Senator Bob Hall, a Texas Republican, wants "clear and conspicuous labelling" on foods containing material from aborted human fetuses. He wants the labelling done irrespective of the fact that such products do not exist.
Hall has authored a law that proposes food and medicine to be labelled if it contained or was manufactured with human fetal tissue, or if it was the product of research that used such tissues. The bill described human fetal tissue as tissue, cells or organs obtained from an aborted unborn child.
It should be noted that there is no evidence that food companies use human cells in their products. A widely shared tweet in 2022 claimed that flavour enhancers made from aborted fetal tissue are being eaten without the knowledge of consumers. It said amounts of these flavour enhancers used in food products are below a certain threshold, so they don't need to be reported or safely-tested by the FDA. There was no truth to this.
And back in 2012, a bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature prohibited the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses. This actually confused millions of people. This bill was also introduced by a Republican from Oklahoma City Senator Ralph Shortey. He claimed three companies in the food industry have used human stem cells to help them research and develop products, including artificial flavourings. "I don't know if it is happening in Oklahoma, it may be, it may not be. What I am saying is that if it does happen then we are not going to allow it to manufacture here," Shortey had said.
People are Not Aware
Now, Hall believes many Texans are unknowingly consuming products that either contain human fetal parts, or were developed using human fetal parts. "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," said a statement by his office.
The tissues, fetal parts that Hall is referring to may be HEK 293 cells. It stands for human embryonic kidney. Scientists have been using the HEK 293 embryonic cell line for various lab researches for more than 40 years. But this is not an ingredient of any food product or vaccine. There had also been "false claims" that this was used in food products by PepsiCo and Nestle. Controversies surrounding the use of HEK 293 goes back to 1970s when battles over abortion led state laws and federal regulations to curtail the use of aborted fetuses to cultivate fetal tissues and cell lines.
Hall said many of his constituents see using this cells as a matter of conscience and should be clearly disclosed. "A well-informed consumer can make whatever choice they decide on purchasing a product so long as they have all of the information in hand to make the choice."