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. Here is their patent (read the abstract …expression methods will use HEK-293 cells…).

“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!”

See for mailing addresses of Senomyx and the food companies.

UPDATE!!! March 29, 2011 11:45AM ( from Children of God for Life)

Within hours of our press release, Children of God for Life received notice from Campbell Soup that they have severed their ties with Senomyx.

Stated Juli Mandel Sloves, Senior Manager of Nutrition & Wellness Communications at Campbell Soup Company, “We are no longer in partnership with Senomyx. This fact was discussed during the Senomyx conference call with its investors earlier this month.”

If you choose to write to Campbell Soup, please thank them for their decision. Mmmm good!

UPDATE May-7-2012

PROLIFE ACTIVISM has paid off- Pepsi stops using Fetal Cells Lines to test flavors


6 Responses to “Biotech company using aborted fetal cell lines to test food flavor enhancers”

  1. Sonya Lillis says:

    sick. i’m going to puke. oh this is disturbing!

  2. Daniel says:

    Thank you Sonia for your concern. Children of God claim can be found in a patent filed by Senomyx:
    The assignee in that patent is Senomyx, Inc. (San Diego, CA), also you can also read in the abstract: ….…expression methods will use HEK-293 cells…

  3. Daniel says:

    “Remember that when we are talking about HEK 293. The original source of those cells was a healthy baby! Who was electively aborted. And that baby wasn’t the first one that was “just right.” No, the name HEK 293 means it was the creator’s 293rd experiment. Meaning that 292 babies died before we found HEK 293.” Taken from

  4. Sonya Lillis says:

    i read the link on the patten, i don’t understand it. it’s all in scientific language makes my brain hurt. could someone explain it to me? or at least show me where it says aborted baby tissues? if they really did than this is super serious. and super scary.

    i also heard back from PepsiCo this is what they said:

    “Dear Sonya,

    Thank you for contacting us to share your sincere concerns. Please know that we take very seriously the issues you raised. PepsiCo has a strong set of defined values we strive to live up to.

    Unfortunately, there is some misinformation being circulated related to research techniques that have been used for decades by universities, hospitals, government agencies, and private companies around the world. These claims are meant to suggest that human fetal tissue is somehow used in our research. That is both inaccurate and something we would never do or even consider.

    It also is inaccurate to suggest that tissue or cells somehow are being used as product ingredients. That’s dangerous, unethical and against the law. Every ingredient in every one of our products is reviewed and approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    We hope this information is helpful and reassuring. Thank you again for reaching out to us and allowing us to clarify the situation.

    Dennis Dowd
    Senior Consumer Relations Representative”

  5. Daniel says:

    Hi Sonia,

    Thank you for reading the link of the patent
    Yes, there is a lot of information.
    Luckily, it is organized in a nice table. The left column identifies the information. You want to scroll until you find in the left column “Assignee:”. You can then read in the right column (same row) “Senomyx, Inc. (San Diego, CA)”. Now you want to scroll down until you read in the left column “Abstract:”. What is written in the right column is a lot of scientific facts, including “…expression methods will use HEK-293 cells…”

    You can read the origins of the HEK-293 cells in a FDA report found at

    Key statement…Page 81 lines 14-22

    “So the Kidney material, the fetal kidney material was as follows. The kidney of the fetus was, with an unknown family history, was obtained in 1972 probably. The precise date is not known anymore.

    The fetus, as far as I can remember was completely normal. Nothing was wrong. The reasons for the abortion were unknown to me. I probably knew it at the time, but it got lost, all this information.”

    Regarding Pepsi’s response you can read the discussion at

  6. lozeerose says:

    Although this result is obviously great, I think I would have refrained from using their “mmm, good” tagline. My sense of humor can take it but that does not mean that it was the best choice.

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