Aborted baby in food

Fact Check-PepsiCo drinks do not contain ‘aborted fetal cells’

By Reuters Fact Check

5 Min Read

Beverages produced by PepsiCo do not contain aborted fetal cells.

This false claim spread online via an image that listed brands allegedly connected with PepsiCo under the headline: “Foods that contain aborted fetal cells” (here , here , here , here).

The post presents no evidence and plays into misinformation on these products that has been in circulation for years. The original author of the post later apologised for “some inaccurate information” but did not delete it (here).

The claim originates from 2010 when the food and drink company PepsiCo (here) signed a four-year deal with Senomyx (here), a biotechnology company that develops sweeteners (here).

A year later, a US-based anti-abortion group called ‘Children of God for Life’ called for a boycott on companies partnered with Senomyx, which they alleged was using “aborted fetal cell lines to test their products”. They claimed Senomyx was using human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells “taken from an electively aborted baby” to produce human taste receptors. The cells were called HEK-293 (here).

Google Patents shows that Senomyx had a patent issued in 2008 for “Recombinant Methods for Expressing a Functional Sweet Taste Receptor” that mentioned HEK-293 cells (here , here).

A 2014 article in the scientific journal Nature said the HEK-293 cell line originates from the kidney of an aborted human embryo from 1973. The cells were cloned and are widely used in biomedical research (here).

The patent therefore suggests that Senomyx used cloned cells derived from an aborted embryo, a developing baby at the early stages (here , page 18).

PepsiCo has denied any involvement with HEK-293 cells.

In a 2012 letter, a PepsiCo vice president responded to the boycott by Children of God for Life and told consumers that PepsiCo did not conduct or fund research that utilised cell lines derived from embryos or fetuses, and that Senomyx did not use HEK cells for research on behalf of PepsiCo (here).

PepsiCo confirmed to Reuters that this was still the case.

“At one time PepsiCo did have a relationship with Senomyx exploring the development of new sweeteners and flavor enhancers,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said, but “PepsiCo’s commercial relationship with Senomyx has ended and we do not use any Senomyx ingredients in our products.”

The spokesperson added: “As always, PepsiCo absolutely does not conduct or fund research that utilizes any human tissue or cell lines derived from embryos or fetuses.”

Reuters Fact Check previously debunked claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain “aborted fetal tissue” here and here .

False. PepsiCo told Reuters that the company does not use any Senomyx ingredients in its products and does not fund or conduct research using cells derived from human embryos or fetuses.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

State Bill Outlaws Using Fetuses In Food Industry; Meets Visceral Reaction : The Two-Way : NPR

State Bill Outlaws Using Fetuses In Food Industry; Meets Visceral Reaction : The Two-Way An Oklahoma Senate bill that prohibits "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses" has some folks scratching their heads, and wondering if it's real.


A scientist holds a tray of stem cells in a lab, in this file photo from 2010. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A scientist holds a tray of stem cells in a lab, in this file photo from 2010.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature has some folks scratching their heads, as it prohibits "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses. "

Since the bill was introduced late last week by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican from Oklahoma City, corners of the Internet have been buzzing with the news, as people try to figure out two things: 1) is this real; and 2) is there any reason the bill might be needed?

News of the bill was first reported by the AP and The Daily O'Collegian, a student newspaper at Oklahoma State University. It sparked a lively debate in the O'Collegian's readers' comments section, which is connected to Facebook.

The AP and the O'Collegian say that Shortey didn't respond to calls for comment. Two calls from NPR to the senator's office went to voicemail and were not returned. But Tulsa radio station KRMG managed to get in touch with him to ask about the legislation, Senate Bill 1418.

The senator says that his research shows there are companies in the food industry that have used human stem cells to help them research and develop products, including artificial flavorings.

"I don't know if it is happening in Oklahoma, it may be, it may not be. What I am saying is that if it does happen then we are not going to allow it to manufacture here," Shortey tells KRMG's Nicole Burgin.

To that end, his proposed statute reads, "No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients."

My own research suggests that Shortey may have noticed a boycott directed at PepsiCo, which since 2010 has worked with flavor research firm Senomyx to develop sweeteners and other flavorings.

Based in San Diego, Senomyx has been accused of using proteins derived from human embryonic kidney cells in its research, which has been used by many large food companies. An article in the Miami New Times summarizes those claims, notes the company's denial of them — and also notes that in 2003, the company filed a patent for "recombinant methods for expressing a functional sweet taste receptor. "

That patent, for what is essentially an automated taste test, was granted in 2008. It mentions HEK 293, or Human Embryonic Kidney 293, a widely available cell line that was originally cultured in the early 1970s from a human embryo in the Netherlands.

Other Uses Of Stem Cells

So, it seems that Sen. Shortey's bill mostly targets the potential use of stem cells in food research. But in the past decade, several attempts have been made to use animal stem cells to produce food. For instance, NASA has tinkered with using pigs' stem cells to grow "lab meat," according to a Popular Mechanics article from 2009.

The article continues, "Today, scientists funded by companies such as Stegeman, a Dutch sausage giant, are fine-tuning the process. It takes just two weeks to turn pig stem cells, or myoblasts, into muscle fibers."

And the group New Harvest has long been involved in the search for "meat alternatives," in the form of "plant-based meat analogs and cultured meat," according to its site.

Shortey's bill was among hundreds submitted just before the state's Thursday deadline, as Oklahoma legislators vied to get their bills entered for discussion in the upcoming session, which runs from Feb. 6 into late May.

Thanks to NPR Southern Bureau Chief Russell Lewis and KOSU's Rachel Hubbard for flagging the story.

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Embryonic cells are everywhere: what's wrong with modern cell technology

The issue of the ethics of vaccines and the use of cells from previously aborted children in their development has stirred up with renewed vigor. Around the world, Christians and members of the pro-life communities are debating whether it is right to be vaccinated with such drugs during a pandemic.

We decided to look into the situation in detail, and at the same time find out what prevents scientists from completely abandoning embryonic cell lines in medicine.

"Growing at a colossal rate": what are cell cultures and cell lines Cultivation of cells in containers. Photo from biomedstem.ru

In connection with the development of vaccines, the terms “cell culture” and “cell line” are used.

A “cell culture” is cells from a single tissue (such as skin or kidney tissue) from a human or animal that is grown in laboratories under controlled conditions. A “cell line” is a source of cell culture. As a rule, the line has a name in the form of an abbreviation of letters of the Latin alphabet and numbers - they can be used to determine when and where the cells were taken from.

There are dozens of lines (human and animal), they have certain international designations and are stored in special cell banks. There is such a bank in Russia - it is the so-called All-Union Collection of Cell Cultures, the samples of which are dispersed among various scientific institutes.

There are far fewer cell lines obtained as a result of abortions, or so-called embryonic lines, in the world.

Mostly known HEK-293 (obtained from the kidneys of an embryo aborted at 1972), PER. C6 (obtained in 1985 from cells of the retina of an 18-week-old embryo), WI-38 (obtained in 1964 from diploid cells of the lung connective tissue of an aborted girl who was about 12 weeks old), MRC-5 (obtained in 1966 from the lung cells of a 14-week-old boy), RA27/3 (obtained in the USA in 1964 from a fetus infected with rubella) and several others.

At the same time, each of these lines has its own "specialization" and its own unique properties. So, the rubella vaccine, HEK-29, is still being grown on the RA27 / 3 line.3 is notorious for being used by Senomyx to test nutritional supplements.

The PER.C6 line is owned by Johnson & Johnson and has the unique property that the cells of the line grow at an enormous rate: one milliliter of suspension can contain up to one hundred million cells. There are also “universal” lines, for example, about 10 vaccines against various diseases are being developed at MRC-5.

Fetal lines in the food industry: how is it?

The use of embryonic cell lines in the food industry has a history. Senomyx was founded in 1999 by Libert Strier, an American biochemist at Stanford University. Her goal was to research in the field of food additives that enhance the taste and smell of food.
The unique substances that the chemists at Senomyx were developing could not only make the original product sweeter or saltier, but also, for example, block bitterness. Tested nutritional supplements on the HEK29 embryonic cell line3 - It was cheaper than giving samples to volunteers or doing elaborate experiments on animals that couldn't communicate how they felt.
Special cell lines cultured from oral cavity receptor cells could serve as an alternative to abortive materials, but this technology was more complicated, and in the end it was decided to follow a simple and, most importantly, cheap path. At the same time, HEK293 cells were used only at the testing stage; they did not get into the final product. In total, Senomyx has 113 patents, several hundred different flavors, as well as cooperation with at least seven of the world's largest companies, such as Heinz, Nestle, Pepsi and others.
In 2010, thanks to the American pro-life organization God's Children, information that the flavorings that are used in ketchups, chips, instant cubes and soups, cream, chocolate, carbonated drinks, are produced using unethical technology became widespread. known. A complete list of products can be found here.
As a result, most of the partners of Senomyx have disowned cooperation with the company, announcing that they are updating their products. The Senomyx website has not been updated since 2012. How things are today with the testing of flavoring additives in the US and in the world is not known for certain.

Cells grow in bioreactors with a volume of several thousand liters Cultivation of cells in a bioreactor. Photo from process-worldwide.com

In medicine and pharmacology, embryonic cell lines are currently used to create vaccines (vector or live) against measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, rabies, chicken pox, and coronavirus. Human cell lines are needed to propagate the virus, which is then used in the vaccine. After all, viruses, unlike bacteria, need a "host", and the cells of the cell line become this "host".

They are also used to develop drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia and cystic fibrosis. In addition, the HEK-293 line is being used in research into cancer therapies. An adeno-associated virus is also grown on it, which serves as a vector for gene delivery in the Zolgensma drug, which is used in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy.

Embryonic cells can indeed divide almost indefinitely under the conditions created for this in laboratories. Supporters of this method, as an argument justifying the use of abortive material, say that the cell cultures that are used today are the result of a long division and are no longer actually part of the body of the once aborted child.

Obtaining a cell line is as follows. The tissue or organ from whose cells a cell line is to be developed in the future is taken under aseptic conditions, placed in a sterile saline solution and transported to a specialized laboratory.

Tissues and organs are carefully examined in the laboratory, including for possible infection. If it is established that they are “clean”, they are crushed with a scalpel or scissors to pieces no larger than 1-3 mm in size, thoroughly washed from blood cells in several changes of sterile solutions, and then placed in solutions of special enzymes that allow isolating individual cells.

Actually, these very cells that can be isolated by grinding (sometimes this may even require a kind of “sieve” through which the solution obtained from tissues or organs is filtered) is the primary cell culture. It can be started to "grow" with the help of a nutrient medium and a number of special technologies.

Most cell cultures grow in what is called a monolayer, that is, at the bottom of a plastic or glass container, in a one-cell-thick layer. In order for them to multiply faster and more efficiently, special multi-storey containers were invented. (This is how it looks like for example. )

Some types of cells require constant agitation - "shakers" have been invented for them, which shake the vessels with the cells. For example, in Italy, 28 thousand special roller bottles are used simultaneously to create vaccines in the factory. Automation at the same time controls the temperature and speed of rotation. And when the factory replaced smooth glass vials with corrugated plastic vials, increasing the surface area, they received a twenty-fold increase in cells, and doubling the cell population occurs in just over 8 hours.

But the technology that works best is when cells multiply in suspension in a special bioreactor. Such reactors with a capacity of up to 8,000 liters operate in Europe and the United States.

In this case, the actual cells of the embryonic line should not get into the final product (grafting).

When the virus multiplies in sufficient quantity, it is separated from the cell culture by various means and purified from impurities. To do this, different methods can be used - electrophoresis, various chemicals, staining, and even multi-level filtration. The resulting pure virus or its fragments are added to the vaccine along with other substances that will ensure its preservation, stability and, in the future, the necessary effect on the body.

If not used for production, then used for testing Roller bioreactor for cell culture cultivation: A - scheme, B - roller culture system. Image from en.ppt-online.org

Some vaccines, however, use animal cells such as monkeys, rabbits, hamsters, and chicken embryos in eggs. But still, virologists believe that human cell cultures are the most advanced of the laboratory systems for cultivating viruses, and then testing their effectiveness. The use of human cells, in contrast to the material taken from animals, gives greater safety of vaccination, as it guarantees that the immune system does not react to the material of another biological species. The technology is cheap, which is why it is used almost everywhere.

In the case of the latest coronavirus vaccines, it is already known that embryonic cell lines were used in the development of at least Pfizer and Moderna RNA vaccines at the stage of laboratory testing. The connection with the cell lines that appeared as a result of abortions is in the Russian vaccine "Sputnik-V" of the Institute. Gamaleya and preparations of the companies NOVAVAXAB and INOVIO, which are in the stage of clinical trials. Such data was published at the end of 2020 by the American Charlotte Losier Institute, an organization that takes a pro-life position, collects and publishes information regarding abortion and the use of abortive material for medical, scientific and other purposes.

AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine uses a chimpanzee adenovirus rather than a human adenovirus as a vector. However, according to data published in the journal Nature, the HEK293 cell line was used in the development of the vaccine.

Curiously, a vaccinologist from the University of Auckland, chair of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety Helen Petousis-Harris lines, if not for production, then at least for testing.

“When studying viruses and immune responses in the laboratory, these cell lines are inevitably used to provide reliable results that are relevant to humans,” says Petousis-Harris.

Since only Sputnik-V is currently available in Russia from this list, it is worth telling a little more about it. This is a vector vaccine created on a previously developed and tested one at the N.N. Gamaleya adenovirus platform. This means that the vaccine is based on a vector, a genetically modified virus, into which the genes for the proteins of the outer shell of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are inserted. The vector delivers a fragment of the coronavirus genome into the cell, triggering an immune response.

The Russian vaccine uses adenoviruses as a vector. It is adenoviruses that need to be grown on the HEK293 embryonic cell line, so the Sputnik-V vaccine from this point of view can be considered a drug with an ethically controversial component.

The vaccine of the Russian company "Vector", "EpiVakKorona", consists of artificially synthesized short fragments of viral proteins - peptides recognized by the immune system. It does not seem to involve working with cell lines, at least not for production. (The patent has not yet been published, so there is no exact data.) Regarding the third Russian vaccine, which is still being worked on at the Center. Chumakov, no data yet.

Unethical cell lines can be replaced, but few people are interested in this Amniocentesis procedure. Photo from the site https://gravimed.com.ua/

Supporters of the use of embryonic cell lines in medicine and pharmacology assure that the cell lines obtained decades ago are enough to meet the needs of the entire industry, and situations in which new abortions would be needed in research or, moreover, for commercial purposes, are impossible.

Donald Trump tried to limit the use of new abortion materials

Proponents of the use of embryonic cell lines often argue that the studies that take place with these cells do not require new abortions. However, abortive material continues to be used in one way or another for scientific purposes. It is known that such works are being carried out in Great Britain, India, China, and Singapore. In Russia, the leader in this kind of activity is Professor Gennady Sukhikh, who heads the Federal State Budgetary Institution “N. IN AND. Kulakov” and is considered the author of the so-called “fetal therapy”, during which abortive tissues are used.

In 2019, US President Donald Trump made an attempt to limit the use of tissue obtained from elective abortions for scientific purposes. At that time, his administration effectively blocked scientists from the National Institutes of Health from obtaining any fetal tissue for further research. Funding for this kind of research has also been substantially reduced.
In addition, a so-called Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board has emerged in the United States, which over the past two years has issued approval only for studies that involve the search for alternative methods in order to completely move away from the use of abortion waste in the future.

On the eve of Joe Biden's inauguration, he was approached by representatives of the American scientific community with a request to lift the moratorium established by his predecessor. In their letter, scientists refer, among other things, to the fact that this will allegedly speed up research to find a cure for covid.

Deb Wombold , a Merck representative, gave a partial answer to the question of why the world's pharmaceutical industry is not switching to ethical vaccines without the use of embryonic cells. She explained that in the case of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, switching from the WI-38 line to another cell line (eg animal) is a major challenge, both in terms of efficacy and quality of the vaccine.

“Because the process of vaccine development is so dependent on the particular cell line in which it occurs, it is not possible to simply replace one line with another. And even if it succeeded, there is no guarantee that the level of safety and effectiveness would be comparable to already licensed vaccines,” says Ms. Wombold.

Attempts to find an alternative are still rather in the theoretical field.

Tak, Ph.D. embryonic cells obtained as a result of a miscarriage.

David Prentice , vice president of the Charlotte Losier Institute, suggests creating cell lines based on cells obtained from amniocentesis, a procedure for collecting amniotic fluid from a pregnant woman.

But here again the main argument comes into play: existing embryonic cell lines are cheap, while new technologies will take time to develop, study and implement. Not everyone is ready for this.

Ethical technologies need to be developed Photo: invest. mosreg.ru

The question of the ethics of vaccines and their connection with abortive materials has been raised more than once by representatives of different faiths.

In December 2020, the Vatican stated that “in the absence of an alternative, the use of vaccines produced using cell lines from aborted embryos is morally acceptable, and it should be borne in mind that the refusal to vaccinate due to the rejection of such vaccines “may increase risks for public health".

The official position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the use of vaccines against coronavirus, which are somehow associated with embryonic cell lines, is not yet available. It is known that the relevant requests were sent to all developers of Russian vaccines, and representatives of the Institute. The Gamaleyas confirmed they were using the HEK29 cell line3 for the cultivation of adenovirus, but at the same time they emphasized that there are no abortive cells in the final product, and the creators of EpiVacCorona hastened to assure that their vaccine is as ethical as possible.

At the present time the Church, in resolving this issue, refers to two documents. First of all, it is "Fundamentals of the Social Concept", which says: "Condemning abortion as a mortal sin, the Church cannot find justification for it even if someone may receive health benefits from the destruction of a conceived human life."

On the other hand, in 2009, when a similar controversy broke out over measles vaccination, the Russian Society of Orthodox Doctors issued a statement acknowledging the temporary use of vaccines that use abortive material in their development, but saying the following: “At the same time, we consider it necessary to speak strongly in favor of the use of alternative (ethical) vaccines, when available. It is also necessary to press the Government of Russia, the Ministry of Health and Social Development, as well as the pharmaceutical industry to create domestic alternative (ethical) vaccines or purchase them in countries that produce them.”

Plant-based ethical vaccines of the future? Photo: mali maeder/Pexels

From the above, we can conclude that the key point in the problem of using abortive materials in the creation of vaccines is precisely the request for ethical products. It seems that until it is sufficiently formulated and voiced by various organizations, groups and individual opinion leaders, things will not get off the ground.

And yet, there is hope, such works are gradually appearing. An example of this is the so-called "vegetable" vaccine, which scientists from the Biological Faculty of Moscow State University are working on.

It uses tobacco mosaic virus as an adjuvant - a substance that facilitates the delivery and correct expression of certain antigens during vaccination. Tobacco is infected with a virus, then it is isolated from plants, subjected to heat treatment, and it becomes spherical from a rod. Added to this spherical particle are fragments of the COVID-19 pathogen protein, which, due to the properties of the plant virus, attach perfectly to it, so that no additional chemical agents need to be used for this.

Professor Alexei Agranovsky, Head of the Virology Department of the Biological Faculty of Moscow State University, assured Miloserdiye. ru that embryonic cell lines, as well as animal cells, are not used at the stage of vaccine design. In the future, at the testing stage, there will be experiments on laboratory animals, but in general it can be said that this vaccine will become ethically acceptable.

By the way, MSU has already developed a vaccine against rubella using a similar technology, and it proved to be safe in animal tests. There are a number of other vaccine candidates that are being worked on.

“These studies are of fundamental importance for theoretical science, because the more we know, the more armed we are. You never know what epidemics will be in the future - you need to be able to use different platforms, ”says the scientist.

“Having another vaccine, even when there are already several options, is good,” explains Aleksey Agranovsky. “And not just because people should have a choice. For example, Sputnik-V can be vaccinated once, and if there is a need for revaccination, there is a risk that it will be ineffective.

Chinese people eat aborted babies | SOCIETY

Maria Belyaeva

Approximate reading time: 4 minutes


In some restaurants in China, you can order soup from babies who are 6-7 months old from the moment of conception. This dish costs from 3,000 to 4,000 yuan ($428.5-571.4) per serving. It is believed that such a soup raises tone and vitality, and in older men it significantly increases potency.

An American correspondent managed to learn the secrets of cooking and the details of Chinese cannibalism. A familiar businessman by the name of Wang, who is already over 62 years old, invited the journalist to see everything with his own eyes. For several weeks, the man conducted his investigation and revealed many facts.

Their first stop was in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, where they went to a restaurant, and Wang asked a manager he knew if they could make this dish for them. The manager said that they don't have babies in stock right now, but they do have fresh placenta. He further said that they had young spouses in mind who had come from the village to work and that the woman was pregnant with twins and all girls. The couple were going to stimulate premature birth and abandon the children. And then, according to the manager, there will be products for the dish they need.

The correspondent still didn't quite believe all this. For several weeks he conducted an investigation in the city, heard many stories about it, but he could not get any concrete evidence. Then Wang called the reporter and said that the product was already available, and that it was now cooler, and several of his friends wanted to improve their health.

This time they went to Taishan City, Guangdong Province. We found the right restaurant, where they were already waiting. And then, while the whole company at the table was waiting for the order, the correspondent was given the opportunity to go to the kitchen and look. There, for the first time, he saw with his own eyes what he had already heard a lot about. On the cutting table lay a small corpse of an infant who was only 5 months old. The cook apologized to him that the baby was very small and told him that they usually get the "product" through their channels from the villages. The cook did not explain what their purchase price was, but said that it depends on the size of the baby and whether he is alive or dead.

Everyone who was sitting at the table that evening in the restaurant poured the soup into their bowls, divided the baby's meat and ate everything to the crumbs with relish. The correspondent himself could not overcome himself and try this dish.

Male fetuses are considered the most valuable. Everyone knows that in China, without persecution by the law, you can only have one child. Women are thus generally treated as second class, and whenever a newborn girl appears in a poor family, the husband and wife are faced with a choice: either kill themselves, or kill the child, or sell the girl on the black market as food.

Small fetuses boiled for soup. Late uterine fruits are eaten like roasted suckling pigs. Also, dead embryos are used as a supplement to the diet, according to doctors, the embryos are good for skin condition and general health and are recommended as a tonic.

In government clinics, fetal fetuses are priced at $10 each, but when supply is low, the price can rise to $20. But this money is pennies, compared to the prices in private clinics, which are reported to make a lot of money on fetal fetuses.

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