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You may have heard the rumours spreading on social media claiming that Skittles are fed to American cattle. You may not have heard that they have been verified, and defective Skittles are in fact often used to feed animals on factory farms. Those same animals are slaughtered to make your beef, meaning that if you’re a beef eater, you may be inadvertently consuming sugar.

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How the “Skittles Secret” Was Exposed

This subject gained a lot of media attention after hundreds of thousands of Skittles were found all over the Dodge County Highway in Wisconsin, having fallen off the back of a transport truck overnight. The heavy rainfall caused the boxes to break, allowing the Skittles to fall over the road. Pictures posted online show that the Skittles are missing the trademark “S,” although they are clearly the classic Skittles branded candies. Strangely, all of the Skittles found were red.

The local police reported that the Skittles were on their way to feed cattle. Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt stated that a local farmer, whose identity is being withheld, told him that using defective Skittles as cattle feed is common. Mars, the company that produces Skittles, has already confirmed that the candies found on the ground were Skittles and that they were deemed unfit for human consumption. This begs the question: If they “didn’t make the grade for human consumption,” how can they be safe for animals to eat? (They’re not.)

Mars’ Corporate Environmental Manager, Linda Kurtz, explained that the company sells discarded candies and other ingredients to processors that then use them to create animal feed. Although she said that Mars doesn’t sell directly to farmers, and its procedures are in line with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, it’s clear that Mars was aware that their candies are used to feed animals.

Why Feed Animals Defective Candy?

The simple answer is because it’s cheaper than corn (watch out, Monsanto!).

As CNN reporter Doug Criss explained, “A former farmer told CNN affiliate WBAY that candy makers and bakeries often sell rejects to be used as cattle feed because they provide ‘cheap carbs.’ “

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And this isn’t a new practice. Apparently farmers started to use random food scraps decades ago, though there was a significant increase in this behaviour in 2012 when corn prices skyrocketed and local farmers were looking for cheaper alternatives, which sadly includes candy.

The U.S. Animal Legal Defense Fund actually has a list of foods that can be used as cattle feed that includes cookies, marshmallows, ice cream sprinkles, breakfast cereals like fruit loops, gummy worms, chocolate scraps, taco shells, refried beans, cottonseed hulls, rice products, potato products, and peanut pellets.

What’s even scarier is that many farmers and livestock nutritionists claim that these discarded candies are equally as nutritious as corn. Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, explains, “(It) is a very good way for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers.”

If Skittles are as nutritious as corn, and they’re essentially cancer-causing, chemical-filled candies, what does that say about the corn? Practically all corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified (GM), as approximately 90% of corn crops are GM, which poses numerous health risks. Corn is hidden in pretty much everything, from cakes, breads, and cereals to sodas and even meats.

It’s no secret that GM crops pose a serious threat to the environment. So, perhaps you’re thinking that Skittles and other discarded foods would be a great alternative to GM corn feed and, at the very least, it would prevent the Skittles from ending up in a landfill. Unfortunately, in reality, using candy as cattle feed may do far more harm than good to the environment.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Dairy Science studied the environmental effects of using high-sugar grasses to feed cattle. The study determined that this practice can actually significantly increase methane emissions, which means that feeding cattle high-sugar candies would have the same effect, or potentially even worse.

The Problem Here Is Much Bigger Than Skittles

Yes, it’s scary to think that Skittles are in your food, but that’s only a small part of the problem here. Farmers are only using Skittles and other high-sugar, chemical ridden products because they can’t afford to use anything else. Monsanto has completely monopolized the entire farming industry, from pesticides to seeds, so numerous small farms are going out of business because they can’t afford to buy seeds or feed.

In regards to the environment, even if using high-sugar feed increases methane emissions, animal farming already accounts for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day and livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related nitrous oxide emissions (source). Eating animals is not an environmentally sustainable option.

Skittles aren’t the only thing going into animals’ bodies that should concern you. Farmed animals are pumped with antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals, and meat and dairy products thus contain these items in addition to puss, blood, mucus, and other substances your body is not meant to consume.

Harvard University found that even eating small amounts of red meat, especially processed red meat, on a regular basis has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and dying from cardiovascular disease or any other cause in general.

Certain meats are also known to cause cancer. Numerous studies have proven that replacing animal protein with plant protein is not only healthier for your body, but it could even reverse the harmful effects of eating meat (source). You can read more about this in our CE article here.

Eating meat once served us, as it provided our ancestors with the means to survive. However, now that we understand the immense environmental and health risks of producing and consuming meat, it’s no longer needed. We know that consuming animal products is of a low vibration and that simply cannot serve us if we want to raise our collective consciousness and lead society toward a better future.


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