In case you’re wondering, you read that headline correctly. PepsiCo, who produces everything from Mountain Dew and Gatorade to Quaker Oatmeal and Doritos, is using fetal remains in testing food additives. Sound gross? We agree.

According to articles posted on LifeNews, paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by both PepsiCo and PepsiCo shareholders, the SEC’s response to said paperwork, and other sources, Pepsi is contracting with a company called Senomyx to conduct flavor testing on new Pepsi products, and the company is using aborted human remains as part of the testing process.

Now, as near as we can tell, no one is accusing Pepsi of putting fetal remains in their food products. But the company that handles flavor testing for Pepsi uses testing processes that involve tissue taken from an aborted baby (HEK-293). If that doesn’t make you feel relieved, I understand why.

It’s so offensive, last fall Pepsi shareholders filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking Pepsi to terminate its relationship with the testing company, and adopt a pro-human rights stance. Pepsi responded that there was nothing wrong with its position, and the SEC agreed, citing it as “ordinary business.”

Testing products with aborted baby tissue is horrifying, but unfortunately it is not entirely uncommon any more. Besides Pepsi, companies such as Pfizer, Nestle, Frito-Lay, and Kraft—as well as others, it seems—contract with companies that use this same process for product testing. The fact that Pepsi is not alone was used as justification by the SEC for Pepsi’s decision to disregard shareholders’ concerns.

Is This Legal?

Some ask whether it’s legal for a company to use aborted fetal tissue in testing. In short, it appears so.

Federal law (42 U.S.C. § 289g) provides legal guidelines for experimentation and research using a human fetus. Now the guidelines appear to be fairly narrow, but they are there. Whether or not the guidelines cover something as controversial as this is still unclear, and may be resolved in the future. For now, we don’t know of anyone alleging that it is illegal for the company Pepsi contracts with to use aborted human remains in their testing process.

Does Coke Do That?

Actually, no. Coca-Cola is under contract with a company called Chromocell. Unlike Senomyx, the company Pepsi uses, Chromocell tends to steer away from controversial practices like using aborted human remains in their flavor testing.

Pepsi Boycott?

A number of people in our office have expressed disgust with Pepsi’s decisions. As a result, they have chosen to stop purchasing Pepsi products until Pepsi reverses its position on testing with aborted fetal remains. Below is a link to a list of Pepsi products sold in the U.S. In addition to the items listed on it, a number of companies seem to have fairly exclusive contracts with Pepsi, like Burger King.

Click here to see what products Pepsi manufactures and distributes.

If you want to contact Pepsi to complain about their actions, use the contact info below:

Jamie Caulfield, Sr. VP
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 253-2000
Email form: