The letter, signed by attorney Brian Pitko of the SEC Office of Chief Counsel, was sent in response to a 36-page document submitted by PepsiCo attorneys in January 2012. In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject the Shareholder’s Resolution filed in October 2011 that the company “adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements.”
PepsiCo lead attorney George A. Schieren noted that the resolution should be excluded because it “deals with matters related to the company’s ordinary business operations” and that “certain tasks are so fundamental to run a company on a day-to-day basis that they could not be subject to stockholder oversight.”
Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, the organization that exposed the PepsiCo-Senomyx collaboration last year (see www.cogforlife.org/senomyxalert.htm) was appalled by the apathy and insensitivity of both PepsiCo executives and the Obama administration.
“We’re not talking about what kind of pencils PepsiCo wants to use—we are talking about exploiting the remains of an aborted child for profit,” she said. “Using human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) to produce flavor enhancers for their beverages is a far cry from routine operations!”
PepsiCo also requested the resolution be excluded because it “probed too deeply into matters of a complex nature upon which shareholders cannot make an informed judgment.”
“In other words, PepsiCo thinks its stockholders are too stupid to understand what they are doing with the remains of aborted children,” Vinnedge stated. “Well they are about to find out just how smart the public really is when they turn up the heat on the worldwide boycott!”
Vinnedge is warning consumers to be on guard for the roll-out of PepsiCo’s newest beverage that claims to cut sugar and calories by 50 percent. The product is called Pepsi Next and is anticipated to hit the market in the coming weeks.
PepsiCo stated that its goal with Senomyx is to produce new beverages with reduced sugars and calories. So is Pepsi Next the new Senomyx-PepsiCo creation?
While fetal components are currently not in the final product, there is growing concern among consumers that it could happen in the near future. With the explosion of health foods on the market, there is nothing to stop companies from using fetal remains as protein ingredients.
Impossible, you say? Actually, because of GRAS rules (Generally Accepted as Safe) it might not even trigger FDA oversight. And that has consumers plenty worried about just what might be “next” from the industry!
It also makes Oklahoma senator Ralph Shortey’s SB1418 banning the sale of products that are developed with or contain aborted fetal remains, critically important for consumer protection. See http://cogforlife.org/oklahomasenator.htm.
“We commend the senator for his courageous move,” noted Vinnedge. “The public is already saying no thanks to all Pepsi beverages and Pepsi Next is just that—the ‘next’ product to avoid!”
To date, the worldwide boycott has expanded to include Canada, Germany, Poland, UK, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand.
Debi Vinnedge is founder and executive director of Children of God for Life, a watchdog group focused on the issues of aborted fetal and embryonic stem cell research.
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at http://www.cogforlife.org/pepsiSEC.pdf.