Hundreds of thousands of red Skittles cascaded onto a road in rural Wisconsin last week. The sheriff’s department traced the origins of the candy to a farm. Why would a farm need a literal ton of Skittles? It turns out, humans aren’t the only ones who eat them for a sugar rush. But why are some cows fed candy?
Unsellable candy makes great cattle feed, livestock nutritionist Ki Fanning told CNNMoney. “[It] is a very good way for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers.” Just about anything sugary and processed can be sold at a bulk discount from manufacturers at half the price of grain-based feed.
Is it safe to be feeding candy to cows? Considering what’s fed to some industrial-farmed cattle…perhaps. Live Science consulted with John Waller, a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Tennessee, who found it to be a “viable diet.” “It keeps fat material from going out in the landfill, and it’s a good way to get nutrients in these cattle. The alternative would be to put [the candy] in a landfill somewhere,” he said. He added that farmers have been cutting cattle feed with byproducts for decades.