Our burrito's will not be made of people!
January 25, 2012 6:41 AM   Subscribe

An Oklahoma state Senator has introduced a bill to ensure the safety of the state's food supply.

From the second link: "People are thinking that this has to do with fetuses being chopped up and put in our burritos,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, who was elected in 2010. “That's not the case. It's beyond that."
posted by Runes (111 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
“That's not the case. It's beyond that."

Rats, I was really looking forward to trying the new Fetusrito at Taco Bell.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:44 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much for my proposed Wendy's chili slogan, "It gives you a leg up on the day".
posted by yerfatma at 6:44 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear, this bill doesn't outlaw the use of adult humans as food, right?

And on a completely unrelated note, would anyone like to try some of my homemade jerky?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:45 AM on January 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Shortey said he discovered suggestions online that some companies use embryonic stem cells to develop artificial flavors, but added that he is unaware of any Oklahoma companies doing such research.

I'm not sure anyone's ever been trolled quite this much before.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:45 AM on January 25, 2012 [41 favorites]


There are a lot of minor officials in a country the size of the US. Some percentage will have mental health issues.
posted by tyllwin at 6:46 AM on January 25, 2012 [23 favorites]


And on a completely unrelated note, would anyone like to try some of my homemade jerky?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:45 AM on January 25 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:46 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


“What I'm saying is in Oklahoma if you're a company just don't do this. There are plenty of other alternatives for developing food; you don't need to use aborted human fetuses or stem cells to do that.”

OH IF ITS SO EASY TO MAKE FOOD WITHOUT ABORTED HUMAN FETUSES THEN WHY DONT U TRY IT MISTER CHEF SCIENTIST

*goes back to shoveling Honey Bunches Of Fetuses into mouth*
posted by Greg Nog at 6:46 AM on January 25, 2012 [51 favorites]


It's pretty dumb. However, the rebuttal doesn't fill me with confidence either:
“From what I can tell, Sen. Shortey has authored this legislation based upon some rumors that he's heard about this but with no evidence that it's actually occurring,” said Kiesel, a former state legislator. “Rumor doesn't make for the best public policy.
I'd think even one fetus-burrito would be too many.
posted by DU at 6:47 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, a new bill to outlaw the stealing of maidens by Dragons and criminalizing Monsters In The Closet reached the floor today.
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 AM on January 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Obligatory XKCD on food labeling.
posted by schmod at 6:49 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


People overestimate how much time and effort and money it takes to make healthy, home-cooked fetuses these days.
posted by The Whelk at 6:49 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd think even one fetus-burrito would be too many.

I don't think he means that there actually has been even one. He's politely saying that Shortey is a fucking idiot.
posted by clockzero at 6:49 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd think even one fetus-burrito would be too many.

Totally. No one can eat just one.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Lets outlaw the apostrophe instead!
posted by willF at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2012


I always heard that liberals were eating aborted fetuses. I'm glad someone is finally doing something about it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Life begins at digestion.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


I can sill open a Placenta Hut, though, right?
posted by jquinby at 6:52 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


My high school had a self-described Nazi who claimed to believe that Arby's Roast Beef was actually fetus. I never really got a firm answer on whether or not he thought that was a bad thing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:53 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jeez, newsOK.com, how about a spoiler alert?
posted by hydrophonic at 6:55 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here goes my fetussini Alfredo.
posted by hat_eater at 6:56 AM on January 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


“There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not,” he said. “As a pro-life advocate, it kind of disturbed me that we would use aborted embryos or aborted human fetuses to extract stem cells and use them for research to basically make things taste better.”

Oh FFS. Given how expensive embryonic stem cells are, I promise they aren't using them to determine if things "taste good". Not while tongue is cheap.
posted by maryr at 6:57 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm at Placenta Hut
I'm at the Taco Hell
I'm at the combination Placenta Hut and Taco Hell

posted by maryr at 6:58 AM on January 25, 2012 [17 favorites]


Sen. Ralph Shorty said he is not aware of any company in Oklahoma or anywhere else that is using practices featured in a 1973 science-fiction movie. In “Soylent Green,” small green wafers were said to contain high-energy plankton but were actually made from human corpses.

He also has bills pending that will outlaw Jedi mind tricks, violating the Prime Directive, and the appearance of any gigantic space fetuses that might herald a new step in human evolution. He remains on the fence about the controversy surrounding nuking things from orbit.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:59 AM on January 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I modestly propose we make Swift business of this senator.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2012 [17 favorites]


In other news, there's been a run on tin foil at the 7-11 next to the Oklahoma Senate.
posted by arcticseal at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Real problem with this bill: from now on whenever I bite down and discover something that shouldn't have been in my food, I'm going to be thinking, "Great. Fetus."
posted by yerfatma at 7:01 AM on January 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


SHORTY!
posted by yerfatma at 7:01 AM on January 25, 2012


New at Chili's, Our Very Own Fiesta Flavor Sizzling Umbilical Strings!
posted by The Whelk at 7:02 AM on January 25, 2012


The executive director of the anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life, which has successfully pushed some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country through the state's GOP-controlled Legislature, also said he had never heard of human fetuses being used in food research.

"I don't know anything about that," said Tony Lauinger.


Come on, Shortey. Even the people who rave incoherently about "the abortion-industry" aren't with you on this one.
posted by clockzero at 7:02 AM on January 25, 2012


@DU: I'm pretty sure medical waste disposal laws would prohibit fetus burritos. Not to mention the simple fact that it'd be a bloody stupid and pointless thing to do from a business standpoint. Can you imagine anything that would put a company out of business, and subject it to devastating lawsuits, than that?

Some people are suggesting that by creatively interpreting the word "consumption" this law might be intended as a backdoor for banning medical treatments using stem cells. Personally I don't think the moron who put it out there is smart enough to have done that.

The "pro-life" community is filled with people who are desperate to pretend that anyone not "pro-life" is a crazed monster. There's often racism mixed up with this as well. A few years back some "pro-life" racists started the rumor that in China fetuses were a delicacy and that was the real drive behind the One Child policy. The myth got picked up by a few of the larger "pro-life" websites, and now Snopes has an article debunking it.

Given that sort of background, plus the general conservative anti-intellectualism, I'm not at all surprised that some of the nuttier conservatives would be imagining Evil Scientists (TM) would be literal baby eaters and trying to spread their diabolical ways to others.

Essentially it's a retelling of the old blood libel myth directed against liberals, scientists, and intellectuals.
posted by sotonohito at 7:02 AM on January 25, 2012 [22 favorites]


Just like the Republicans that bray long and hard against "the gays", me thinks he doth protest too much. And like his brethren, he must be hiding something. Check this guy's deep freezer. He wants to corner the market on baby meat.
posted by narcoleptic at 7:03 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just FYI, this post is like 5 times as hilarious if you view it logged out so you can see the Google contextual ads.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:04 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


tyllwin: "There are a lot of minor officials in a country the size of the US. Some percentage will have mental health issues."

They're called Republicans.
posted by symbioid at 7:08 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


People, this only applies to fetuses and fetal stem cells. Post-birth medical waste recycling would still be a-ok in OK.
posted by bonehead at 7:09 AM on January 25, 2012


There are hundreds is not thousands of insane stunt bills submitted to the legislative bodies in the US.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:09 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


*goes back to shoveling Honey Bunches Of Fetuses into mouth*

What'cha eatin' there?
Nutin', Fetus.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:09 AM on January 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


In Oklahoma, Soylent Green is(n't) people!
posted by kinnakeet at 7:10 AM on January 25, 2012


I'm not sure anyone's ever been trolled quite this much before.

Cake is a made-up drug?
posted by atrazine at 7:14 AM on January 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


When my daughters were born (at home) the nurse who accompanied our midwife asked me what I'd like to do with the placenta. Which, as we all know, is like one step away from asking me what I'd like to do with the fetus. So this is real, people! Or something. Just remember that when you're doing your "own Internet research".
posted by tommasz at 7:19 AM on January 25, 2012


But...Passing a law banning stem cells would be in-line with Sharia Law!!!!!!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:20 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pepsi Goo-Goo
posted by orme at 7:21 AM on January 25, 2012


his own Internet research

4chan has some explaining to do.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:23 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


a robot made out of meat: "There are hundreds is not thousands of insane stunt bills submitted to the legislative bodies in the US."

I'ma make one that says aborted fetuses have to ride a motorcycle over flaming barrels. Stunty and roasted deliciousness all at the same time!
posted by symbioid at 7:30 AM on January 25, 2012


You got your peanut butter in my fetal tissue!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:34 AM on January 25, 2012


MMMMM..... BURRITO
posted by fungible at 7:34 AM on January 25, 2012


i wager i could take on 5,000 fetuses in a fair fight
posted by facetious at 7:37 AM on January 25, 2012


Does this mean we all have to switch to "I can't believe it's not Zygote!(tm)"?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:43 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


We've not yet reached peak wingnut. I would have been more impressed if they'd banned paying for Halal fetus meat with food stamps.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:48 AM on January 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Real problem joy with this bill: from now on whenever I bite down and discover something that shouldn't have been in my food, I'm going to be thinking, "Great. Fetus."
posted by Fizz at 7:52 AM on January 25, 2012


I don't know why it still sometimes surprises me that people who are clearly too stupid to function in normal society are somehow in positions of power, but here we are.
posted by elizardbits at 7:53 AM on January 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is actually just an extreme version of an old political trick. State Senator Shorty can now claim that anyone who mocks him is against the bill; if they are against his bill, then clearly they support human food-chain fetuses!

My dad loved to laugh and call supporters of gay rights "pro-sodomy". It's obviously a logical fallacy, but politics isn't about logic - it's about schoolyard taunts, soundbite thoughts and bumper-sticker philosophy.

I for one, am shocked, sickened, saddened, and disgusted by how many MeFites support eating fetuses. Shocking! Enough to say it twice.
posted by Xoebe at 7:56 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys, I <3 abortion jokes, and this thread brings joy to my heart. (I blame it on being raised in a pro-life activist house).
posted by symbioid at 8:10 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Bulgaroktonos: Arby's Macht Fries.
posted by 0rison at 8:11 AM on January 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


In early December, I made a comment about Obama eating aborted fetuses. Maybe Shortey is a Mefite?
posted by muddgirl at 8:12 AM on January 25, 2012


As a sign of my Real Liberal street cred, I gotta say I only like fetuses that are cooked with real cane sugar.

The ones made with HFCS just have a horrible mouth feel, and I swear there's something about the way the body processes HFCS that makes me end up eating a whole bag of fetuses when I really only meant to eat a handful.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:12 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The worst are the horribly delicious deep fried ones with the extra crispy skin, especially at the movies. Those portion sizes are beyond unreasonable.
posted by elizardbits at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fetus: It's what's for dinner.
posted by symbioid at 8:26 AM on January 25, 2012


This is actually just an extreme version of an old political trick. State Senator Shorty can now claim that anyone who mocks him is against the bill; if they are against his bill, then clearly they support human food-chain fetuses!

Right. And by drawing attention to the fact that it is, in fact, a really stupid trick, we can help make it less likely to work in the future. Because people who use this trick should be publicly humiliated.
posted by JHarris at 8:27 AM on January 25, 2012


What the fuck is it with Republicans jumping at shadows and freaking out over imaginary threats? I thought they were all supposed to be SO BRAVE, and that Liberals were the wimps.
posted by kcds at 8:31 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Guys, don't worry. We at SoylentPAC are dedicated to preventing passage of this ludicrous stunt bill.
posted by The Bellman at 8:32 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why does Ralph Shortey hate freedom to eat shorties?
posted by lukemeister at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope they will also ban unicorn meat because I'm tired of shitting rainbows.
posted by Mister_A at 8:42 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


The good news is human fetuses can still be used for pet food. Which is great. My cats have such healthy and shiny coats after switching to Purina One Fetus and Fish formula.
posted by birdherder at 8:57 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


A fetus for breakfast, another for lunch, and a sensible dinner.
Of fetus.
posted by haricotvert at 9:10 AM on January 25, 2012


My dad loved to laugh and call supporters of gay rights "pro-sodomy".

I don't get this. I'm in favor of gay rights, and I'm very pro-sodomy. Sodomy is awesome!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:13 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


What really sucks, in my mind, is that fetus gets a bad rep because everyone's eating overcooked boneless skinless fetus breast.

Fat is flavor, people. Eat the fetus thigh instead.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:13 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Essentially it's a retelling of the old blood libel myth directed against liberals, scientists, and intellectuals.

So is it false that stem cell lines that originated from aborted fetuses are being used for flavor tests? I'm having a tough time meta-filtering through all the LOLRepublican comments to find out what the actual facts are.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:16 AM on January 25, 2012


So is it false that stem cell lines that originated from aborted fetuses are being used for flavor tests? I'm having a tough time meta-filtering through all the LOLRepublican comments to find out what the actual facts are.

Did you try Google? Because every result I'm finding for the charge goes right back to the same few anti-choice sites.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Will no one think of the bird fetuses?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:30 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whereas: Maidens of Virtue Loose are Known by Testimony of Honest Website to Engage in Congress with the Great Devil named Satan
And Whereas: The Diabolic Issue of this Intercourse are the Noxious Breed known as Pirates of Software
Be It Resolved: That evidence of Demonic Ancestry in form of Birthmark or Superfluous Nipple shall be cause for Immediate Shutdown of any Website complained of Sharing of Files or Traffic with Diabolical Forces (as defined by HB 4723)
posted by ormondsacker at 9:34 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


TASTES LIKE CHILDREN
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:34 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was talking about the Flaming Lips with my mother last night. She asked what I thought about Oklahoma approving "Do You Realize???" as the official state rock song.

I mentally cataloged recent OK legislative successes (2004 the piecemeal renaming of a 7 mile stretch of the N. Canadian into the Oklahoma River to "not confuse people," outlawing sharia law, and waiting until November 2002 to outlaw cockfighting) and honestly replied it was possibly the thing that most made me most proud to be Oklahoman.

That and QuikTrips. Seriously, if you haven't created you own special mix of fountain drink at one of their mega soda fountains on a 100 degree day, then you haven't lived.
posted by midmarch snowman at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did you try Google? Because every result I'm finding for the charge goes right back to the same few anti-choice sites.

That's what I saw too. But significantly, I didn't see a Snopes takedown of the charge or a denial from any of the companies alleged to be involved (and this controversy is several months old).

As far as I can tell, the charge is that cells from the HEK-293 line, which were derived from a "healthy aborted fetus," are being used to test the flavors of processed consumer foods. Since some people are claiming this to be a "blood libel," my question is: is this false?
posted by BobbyVan at 9:38 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


@BobbyVan A few "pro-life" sites have made the claim that a company called Senomyx uses a testing procedure for new artificial flavors that involves the using HEK 293 line of stem cells. I'm pretty doubtful about how that could work, I mean it isn't as if stem cells have any ability to report on taste.

It was one of the big "ZOMG SCIENCE IS EVIL!" lines going around in "pro-life" blogs and whatnot a while back, usually they claimed that Pepsi involved powdered fetus because Pepsi uses sweeteners tested by Senomyx. That's doubtless what inspired senator moron to do his stupid human trick.

Senomyx is using the reactions of proteins found in taste buds to new potential artificial flavors to get a good first approximation on whether an actual human taste test for that flavor would be worth the time and money.

They're close mouthed about the specifics of how they do what they do, trade secret and all. The only thing linking them to any stem cells is a mention, in one line, of a patent they filed back in 2008, of HEK 293. Cells derived from HEK 293, which was started in the 1970's, and is 40 years old now and contains absolutely no fetal material, may be involved in Senomyx's process, or not. Moreover, growing proteins doesn't require stem cells.

There is no evidence, anywhere, of any company using actual fetuses for flavorings, or for testing flavors.

So yeah, it looks like blood libel to me.
posted by sotonohito at 9:39 AM on January 25, 2012 [19 favorites]


We've not yet reached peak wingnut.

That will come in the months following this November. I can't decide if it will be worse if Obama wins or not.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think a Romney nomination, no matter what happens, will cause the wingnuts to peak.

They'll have to choose between two guys they hate. And they'll know no matter what they do, they won't be in charge in the way they'd like to be.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2012


So is it false that stem cell lines that originated from aborted fetuses are being used for flavor tests?

Actually, the claim is that HEK3 cells are used by a lab contracted by PepsiCo. to culture a specific protein. So the strict answer is no, they are not used as 'flavor tests' but rather used to culture a protein. These proteins are then used in 'flavor tests.' Even putting aside the question of whether or not this is true (which would be difficult to determine given the agents involved - not that they are ashamed of using stem cells, but that such processes would be trade secrets), Shortey would still be incorrect in his assertion that aborted fetuses 'are being turned' into stem cells and that those stem cells 'are being used' to test food products. The HEK 3 cells used for protein culture are many many millions of generations removed from the originating fetus.
posted by muddgirl at 9:46 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the awesome background sotonohito.

I just liked HEK 293 and Senomyx on Facebook, because I'm pretty sure it will drive a few of my family members crazy (-er).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:46 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoops that should be HEK 293.
posted by muddgirl at 9:47 AM on January 25, 2012


@sotonohito: This Senator is obviously a moron, and he's attracting the wrong kind of attention to his issue using a cynical piece of legislation that purports to ban something that no one would ever think to propose.

I might even agree that the tactics are tantamount to a blood libel, given that the bill is more misleading than it is informative.

All that said, I find it unconvincing that the use of HEK 293 cells to test flavors (or culture proteins, muddgirl) during the production of consumer food products (if that's happening) is insignificant from a PR perspective. I'm sure lots of people here read about the "immortal Henrietta Lacks" and the successful culturing of HeLa cells. Well, what differentiates HeLa cells from the "immortal aborted Dutch fetus"?
posted by BobbyVan at 9:52 AM on January 25, 2012


So, since many vaccines are designed, tested, and made with cell lines from aborted fetuses, is the pro-life movement anti-vax?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey - good idea, Lentrohamsanin, I just did the same :)
posted by symbioid at 9:57 AM on January 25, 2012


So, since many vaccines are designed, tested, and made with cell lines from aborted fetuses, is the pro-life movement anti-vax?

They are in fact against vaccines made from those stem lines, though not fully anti-vax (yet). At least using my family members as a guage.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno if pro-life movement is anti-vax, but I damn sure see a lot of crossover between anti-vaxers and breeder hippie mamas, whether they're fully anti-abortion or not, they sure want a lot of fucking babies.
posted by symbioid at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


No:

"The St. Louis Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office says using a hepatitis vaccine derived from cell lines developed from an aborted fetus is morally acceptable because it is the only available alternative to the spread of the disease."
posted by BobbyVan at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is Henrietta Lacks. She was an adult person capable of consenting or removing consent in a medical sense. This is a 6-week old embryo. It doesn't have a brain or a fully-formed spinal column.

To compare one to the other seems very short-sighted, and rather insulting to Ms. Lacks.
posted by muddgirl at 10:00 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


@BobbyVan: PR I dunno about, but morally I don't see how there could be a problem. Heck, no less a "pro-life" nutbag than George W. Bush said that using established stem cell lines was ok.
posted by sotonohito at 10:01 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


@sotonohito Morally speaking, Bush supported research on existing lines derived from embryos in part because of the ability to cure disease that would save lines. He wasn't thinking about research to help in commercial food production.

@ muddgirl, you distort my argument. You can't on the one hand say that HeLa cells are "the immortal Henrietta Lacks" but that HEK-293 cells are x-many generations away from an aborted fetus as to be indistinguishable. You're making a different argument, which is that Lacks was a person, whereas an aborted fetus is not - therefore they're morally different. Not everyone agrees with you on this.

I'm certainly not outraged that embryonic stem cells from an old, well-established line are being used for commercial research. But I do think it could become a PR problem for certain companies if the issue is properly framed.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:12 AM on January 25, 2012


correction: the ability to cure disease that would save lives
posted by BobbyVan at 10:13 AM on January 25, 2012


indistinguishable = insignificant.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2012


@BobbyVan: I'm not at all sure I understand your point about Henrietta Lacks. What doe she have to do with this?

I'll also observe that the HEK line is actually a chimera, and incorporates at least 4,300 base pairs imported from a virus.

One reason why people were unhappy with Bush's attempt to ban fetal stem cell research is that existing lines, such as HEK, are almost all contaminated to one degree or another due to the techniques used to grow the line. We can do better today.

I'm also not at all sure I see how using a human/virus chimera cell line derived 40 years ago from a fetal kidney cell to train non-stem, non-fetal proteins to react in a manner vaguely similar to the reaction of taste buds to artificial flavorings is even remotely controversial. Even assuming that the company is using HEK at all, which isn't actually known.

Even assuming the "worst", I see no problem morally.
posted by sotonohito at 10:48 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not at all sure I understand your point about Henrietta Lacks. What doe she have to do with this?

If the origin-story of the HeLa cell line could grip the public in a bestselling book, why assume that the origin-story of HEK cells would/should be ignored?

One reason why people were unhappy with Bush's attempt to ban fetal stem cell research is that existing lines, such as HEK, are almost all contaminated to one degree or another due to the techniques used to grow the line. We can do better today.


Not to start a derail, but Bush's decision was always about federal funding, not an outright ban, w/ regard to embryonic stem cell research.

I'm also not at all sure I see how using a human/virus chimera cell line derived 40 years ago from a fetal kidney cell to train non-stem, non-fetal proteins to react in a manner vaguely similar to the reaction of taste buds to artificial flavorings is even remotely controversial. Even assuming that the company is using HEK at all, which isn't actually known.

"Company X is funding experiments using cells that originated from aborted fetuses to help make its products taste better." I'll bet a lot of people - even those who don't consider themselves pro-life - would be uncomfortable with that.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:00 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


So no Tulsa branch for my Stem-Cell Pancake Haus then, damn.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2012


"The St. Louis Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office says using a hepatitis vaccine derived from cell lines developed from an aborted fetus is morally acceptable because it is the only available alternative to the spread of the disease."

And yet condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS = little rubber demons made of and by satan himself. Oh hypocrisy, is there nothing you can't do?


Also, the bone grafts in my jaw are way closer to actual (ground up, dead) human beings than a HeLa cell or a stem cell.

I TASTE DEAD PEOPLE

posted by elizardbits at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, crap. There goes my baby back ribs.
posted by Samizdata at 12:01 PM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


"This is Henrietta Lacks. She was an adult person capable of consenting or removing consent in a medical sense."

Also, as long as we're making convoluted arguments and false equivalencies only tangentially related to the topic at hand, is this the time to point out that Henrietta Lacks never actually consented to collection of her tissue for experiments and was also dead when the experiments took place and thus also unable to remove consent... in a medical sense. Also, what?
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:16 PM on January 25, 2012


The underlying process used by Senomyx is documented here. It does involve the cloning of HEK-293 cells to generate T1R1 taste receptors for use in flavor recognition. HEK stands for Healthy Embryonic Kidney. I have no problem with this, but BobbyVan is correct in saying that this involves the use of (cloned) aborted human tissue as a preliminary step in the synthesis of proteins for testing sweetness, and that some people are disturbed by such uses - some because they oppose any stem-cell use whatsoever, some because of the non medical application. Such concerns strike me as no more strange or irrational than some of the objections to commercial use of GMOs.

While I support abortion rights, all these fetus jokes are deplorable. Abortion is a painful necessity for many people, and Rep. Shortey's crassness on the topic doesn't strike me as a standard worth emulating.

posted by anigbrowl at 12:19 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, linkfail. PNAS paper on taste receptor culture.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:23 PM on January 25, 2012


just scrolled to bottom

to tell you all this made me so nauseous

I actually vomited

I hate you all.
posted by mephron at 1:02 PM on January 25, 2012


I can sill open a Placenta Hut, though, right?

Uh...

The pro-life group contacted both companies, requesting them not to use fetal cells in the program...Senomyx ignored the letter and anyone else who sends ignorant, batshit crazy demands.*


*Edited for clarity.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:20 PM on January 25, 2012


Same great taste...
posted by Trochanter at 1:27 PM on January 25, 2012


"Rumor doesn't make for the best public policy."

Yeah, well that's not what I heard.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 3:07 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


is this the time to point out that Henrietta Lacks never actually consented to collection of her tissue for experiments

Um, yes? This is my point? I can find the collection of Lacks tissue to be unethical because she could have given consent but was not asked (which does not mean that I think that all use of the HeLa line is unethical). I maintain that comparing the Lacks case to embryonic stem cell lines is really, really missing the point of the ethical issues raised by The Immortal Life.

If the person who aborted the fetus which became HEK 293 did not consent to using such tissue for medical research, then that would be an ethical problem. If one thinks that abortion is unwarranted murder, then that would also pose an ethical problem for such a person. But they are really two completely different problems - in the first case we recognize that people may have a right to determine what is done with their tissue or with the tissue of their dependents. In the second case one would argue that it is immoral to profit off of murder.
posted by muddgirl at 3:54 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: It's beyond that.
posted by finite at 5:51 PM on January 25, 2012


Feed Us a Fetus
posted by jonp72 at 7:24 PM on January 25, 2012


I'll have fetus, fetus, fetus, fetus, baked beans and fetus.
posted by Trochanter at 9:43 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This discussion has me officially squicked out.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:00 AM on January 26, 2012


Newbie politician with building a track record of proposing wildly unpassable "legislation" that will appeal to the most radicalized of his constituency? He's not an idiot; he's looking to run for higher office.

I can see the next campaign ads now: I tried to keep dead babies out of your food when noone else would do anything about it...
posted by kjs3 at 7:55 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newbie politician with building a track record of proposing wildly unpassable "legislation" that will appeal to the most radicalized of his constituency? He's not an idiot; he's looking to run for higher office.

I can't figure out how he expects to be re-elected. From the first link:
"First elected in 2010 to a heavily Hispanic district on the city's south side, Shortey has grabbed headlines with other bills he's introduced that have not become law. He sponsored a measure last year to crack down on illegal immigrants by authorizing law enforcement to seize their homes and vehicles, and to deny Oklahoma citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants."
Way to alienate your base, there.
posted by Runes at 2:05 PM on January 26, 2012


MexicanYenta: "This discussion has me officially squicked out."

Oh man, you need to head to the necro thread, next.
posted by symbioid at 2:26 PM on January 26, 2012


mephron: "just scrolled to bottom

to tell you all this made me so nauseous

I actually vomited

I hate you all.
"

The first name of our band in High School was Puking Fetus. :)
posted by symbioid at 2:28 PM on January 26, 2012


« Older Pop music cutups   |   Do you want to see something scary? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments