The Uproar on Flavor Enhancers

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The Uproar on Flavor Enhancers

This past week a series of four undercover videos leaked to the media left me beside myself; the vile practice of Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetuses, absolutely disgusted me. Yet, oddly, I saw more posts in an uproar over the killing Cecile the lion than this horribly unjust treatment of the unborn lives of children. The lack of heart and compassion towards human life has broken me. The last video released showcased how fetuses are dissected to sell off organs including but not limited to liver, kidney, heart and brain. As I watched, I was in complete disbelief. On a side note, humans have been using animals for food and clothing throughout our entire existence. I firmly believe animals should not be tortured or killed inhumanely; consequently, humans that commit such malicious acts should be punished to the fullest extend of the law.

I watched the interviews with the CEO of Planned Parenthood on ABCNews and by in large not impressed with her coached responses and deflection. (Miss that interview? Watch it here) For those watched the videos, the proof is in the pudding. Now let me acknowledge, I understand the videos have been edited, esp. for time-sake. And for your time-sake, I am going to cut right to the chase as well. While I am sure, those doctors and clinicians are remorseful, profiting from fetal tissue sales is wrong, and yet it continues to occur.

I am not here to argue pro-life/pro-choice; my goal is to bring attention to what is happening to the aborted fetuses. Abortion is a very polarizing issue, but beyond that debate, there is something far more inhumane that needs to be changed, irregardless of your political views. Profiting from selling human body parts is illegal. Yet it is still happening. So where do these fetal parts go? The second part of this answer might shock you.

1. Pharmaceutical companies.  

2. Food companies.

Did you know a company by the name of Senomyx is a big purchaser of aborted fetuses. Senomyx manufactures and tests food flavors, including HEK 293 (HEK stands for Human Embroyonic Kidney) – cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce receptors that ultimately enhance flavors in our foods.

So, just who is Senomyx anyways?

“Senomyx is an American biotechnology company working toward developing additives to amplify certain flavors and smells in foods. The company claims to have essentially “reverse engineered” the receptors in humans that react for taste and aroma, and that they are capitalizing on these discoveries to produce chemicals that will make food taste better, depending on the flavor they search to achieve, chemicals and natural flavors may be used as well as proteins and cells obtained from human aborted fetuses ( . PepsiCo, Cadbury, Kraft, Starbucks, Solae, and Campbell are just a small share of their client list. Senomyx develops patented flavor enhancers by using “proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems.” These receptors have been previously expressed in HEK293 cells.

Senomyx disclosed they are “Utilizing Taste Science Innovations to Discover & Develop Novel Flavor Ingredients for the Global Food & Beverage Industry. Senomyx uses proprietary technologies to create new flavor ingredients that provide nutritional and/or cost benefits while maintaining the taste desired by consumers. We have Discovery, Development, & Commercialization collaborations with global food, beverage, and ingredient supply companies, some of which are marketing products that contain Senomyx’s flavor ingredients.”

Curious who Senomyx does this for? You’ll be surprised to see some household brand names you probably know.

  • PepsiCo, who also owns Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Frito Lay, Gatorade, Starbucks iced drinks, Doritos, Cheetos, Ruffles, Naked Juice, etc., signed a four-year, $30 million agreement in 2010 for research and development (R&D) with Senomyn.
  • Nestle, who also owns brands like Coffee-Mate, Carnation, Ice Mountain, Sweet Leaf Tea.
  • Campbell Foods, who also owns Pepperidge Farms, Plum Organics, Pace Picante, Bolthouse Farms, Goldfish crackers, V8, Prego, Spaghetti O’s, and Swanson.
  • Coca-Cola, who owns brands such as Dasani, Powerade, Vitamin Water, Fuze, Simple Orange, Honest Tea, Odwalla, Minute Maid and Burn to name most.

Several of these companies claim to not be using HEK 293 in end product; yet do not disclose or deny using it in research and development . Also some companies cling to their “proprietary” technologies and marketing products that contain Senomyx’s flavor ingredients…The lack of transparency makes me very distrusting and quite honestly disturbed. Full disclosure shouldn’t be such an issue. When you peel back the layers of our food supply and learn how companies enhance and mimic flavors, it is alarming.

As human beings, we are called to be good stewards of the Earth, and use it’s resources as humanly and wisely as possible. Let’s do our part by not supporting companies like Senomyx or the brands that support HEK 293.

In the end, this is a good time to remind ourselves that there are 10 large food conglomerates that control almost all of the packaged food we buy. CPG, consumer packaged goods, companies that utilize artificial flavor profiles from third parties like Senomyx have direct lines into our homes. Buying fresh, local, ingredients ensures you control your how your food is flavored.

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