HEK 293

I recently stumbled upon some…there is no word in the dictionary to describe it, information.

It came up in conversation when I was talking to the lady who does my hair. I’ve known her for a while, but since I only see her every 6 weeks, I’m just now starting to be comfortable enough around her to talk to her. Somehow it came up that she had heard that Pepsi was reported to have been researching how well people will respond to their food by using flavor enhancer testers. These supposed testers are made from HEK 293 cells. After this it gets a little tricky because I’m not totally sure I understand how this works and I’m not sure I’m understanding the scientific terms and process and what nots because I’m not one of those super smart nerd types. I’m going to tell you what sense I’m making of it because I can’t just sit on this type of information and to make up for my lack of whatever, I’ll give you the links so you can see the same information that I have and draw your own conclusion.

HEK stand for Human embryonic kidney. They have supposedly taken the HEK cells from an aborted baby from the 1970’s. I’m guessing they also started doing this in the 1970s and no one knew I find that almost as disgusting as the rest of the information. They took the cell or part of it or however it works and started growing more which I think is similar to the cloning and stem-cell research processes.

Then they take their product, Pepsi, and run it through the ‘testers’ and measure the response. This is where I get even more lost because I wonder how developed is this thing, if it doesn’t have a brain or even a heart then how are they measuring the response? What kind of response are they talking about?

The way the rumor was initially worded, it seemed as if these companies were using the kidneys in the food which is why it was such a big deal. Once people realized that we weren’t quite the cannibals we were being made out to be then things settled down a little. The argument on whether this ethical or not doesn’t seem to be much different than that of abortion, cloning or stem cell research.

The company mainly responsible for distributing this atrocious idea is Senomyx. The company is using isolated human taste receptors in the form of proteins to identify flavors and enhance them. According to their website, “Senomyx is discovering and developing innovative flavor ingredients for the food, beverage, and ingredient supply industries using our unique proprietary technologies.” http://www.senomyx.com/

I got this portion from http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2011/03/are_aborted_fetus_cells_helpin.php

“Gwen Rosenberg, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Senomyx, described the process as “basically a robotic tasting system.” She depicted rows of little plastic square dishes with hundreds of tiny indentations in each dish. A protein is placed in each indentation, then a flavor. If the protein reacts to the flavor, the results are charted. If the new flavor (of which the company has more than 800,000) is successful with the protein test, the company then conducts taste tests with (live) adult humans.

Asked about the action alert, Rosenberg said, “We don’t discuss details of our research, but you won’t find anything on our website about HEK293.” (Which is true because I checked.) I asked Rosenberg if Senomyx had a position on stem cell research. “We’ve never been asked that,” she replied, “We don’t have a position on anything. We’re dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars and reduce salt. Our focus is to help consumers with diabetes or high blood pressure have a better quality of life.” (The way people can help others with high blood pressure or diabetes is to stop feeding them the stuff that gets that reaction and not to sugar coat some other form of poison.)
Though Rosenberg states there is nothing on the company website linking Senomyx with HEK293, a little Googling turned up a patent issued in 2008 for “Recombinant Methods for Expressing a Functional Sweet Taste Receptor,” in which a line item mentions HEK293.”

Interesting, right? Well more like disturbing. If we can’t even trust them to tell us if they’re even using the stuff then how can we trust anything else they say about it?

Several big food and beverage companies are looking at a new ingredient in the battle for ‘health-conscious consumers’(I don’t which consumers they’re talking about because I’m an environmentally conscious and therefore a health conscious consumer and I wouldn’t touch with a thousand foot pole): a chemical that tricks the taste buds into sensing sugar or salt even when it is not there. These companies include Pepsi, Kraft, Campbell, Nestle, Solae, etc which control a lot more of the food market then we probably realize.

Unlike artificial sweeteners, Senomyx’s chemical compounds will not be listed separately on ingredient labels. Instead, they will be lumped into a broad category – “artificial flavors” – already found on most packaged food labels. From what I’ve read the first product to come out with it is Pepsi in 2013.

Critics of artificial sweeteners say that they cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. That’s largely because of studies dating to the 1970s that linked saccharin to bladder cancer in laboratory rats. Because of those studies, saccharin once carried a warning label that it may be hazardous to your health, but Senomyx maintains that its new products are safe because they will be used in tiny quantities. So what does that mean for sugar addicts like myself, who would probably eat it like it’ll be gone tomorrow?

The problem, to me, besides the fact that they seem to be exploiting dead babies to make money and the fact that they won’t even tell us anything about this crap, is the fact that what they’re making is a bunch of chemicals. Anything man made or refined usually wreaks havoc on our bodies and the environment. If you have ever researched artificial flavors then you know that it’s full of chemicals. And what do synthetic chemicals do? Wreak havoc on our bodies and the environment. When I looked up how these ‘artificial sweeteners’ (not HEK, but the old stuff) are actually made or what it is, I found nothing. Maybe I didn’t know enough about what I was looking for to look in the right places. I read about how people don’t know what health risks it possess. If we don’t know what happens when you eat then why are we eating it?

You can’t fool the body. Eventually our lies will catch up with us and when it does, it won’t be pretty. Just as with trying to outdo Mother Nature by giving your body something that it can’t process just to keep from changing your habits is probably a recipe for failure.

The healthiest thing one can do if they’re not willing to cut back at all is to use sea salt rather than iodized salt and organic sugar rather than refined sugar.

The truth of the matter is that iodized salt has the same qualities and sodium levels as sea salt and most will tell you that they’re exactly the same, but they’re not.

Refined salt is iodized salt sold ready for use at the table. It has been heated over 1,200 degrees which alters its composition and has anti-caking agents to prevent it from clumping together.

This type of salt is refined and during the refining process, 82 of the 84 minerals contained in salt are removed. Natural unprocessed, uncleaned and unrefined sea salt has many trace minerals, is beneficial and provides many nutrients that the human body needs.

Natural sea salt is usually obtained by simply drying sea water in air and sunlight. Look out for such information on the packaging.

The negative side of products that are marketed as “sea salt” is that many of these are no better than regular salt. To ensure that you are getting the best raw, natural salt, buy the coarse crystals, take a salt grinder and grind them yourself. For your body’s sake and your raw diet, find a natural, unprocessed salt product and enjoy.



There are several types of sugar that organic sugar can be referred to as and they all are extracted from raw sugar cane, but the meaning of sugar being organic can differ depending on the region you live in. The most common definition for organic sugar would be something like when sugar beets or sugar cane does not have to go through various synthetic processes such as application of pesticides and etc.

Organic sugar is a form of sugar that is extracted from raw sugar cane. The only difference between organic sugar and normal sugar is that organic sugar is extracted from raw sugar cane without the application of any additives or synthetic chemicals.

Many misconceptions are out there when it comes to organic sugar. Learn about them here: http://www.organic-sugar.com/organic-sugar-clear-your-misconceptions/

There is nothing else that is farther from organic, natural or raw  than this new HEK business. I’ve made my decision, but mine isn’t the only one out there so before deciding check out a different point of view. This is a link to a blog that has a different point of view.

This article gives you more and different details. The other articles I found to be pretty confusing, but those other places also say that the miscommunication started not at this particular article, but at this site, so click if you dare http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/confused-about-the-pepsi-fetal-cell-issue-here-are-the-facts

Here is the only, therefore best, list I have found on products to avoid if you decide that HEK products are not for you.

This article also does a pretty good job at explaining, but it says that Pepsi might actually be using the cells, so who knows what else they said that isn’t true.


Snopes is where I got the information concluding whether it was real or not. They’re supposed to be reliable in there searches and unbiased. You may be a little confused if you go here because of the way they word things. They say that Pepsi doesn’t use HEK IN their food, but they don’t deny that the use them as a way to test their food.


So there you go. This is all the information that I could find. Do with it what you will.


2 responses to “HEK 293

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