If you never thought that human fetuses in food products were a problem, then you are not alone. Most Americans, except for Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey and a fringe group of pro-lifers, have never even considered the idea that human fetuses would be placed in food.
Shortey has been reading obscure internet articles, stirred by the Florida pro-life group Children of God for Life, that informs people that fetuses are placed in foods to enhance flavor. Miami New Times reports on how widespread this fear has grown:
The Christian media is swarming with accusations that Senomyx, a San Diego-based research and development company, whose clients include food heavy-hitters Nestle, Campbell’s Soup, Kraft Foods, and PepsiCo, is conducting research with HEK293, originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells.
If you believe this, then you may have already dropped chocolate bars, soups, snacks and soft drinks from your menu. According to Debi Vennedge of Children of God for Life “human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby” are used to enhance flavor for taste receptors.
Not even considering the near-universal taboo on cannibalism, it is unimaginable that any food company would even consider putting fetuses in food. It simply wouldn’t happen because of the overwhelming backlash by consumers. By the way, all these companies deny fetus research in their foods. PepsiCo called the use of fetuses in foods “dangerous, unethical, and against the law.”
Commonsense was not enough to persuade Shortey, however. Despite no evidence that steak and fetuses or omelet fetuses are being served or even fetus flavors put inside Pepsi drinks or Ritz crackers, Shortey felt compelled to introduce a bill to keep Oklahoma safe from fetus-flavored foods.
It is simply unbelievable. Not even The Onion could think of this. If they did, they would be criticized for going off the edge. Beyond the ridiculousness, it is clear that the real message in the bill is to halt stem cell research as evident in SB 1418′s language:
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.
If Shortey is against stem cell research, that is understandable. It is a point of view that is at least rooted in reality. This food part is simply bizarre.