(PCM) One of the more odd happenings as of late is the report of a massive spillage of red Skittles candy on a rural Wisconsin Highway. Literally, thousands of only red colored Skittles littered the roadway! If that was not absurd enough, it was the Wisconsin sheriff’s comments about the incident on Facebook that led people to further scratch their heads in confusion.
It seems that the Skittles, which were being transported in a large cardboard box on the back of a flat-bed truck, were on their way to be delivered as food for cattle in the region. It was raining in the area that day and the cardboard box became wet causing it to give way and spill the load of Skittles all over the highway. It is said that the Skittles were set to become cattle food because they did not make the cut for human consumption and packaging for the company. In other words, they were a bunch of defective Skittles.
Mars, the parent company of the Skittles brand, claims that they had no idea that the defective Skittles were going to be fed to cattle and claim they are currently investigating the incident. They claim that the load of red Skittles was deemed defective due to a manufacturing glitch that prevented them from being stamped with the company’s signature white “s” and that is the reason they were shipped off.
We find it very hard to believe that the Mars company had no clue that these defective candies were being sold off for cattle food, as it is fairly common process due to government regulations regarding a farms corn crops. The regulations state that 40% of a farms corn crop must be put aside for the use of fuel and the rest of the crop can be split evenly between consumption for humans and animals. However, if a farm were to have a bad crop season for corn they have been forced to turn to alternative measures to feed their livestock, which includes the cattle, by giving them not only defective Skittles as in this particular case, but also gummy bears as well.
These foods are a cheaper alternative to corn and provide what many farmers call “cheap carbs” to bulk up their animals. It is not an uncommon practice for food manufacturers to sell off many of their defectives to companies that use them to create animal feed. The US Animal Defense Fund provides a list of which foods can be collected and made into animal scraps. It includes cookies, Fruit Loops, cereal, orange peels, dried fruit, taco shells, refried beans, cottonseed hulls, rice products, potato products, and peanut pellets to name a few with of course gummy bears and Skittles making that list as well!
Cattle farmers are often times willing to feed virtually anything they can get their hands on to their cattle and livestock as a way to replace the starch and sugar content that the animals typically receive through consuming corn-based feed. It is certainly a scary thought for consumers, as it is growing more and more difficult to figure out exactly what we are eating ourselves after discovering some of these details regarding the both the farming and food industries.