrLogic
MrLogic

"but it's not like scientists are putting fetus body parts into blenders while laughing."And children of God for life never asserted that this happened.  It is something you dreamed up.

Rachel Krueger
Rachel Krueger

"The cells they're talking about have "technically" originated from aborted fetus cells" What part of this is not wrong....

speechlessnhorrified
speechlessnhorrified

Holy shit and WTF?!!?  Human cells in processed foods and human DNA in vaccinations?  What is wrong with you people.  That is cannibalism!  Cannibalism messes up your brain, not to mention the immorality of it.  DNA in vaccinations?  Geeze, that's like a mini version of a transplanted organ that is placed covertly, without your knowledge.  If a human body will reject a transplanted organ, why the heck wouldn't it try to reject transplanted DNA received via vaccination?  This is horrifying and an abomination.  This is madness in every sense of the word.  Who has the power to stop this madness???

Bradley Walker
Bradley Walker

This is basically an urban legend created by "pro-life" groups to scare people into passing a bill banning stem cell research. Nobody is putting "aborted fetuses" in soda.http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewhe... "Synomix has isolated receptors found on cells that detect taste, and added them to the HEK cells. This allows them to test thousands of potential taste additives to see whether they might taste sweet or savory with a speed that would be impossible with human taste testers." That's all. They're not even IN the soda.

Elizabeth Ert
Elizabeth Ert

Uhm.. there is residual DNA in these vaccines, have you read the product insert? the FDA doesnt deny that its there... so yes, you ARE injecting your child with ABORTED FETAL DNA.. that is not an embryo.. that is a 8-18 week gestational BABY that was aborted..

do your research folks, why do you insist on hiding the truth from the public? dont we have a right to know?

Eaamthor
Eaamthor

This all boils down to whether or not human life is created in the image of God. If it is , then harvesting cells from human life at it's earliest developement is obviously wrong.The fact that such cells were derived from embryoes in "the 1970's" is irrelevant. Once you create a market for something or get the public to accept it, it is very hard to stop it. Witness the supposed  original intent of the dubious "Roe vs. Wade" abortion decision. It was promoted to allow women the "right" to not have to carry a baby to term if the pregnancy was the result of a rape or if the preganancy would endanger the life of the mother. Now it is acceptable for any reason and paid for and promoted by the government. I challenge you to watch National Geographic's 2005 "In The Womb."   When you equate animal life with human life you are on the wrong track.   I pray God corrects the thinking of our lawmakers before it is too late.

Momchemkansas
Momchemkansas

666 mark of the beast.I will forever ban listed products

WickedGoodUsername
WickedGoodUsername

Staying away from all the same, ongoing arguments between the 2 sides on abortion (full disclosure: Don't believe in ghosts - holy or otherwise, do believe it's my body and you should keep your morality out of and off of it) I can't help but notice this - and the lack of comment on it:

"When asked about her company’s use of HEK293, Senomyx vice president Gwen Rosenberg assured a reporter for the Miami New Times that “you won’t find anything on our website about HEK293.”

Was the question "Is there any information about HEK293 on your website?" or something else? the NT article doesn't say either. What was the question that was dodged?

Ginger Kagay
Ginger Kagay

I have news for you, sister, it doesn't matter whether the cells were taken from the fetuses yesterday or 40 years ago, it is still a very big deal. And heaven forbid that we should use animals for experiments instead of babies! By all means, lets use the babies, after all, they aren't innocent like the animals. And they aren't more important, are they. No matter that the animals are here for us to use and no matter that the babies have immortal souls that the animals don't possess. I love animals, but I know what they are and I know that to kill a baby and use it as an ingredient in an experiment is murder, blender or not. And we'll get there at the rate we are going. China is just a little ahead of us, that's all. You had better examine your air-headed conscience if you can find it.

WTF
WTF

It is human cells in flavoring. That is what they are talking about here. Say what you will about the curing of diseases but that is not what they are protesting at this moment. Human cells in flavoring. Are you people so brain dead that you can't see how f***ed up that is? My GOD what has this world turn in to?

Rosy62
Rosy62

Exactly why did you delete my other post? Others have said the same thing. I only said that you don't have a heart. Or that it is seared with a hot iron. And it has been. The things you do and believe cannot be believed in and done by normal people. You talk about aborted baby cell lines as though it is no big deal. Just pretend the aborted baby cells in the immunization shots are ancient ancestors? Our children are getting these shots. No wonder some have died getting them, and some have been rendered retarded. Of course, you are way too sophisticated to believe a thing like that. Your mind is set in concrete. One day, it will be shattered, and the disillusionment you will suffer will be almost too much to bear. Jesus will be your best friend when that time comes. If I were you, I'd take Him.

Rosy62
Rosy62

Lady, your are the type of sin that Jesus was talking about. You try to excuse what you are doing. Been doing it for ages. Yeah. So that makes it all right. Better than using animals? Lady, I hope you never have a baby. You'd probably feed the dog better.

Shorty McHalo
Shorty McHalo

This article completely misses the part in favor of a "all christian religions are anti-science" cop-out (never mind that christan religions are profoundly distinct from each other and Catholicism, for example, is very different from the Methodists). Firstly, the pro-life groups in question are only opposed to the use of aborted fetal tissue, not to the flavor research. Their main point is that there are many other ways to produce these proteins without using fetal tissue, that work just as well. Like any good anti-theist (yes, anti-theist), when research using aborted fetuses is opposed, you shout that the other side wants to torture animals, even when it's obvious that animal testing would have no application in the research, never mind that the people you're attacking find it at least as offensive as you do.Also, this isn't a "christian media" issue, this is a PRO-LIFE issue, and we are christian, catholic, muslim, jewish, agnostic, atheist- what we have in common is respect for human life. Stick to your "right-wing" labels if you must- that's what it takes to blind yourself to the truth of the pro-life movement.

hotdogwaffles
hotdogwaffles

the are using the kidney cells to test how they react when presented with the sweetner. Where does it say they are using the cells in creating the flavoring? It doesn't because they aren't. So there aren't any baby parts in your soda. 

Lolgoofyme
Lolgoofyme like.author.displayName 1 Like

Hypothetically speaking, let's that I once miscarried at four or five months, how tragic since I had to carry the fetus to the hospital and hand it over to them. For insurance purposes alone, they had to list this as an aborted baby--though that not have been the case. Hospital then contacts this 'research' company instead of my being allowed to give it the proper burial. Yes, I do know what babies look like at this stage and I have held unborn fetus in my hands and I have had to take it to the hospital with me! Now I must hand it over, labeled aborted fetus, to a researcher so they can perform whatever necessary procedures in order to test ways to help diabetes patients and others with sugar problems to better maintain their self-disciplines? Hmm...I find it hard to buy the theory that it is for diabetes patients, I just do. Isn't it really more about their claim to fame and fortune in the big scheme and long haul of life: To capitalize on others misfortunes and weaknesses? I am not to be considered a right wing and yet they make reference to this in the article. It is amazing, when God is mentioned, when it is evident there are those of us who continue with belief and conviction, alike, that politics are always brought up and the assumption is always about Right Wing or Left Wing: When, really, isn't it more like being humane and concerned for legitimate reason by civilized human biengs, in the first place? Isn't this more about Corporations teaming up with scientists to boost the mighty dollar and those who will be collecting it in the outcome, thereafer--in the big scheme of life? In the overall picture of what good this will actually do? It is of utmost urgency that we, the public, become informed of all the pros and cons and specifics of what is taking place: Who, What, When, Why, and How??? Very critical for all our viewpoints, opinions, beliefs and convictions from this point forward!!! Pardon me, but the last thing that any of ourselves need as we go to take a drink of our seven-up or whatever, go to take a bite of something coming from major food brands, etc. etc. I would think that the very last thing we need to do is to be reminded over and again that the testing itself had come as a result of our little five month old stillborn's arms, legs, eyes, face, mouth, nose, fingers and toes, belly, or any itty, bitty, teeny, tiny macro/micro spec of otherwise God-given, man-altered capitalization on our innermost heartbreaks and deeply embedded--but real loss of precious little human lives while in growth, to begin with!!!!!!!

Though I am known as lolgoofyme, there is not anything funny about the thought of such grotesque ideas belonging to man. God, please keep this junk out of my dreams tonight and please prevent it all from becomming a world disorder and huge nightmare to us all! Amen...

foiltwine
foiltwine

Thank you for sharing your experience...as hard as it might have been to go through with it.  It is the lack of empathy and the interest of money that some with turn there heads to a comment such as yours.  I'm sorry for your loss, but the information you know needs to continue to be shared.

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