Hundreds of thousands of red Skittles were recently found on a highway in Wisconsin. This pleased the DOT as the sticky fare provided welcomed traction on the icy road.
But there’s more to this… much more sinister than morning humour.
This truck load of candy was on its way to cattle farm as feed. That’s right, food for dairy and beef cattle.
“It has been a practice going on for decades and is a very good way to for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers,” said Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc. in Eagle, Nebraska.
Yup. From CNN:
“Candy, wrapper and all: Ranchers report feeding their beef steers and dairy cows a variety of bulk candy, including gummy worms, marshmallows, hard candy, sprinkles, chocolate, candy corn, and hot chocolate mix. Candy provides sugar that cows would usually get from corn, giving them more energy and making them fatter. When corn prices skyrocketed, the practice became popular: In fall 2012, one candy supplier who sells farmers and ranchers “salvage” chocolate—that’s imperfect and broken chocolates—said the price of the stuff had recently doubled.
In some cases, ranchers found, the candy feed comes wrapped. Asked if he was concerned about his cattle eating plastic, one animal nutrition expert in Tennessee said he was not worried. “I think it would pass through just like excess fiber would.””
From an “expert” who’s shaping the minds of young farmers, what are his thoughts on this practice?
“I think it’s a viable (diet),” John Waller, an animal science professor at the University of Tennessee, told Live Science. “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.”
How does something an elementary school child would laugh about become common practice in a massive industry?
It’s all about the money.
Save on input costs. Reduce the cost of production. Damn the effect on the end product, just lower prices and maximize profits.
The consumer will never know. The BBQ’d sirloin will still taste the same.
The trace chemicals in candy rejected for human consumption? Not enough to worry about. The plastics in the wrappers they are eating? Harmless.
Goes to show you need to be discerning about your choices and the effects they can have on your health.
The world of mass-produced food is one scary place.
While I haven’t eaten meat in many a year and this won’t impact me, I strongly suggest you opt for locally-grown grass-fed beef rather than the candy-fed kind!