Ethan A. Huff
March 28, 2013
Beverage giant PepsiCo has once again partnered with Senomyx, the San Diego, Cal.-based chemical company that gained nationwide attention back in 2011 for using aborted human fetal cells to develop flavor chemicals, to create even more flavor chemicals for its products. According to reports, the new “mystery” ingredients are designed to enhance sweetness of Pepsi products with less added sugar, but there is no indication they will be properly identified on product labels.
The purpose of the joint effort is to develop new flavor additives that will make Pepsi products taste sweeter with less sugar and fewer calories. In a 2010 press release, the two companies explain that the goal of their endeavor is to develop and commercialize new “sweet enhancers” and “natural high-potency sweeteners” for the purpose of both improving the taste of Pepsi and satisfying consumer demand for healthier processed food products that contain less refined sugar and processed salt.
But are these new Senomyx flavor chemicals really safe? According to a 2011 article published by CBS News‘ MoneyWatch, Senomyx’s proprietary flavor chemicals are actually a type of genetically-modified organism (GMO). Since laboratory scientists develop them by injecting the genetic sequences of the four known taste receptors into cell cultures, some of which come from aborted fetal cell lines, the end product is nothing more than a biotech creation that cannot be found in nature.
“Senomyx gives its products opaque names like S2383 and S6973 and refers to them only as ‘enhancers’ or ‘ingredients’ — it doesn’t like the word ‘chemical,’” explains Melanie Warner from CBS News. “The company says that many of its enhancers have ‘been granted’ GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status, but all that means is that the company did its own assessment and then concluded everything was fine.”
According to reports, Pepsi has already paid Senomyx $30 million as part of the deal to develop new flavor chemicals, and this was after a previous arrangement between Senomyx and Coca-Cola fell through. Pepsi products that contain the new additives will be marketed as containing roughly 60 percent less sugar than standard-market Pepsi products, but will not necessarily bear labels explaining precisely what these ingredients are, or how the body processes them.
“[U]ntil or unless Pepsi decides to share details about how exactly it’s achieving a 60 percent reduction in sugar while keeping the taste the same, customers will be drinking their ‘scientifically advantaged’ sodas completely in the dark,” adds Warner.
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This article was posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:13 am