When the stories broke last spring, people were horrified and the questions began rolling into every pro-life news outlet. PepsiCo was using fetal cells to make its products? The answer is not exactly, but yes, and not just Pepsi, but several major corporations that probably feed you and your family on a regular basis.
Children of God for Life reported it succinctly and horrifyingly:
“Scores of prolife groups are calling for a public boycott of food giant, PepsiCo due to their partnership with Senomyx, a biotech company using aborted fetal cells in the research and development of artificial flavor enhancers. Pepsi is funding the research and development – and paying royalties to Senomyx which uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney cells) to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.”
That paragraph is a loaded with implication. Basically, buying Pepsi products helps fund this research. So even if the product we buy isn’t flavored with the enhancers, by literally sowing into the company that is paying royalties to this research, we will fund it.
And here’s a hint, if you want to take a stand for this and not help this research, it’s going to be hard because it affects a lot of brands, probably stuff you eat every day, including Kraft, Nestle, Cadbury, Gatorade, Quaker, Rice-A-Roni. A complete list is linked to this column.
I’m not here to tell you what to do, but my job is to give you information. I hope you’ll read this information and take it to the Lord for direction because it’s disturbing. Here are some additional facts: First, the original stories as they broke in pro-life news outlets: LifeSite made this report earlier in the year on the multitude of pro-life agencies calling for a boycott of the companies using this product . And here is one of their background articles. Children of God for Life then issued this report, which includes this:
“[Senomyx'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.” Senomyx notes their collaborators provide them research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.“What they do not 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. (Source)
COGFL also lists some of the companies responses here. And you can visit this link for a lot of background information, including response letters from the companies in question. While COGFL is only targeting Pepsi in its own efforts in order to make a financial dent, I believe we have to ask ourselves, where we stop. If I don’t buy Aquafina water because it’s from Pepsi but I buy Ranch dressing from Kraft, am I not still contributing to this culture of death? My shopping trips have become long and frustrating as I read labels and put a lot of stuff back.
Senomyx is the company that these organizations use. It uses human embryonic kidney cells from a baby that was aborted—electively. In other words, a woman had an abortion and one of the ways in which the remains of her baby was disposed included acquisition by Senomyx who then used parts of this baby for research into a flavor additive. No, you aren’t literally eating or drinking an aborted baby, but the taste you get from eating and drinking the enhanced products has been made possible by a dead baby. That bothers me.
A couple more comments. We don’t know for sure which products are actually flavored as a direct result of this testing. What we do know for a fact is which companies have contracts with Senomyx; therefore, products from the company are suspect. I have made the decision to not purchase any products from any of the companies that do because the idea that my pleasure from eating could come from a baby sacrificed to an abortion is more than I can stomach. Do I have to have my Rice-a-Roni or Gatorade? Really? Of course I don’t.
Things like this come down to the war between our cash and our morals. At what point do we say it’s okay to compromise? How much do we need to know? I am not your conscience. Only the Holy Spirit can do that job, and as I have discussed before in writing about Starbucks and Catholic health care, I can only tell you my story and then give you information to take before the Lord. That’s what I am doing here. At the very least I hope you will join me in addressing these companies. The fact they do make so many things we eat and drink daily means they have a huge hold on our society.
Pepsi, Kraft, Cadbury, Nestle, Frito-Lay, et. al. are not the antichrist, so don’t read my words wrong, but part of being a faithful witness for Jesus and standing for truth is being able to withstand what is called the spirit of the antichrist which I John 4:3 says is “already in the world.” That spirit is a precursor to the end of the age when the real antichrist will come and, though it’s become a fictionalized account for movies and something we don’t look at seriously, the power of the antichrist to cause the masses to worship him is the inability to buy and sell without his mark.
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Rev. 13:16-17)
If we can’t lay down our Pepsi or Doritos now, what might it look like when our lives depend on it?
Food for thought.
Click here for a document which contains a list of all the products we could find that the corporations who contract with Senomyx produce.