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, though Senomyx boasts other international partners on their website.
Senomyx website states that "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."
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, a pro-life watch dog group that has been monitoring the use of aborted fetal material in medical products and cosmetics for years.
"They could have easily chosen COS (monkey) cells, Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, insect cells or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors", Vinnedge 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".
After hearing Ms Vinnedge speak publicly on the problem, angry consumers began writing the companies. Both Pepsico and Campbell Soup immediately 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 concerned 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 did not state they would change their methods, still their response, gave Vinnedge hope. [Update: Cambell Soup is no longer in partnership with Senomyx.]
"If enough people voice their outrage and intent to boycott these consumer products, it can be highly effective in convincing Senomyx to change their methods", she noted. "Otherwise, we will be buying Coca-Cola, Lipton soups and Hershey products!"
Using Babies for Gluttony?
Most of us are familiar with Aborted fetal cell lines being used to manufacture vaccinations. If that detail is not morbid enough, it seems a company is using human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce "receptors" that function as a means to measure flavor.