Monday, November 15, 2010

Soylent Green

If you're like me you're a fan of classic Sci-Fi (aka SF for the younger generation) movies. Movies like "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" have been long time favorites. Both were great movies with horrible remakes. Another classic movie is due to be destroyed in a remake in 2012, "Soylent Green".

"Soylent Green" is a 1973 movie about a future New York beset by overpopulation. There is a tremendous food shortage. Each day garbage trucks come around and collect the dead from the previous day, and also distribute the government-provided food, the eponymous soylent green. We are told that soylent green is the answer to the world's hunger problem, that it contains everything a body needs. But where does it come from? One man finds out, at the spine chilling conclusion of the movie. I'd like not to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but since from the rest of this article, you will probably figure it out.

I recently read what may be the most horrible thing I have ever read. It was on a natural foods blog. I couldn't find the original article at first, but google turned up not only it, but dozens like it. It seems there is a company, Senomyx, that is manufacturing a new type of artificial flavor. The flavoring technique is so unique it is the subject of a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, "Small Molecule Activator of the Human Epithelial Sodium Channel". It seems that, rather than provide a chemical that your taste buds sense, it provides a chemical that makes your taste buds think they're tasting something that isn't actually there.

Very interesting, but what's the horrible thing? The horrible thing, and the connection with soylent green is what this new flavoring agent is developed using - aborted fetuses. I thought this was too horrible to be real, but it seems to be. Where can this stuff be found? According to the articles, Nestle is already selling this in other countries. From "Is it real or is it Semonyx?" (emphasis mine in the following):
The company notes on its website that they have entered into "exclusive or co-exclusive product discovery and development collaborations" with Ajinomoto, Cadbury, Campbell Soup Company, Firmenich, Nestle, Pepsi, and Solae.

Solae? No, I had never heard of them either. But that company's website tells us "Solae was formed in 2003 as a joint venture between DuPont and Bunge." DuPont, yeah, I've heard of them. Solae provides soy protein ingredients, but interestingly, their website specifically doesn't mention product names, although they do say their products are in a host of items easily found in any store: meat alternatives, soy milk, energy bars, edamame, soups, chili, the list is impressive, and frightening for most of us who use soy for vegetarian reasons. 
...There's more, unfortunately. I left out part of the earlier quote from Senomyx about their goals; here's the missing piece: "The goals of our high potency sweetener program are to allow for the reduction of calories in packaged foods and beverages and to enable our collaborators to use product labeling referencing "natural flavors." Senomyx is currently permitted by the FDA (gotta love 'em because, well, we don't actually have any choice) to list their products as "artificial flavors," even though they're not technically flavors at all. But their goal, as they say, is to be able to call them "natural flavors," as well. Let me ask you a question: How many times have you seen the words 'natural flavors' on a label and thought, whew, good. Nothing bad there! Yeah, me too.
To recap, a fast-growing company developing flavor "technologies" is collaborating with the world's largest food and drink producers, which will then (now?) add those (human embryo-derived) substances to pretty much anything and we'll think it tastes just dandy.
To be fair, it is unclear from Senomyx' published information whether the final product contains human remains (as the articles about it state) or is "merely" made using human remains, but either way it is scary. So what can we do? We could try contacting the FDA. Dr. Margaret Hamburg is the Commissioner. Of course, the FDA is part of Health and Human Services which is run by Kathleen Sebelius, who is an avid fan of the abortion industry. As governor of Kansas, Ms. Sebelius was known for "fixing" criminal charges for late late term abortionist George Tiller, while receiving massive campaign donations from him.


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