The ag industry just got caught feeding cows tonnes of Skittles. Hundreds of thousands of red Skittles were found spilled on a rural Wisconsin highway January 18. It was later revealed the truck that spilled the candy had been on its way to a local dairy farm:
The practice began in 2012, when corn prices drove up cost of feed, the Huffington Post reports. Farmers argue it’s a natural substitute for the sugars in corn and that the cows like it. In some cases, cows have been fed candies still in their wrappers.
“Red skittles are an alarming selection for cattle feed,” said Nicole Civita, director of the Food Recovery Project with the University of Arkansas and assistant director of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at Sterling College.
Feeding cows such a high sugar diet affects their gut ecology “dramatically,” she said, creating an acidic environment which allows pathogens like E coli to thrive.