September 18, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Stem cells in my Pepsi? New crazy stem cell myths

Pepsi, stem cell mythsJust when I thought that the myths about stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, couldn’t get any more fantastic (as in based on fantasy), we have some bright folks out there thinking that soda (pop, coke, pepsi, whatever you call it) is made using embryonic stem cells.

The headline goes: Pepsi is using embryonic stem cells to make better sodas.

While it is true that the enormous corporation that is Pepsi contributes relatively small amounts of money to study the effects of sugar and possible sugar substitutes on cells, the cells involved are in fact not stem cells. They are in reality a human kidney cell line used by thousands of labs around the world.

There is no real connection between Pepsi and embryonic stem cell research that I know of, although even if there was, I see that as no reason to boycott Pepsi.

But even so now reportedly we have a Republican, Ralph Shortey, from Oklahoma introducing a bill that would prohibit making or selling food products that use aborted human fetuses and reportedly the Pepsi stem cell myth is his inspiration.

No I’m not making this up. In fact, there is a very real boycott of Pepsi underway because of this myth.

For reference, the University of Michigan has an excellent website on stem cell myths.

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