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A bizarre start-up offers customers the chance to turn their favourite celebrity into salami — and there are fears it could be the fulfilment of a Biblical prophecy indicating the end of days.
BiteLabs was launched in 2014 advertising "artisanal salamis from meat that has been lab-grown from celebrity tissue samples".
"We all wish we could be closer to our favourite celebrities, and now we can all experience them in flesh," its website reads.
The lab-grown meat company, which claims its products are healthier and more eco-friendly than traditionally farmed animal products, says it will harvest myoblast cells from public figures in a biopsy and grow them into meat in bioreactors.
The final product will consist of approximately 30% celebrity meat and 40% lab-grown animal meats, along with the fat and spices traditionally used to make salami.
The website proposes four celebrities — James Franco, Jennifer Lawrence, Kanye West and Ellen DeGeneres — as potential tissue donors, and encourages people to tweet #EatCelebrityMeat to raise awareness.
The start-up was widely assumed to be a joke after its launch, but a 2014 interview with a staff member indicated its creators are completely serious.
The man known only as Kevin told Vice there were five BiteLabs employees "working full time on this", and that they were "100% serious in prompting widespread discussion about bioethics, lab-grown meats, and celebrity culture".
"Making celebrity meat a reality from there will all depend on our ability to build a user-base," he added.
However it's all hypothetical as there's no sign BiteLabs has progressed to making any actual meat product in the last seven years.
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Multiple media outlets, including the Daily Star, have attempted to contact the company for an update but have yet to hear back.
The website contains a quote from Winston Churchill who predicted lab-grown meat in 1931, saying: "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.
"Synthetic food will, of course, also be used in the future. Nor need the pleasures of the table be banished….The new foods will from the outset be practically indistinguishable from the natural products, and any changes will be so gradual as to escape observation."
However Israel 365 News, an outlet that interprets current events through the lens of ancient religious texts, claims BiteLabs' technology was predicted long before Churchill.
A new article claims the Prophet Ezekiel predicted in the Hebrew Bible that cannibalism would be one of the signs of the coming apocalypse.
"Assuredly, parents shall eat their children in your midst, and children shall eat their parents," the prophet is quoted as saying in Ezekiel 5:10.
"I will execute judgments against you, and I will scatter all your survivors in every direction."
Rabbi Moshe Avraham Halperin from the Institute for Science and Technology According to Jewish Law warns that while eating human cells may be technically kosher, it is essentially a curse.
"The question of whether or not lab-grown meat is still being determined," he told Israel 365 News.
"But this particular example of growing meat from a human body has spiritual and ethical implications that go beyond the technical kashrut of the material."
The rabbi added: "Eating human flesh in any form, even eating your own flesh, is entirely forbidden by the Torah.
"It is, essentially, the same as eating the meat from any forbidden animal that does not have the required Biblical signs of cloven hooves and chewing its cud, or an animal that has not been properly slaughtered.
"On a technical Biblical level, they are all expressly forbidden to the same degree."
- End Of The World
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