A pro-life leader has won a victory in her efforts to convince soft-drink manufacturer PepsiCo to stop the use of aborted fetal cells in its research for enhancing the flavors of its products. Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life (COGFL), announced that in late April she had received a letter from Paul Boykas, PepsiCo’s vice president for Global Public Policy, confirming that the company will not allow the use of HEK-293 — a cell line derived from human embryonic kidney — in its partnership with Senomyx, the company with which it had inked a four-year, $30 million contract for flavor research.
As reported last November by The New American, a PepsiCo shareholder had filed a resolution with the Securities and Exchange Commission in an effort halt the company from contracting with Senomyx, which, according to documents collected by Vinnedge, used cell lines derived from aborted babies in its process of producing artificial flavor enhancers. According to a report by LifeNews.com at the time, Pepsi had “ignored concerns and criticism from dozens of pro-life groups and tens of thousands of pro-life people who voiced their opposition to PepsiCo contracting with biotech company Senomyx even after it was found to be testing their food additives using fetal cells from abortions.”
But after a nearly year-long campaign led by COGFL that included a nationwide boycott of PepsiCo products, in late April Boykas sent a letter to Vinnedge assuring her that PepsiCo would not “conduct or fund research — including research performed by third parties — that utilizes any human tissue or cell lines derived from embryos or fetuses.” Boykas also assured Vinnedge that “Senomyx does not use HEK cells or any other tissues or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses for research performed on behalf of PepsiCo.”
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