Behind the Skittles Highway Spill

Behind the Skittles Highway Spill

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    Thousands of Skittles were scattered across a rural Wisconsin highway when a box of red candies on the back of a pickup truck disintegrated in the rain. Dodge County Sheriff’s Office put out a Facebook status that the Skittles were intended to be cattle feed. This led many on social media to ask why cows are being fed this nutrient less sugary substances and how it will affect them as a consumer. The factory in question, Mars Inc., experienced a power outage which led to an unfinished “S” print on the candies. Mars Inc. said the Skittles were meant to be destroyed and they do not know how they ended up on their way to a farm from their factory.

    So do cows actually “Taste the Rainbow”?

    Yes. Though it may seem shocking, in recent years, the practice of feeding lactating dairy cows sugar has emerged from the corn prices skyrocketing. Even the prices of these “salvage” chocolates have been rising since the discovery of the new feed. Dairy cattle eat up to 100 pounds of food a day and though it may seem odd to be feeding cattle sugar, it could possibly be beneficial to them and the environment.

    The practice is surprisingly cost-effective and sustainable as the candy gets put to use and does not end up in a landfill. When one-third of the food produced goes to waste, it is surprisingly beneficial to use food scraps as cattle feed. In a study, researchers concluded that the increase of sugar to cattle’s diets increases milk production even when starches are replaced with the processed sugar. The sugar allows the cattle to put on weight which increases profits for the farmer, however, unfortunately, the cattle are slaughtered for consumption before they are reported to have health issues related to the high sugar intake. Also, farmers let the cows eat the plastic on the wrapped candy that could be hazardous to the cow. Though more research has to be done on the effects of ingesting the wrapper and the effects of processed sugar in their diet before the Food and Drug Administration regulate their rations. 

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Article by: Rachel Grace Fritz 

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