The Daily Gamecock

Weird Stories: Eat more Skittles

For this edition of The Daily Gamecock’s quest to find the weirdest possible news to bring your way, we travel to Wisconsin, the land of cheese, snow, Aaron Rodgers and, of course, rainbow cows.

Our story begins in Dodge County, where hundreds of thousands of Skittles were found scattered across a highway last week. The Skittles were all red and didn’t have the usual “S” on them, but Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said he recognized them as Skittles because of the smell.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department later posted on Facebook that the Skittles had fallen off a truck. However, it’s the last part of the post that makes this story pure gold.

The latter part of the post reads, “It is reported that the Skittles were intended to be feed for cattle as they did not make the cut for packaging at the company.”

Thousands of red Skittles traveling on a truck to be eaten by cows.

According to a report from CNN, farmers have been using the practice of feeding rejected candy to their cattle for years in order to supply “cheap carbs.”

Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plans Livestock Consulting, told CNNMoney that "(It) is a very good way for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers."

Apparently farmers have been doing this for decades, but the practice really kicked off in 2012 following an immense hike in corn prices, and it might not be that bad for them. In fact, according to John Waller, a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Tennessee, it might actually be a sustainable diet.

"I think it's a viable [diet],” Waller 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.”

The plot grew even thicker once it was discovered that Mars Inc., the company that makes Skittles, doesn’t know how the Skittles got there.

According to the Associated Press, Linda Kurtz, a corporate environmental manager at Mars, said they sell their unused candy to processors who mix them with other materials to make cattle feed. However, she also said that the plant from which these Skittles came is not one that sells products for animal feed.

“We don't know how it ended up as it did and we are investigating,” Mars told the Associated Press.

And so the mystery behind these road skittles continues on, and the whole ordeal brought out a variety of responses from light-hearted like our own lame rainbow cow joke to more serious concerns about waste and animal health like those voiced in Eleanor Goldberg’s article in The Huffington Post about the subject.

Regardless of the reaction, this story certainly took an unexpected path starting with candy being found on a highway in Wisconsin and ending with the nation learning about a strange animal feeding process for cows. And while eating Skittles might not actually make cows into rainbow cows, at least they will be able to taste the rainbow instead of boring old corn all the time.