If there are any fetal remains in the food you’re consuming, Texas Republican state Sen. Bob Hall wants you to know about it.
Vice News says that Hall has proposed a bill that would require “clear and visible labels” on all foods “made with human fetal tissue.”
However, as the Vice News piece makes clear, no food that is legally sold in the United States is made from fetal remains, and a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration informs the newspaper that their agency would never approve of any such food.
“There are no circumstances under which the FDA would think it is safe or legal for humans or animals to eat human fetal tissue,” the spokesperson said.
Vice points out that Hall’s measure might still have a practical effect on scientific studies employing fetal cell lines that have been applied to drug development.
“These lines can be collected from a single miscarriage or abortion, then replicated in labs, over and over again, for decades,” the publication writes. “Fetal cell lines have led to the development of many major vaccines, such as the vaccines against chickenpox and Hepatitis A.”
“Unfortunately, many Texans are unknowingly consuming products that either contain human fetal parts or were developed using human fetal parts,” read a statement from Hall’s office. “While some may not be bothered by this, there are many Texans with religious or moral beliefs that would oppose consumption or use of these products.”
Foods containing human tissue are prohibited from being sold by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
One of the most recent eruptions of ongoing debates over the use of cell lines, which can be generated from aborted or miscarried babies, in science is the bill that Hall submitted on behalf of a constituent. Such cells are frequently utilized in scientific research and testing, but they are not added to food.
Human embryonic cells can be multiplied thousands of times over the course of many years in a single culture. Many of the cell lines that scientists use the most frequently today were developed decades ago.
The use of aborted fetuses to produce fetal tissue and cell lines was prohibited by state legislation and federal regulations as a result of the abortion debates that began at least in the 1970s.
Anti-abortion organizations, most notably Children of God For Life, have frequently demanded that consumers boycott businesses like Neucutis and Senomyx for using HEK 293 cells in their R&D.
According to Reuters, the HEK 293 cell line’s origins can be traced to kidney cells that were either taken from an abortion or a miscarriage in the 1970s. Over the past fifty years, the cells have been used hundreds of thousands of times.
The use of the cell line to create a skincare product was acknowledged by Neucutis. According to CBS News, Senomyx also employed the cells to analyze millions of samples of flavor enhancers used in its products without utilizing human tasters.
Since cell lines aren’t used as food ingredients, the Texas bill wouldn’t have much of an impact on the food sector, but it would have a significant effect on the medical industry. According to the regulation, any medicinal product “derived from research involving human fetal tissue” must be labeled. This inclusive language might cover a wide range of medications and immunizations, from polio to HIV therapies.