The fad for health food has massively increased the number of laboratory experiments on animals for food additives, sweeteners and health supplements over the past one year in the UK, official figures have revealed.
The Home Office figures showed that the number of experiments conducted over the animals have increased from 862 in 2005 to 4,038 in 2006.
According to the Animal welfare groups, many tests involving painful procedures and artificially induced injuries to research the effects of food are unnecessary or can be performed on humans also.
In an experiment conducted in the Glasgow University, the rodents were given raspberry juice and then killed to see where the juice had gone in their kidneys, liver and brains.
In another experiment, researchers at Hammersmith hospital, west London, forcibly fed rats with fish supplements.
To examine the effect of raw, lightly cooked or fully cooked food, rats at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, were fed with a diet containing 20 per cent raw, lightly cooked or fully cooked cabbage.
And then these animals were killed to observe the effects of the diet on their liver and colon, though the researchers had already conducted a study on humans on the effects on the gut of eating cooked cabbage.
Dogs are also becoming a victim of these experiments along with rodents, rabbits and guinea pigs.
In experiments conducted in the United States, dogs were forcibly given huge doses of Teavigo, a purified green tea extract also marketed as "green tea in its purest form," which eventually led to the death of the animal.
Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said that these testing are hidden scandals.
"The rise in testing of food on animals in the race to find the next lucrative 'super-food' is a hidden scandal. People are unaware of the animal suffering behind the headlines," Thew said.
Figures also showed that the tests on animals for other foods increased up to 30 per cent to 7,477 tests from 2005 to 2006.