Mystery Of Skittles Scattered On Road Destined For Cattle Feed Has Been Solved

Image courtesy of Dodge County Sheriff's Department

Have you been wondering about the backstory behind the Skittles strewn across a highway in Wisconsin a few weeks ago? Skittles-maker Mars said that it was investigating the situation, and now we know the answer: a miscommunication meant that the candy was allegedly sold directly to a farmer.

The Skittles in the road made national news after a Wisconsin sheriff’s department made a Facebook post (now deleted) about the strange find, noting that the Skittles were being thrown away because they lacked the letter “S” printed on them, and they were all red. The candy had been sold to a farmer for cattle feed, the sheriff said, and fell out of the back of his truck when a wet cardboard box disintegrated.

Mars Inc. employees knew that this didn’t sound right, since the factories that make Skittles don’t sell boxes of candy to individual farmers. Defective food, including candy, is sometimes saved from the trash stream and turned into food for livestock, but those products are sold to animal feed processors. Yet the candy came from a facility in Illinois that doesn’t sell its waste to animal feed producers at all.

The Associated Press has the answer, and it’s a typical big-company miscommunication: the defective candy ended up in the hands of a farmer because of a misunderstanding between a trash vendor and a subcontractor at the factory. The AP wasn’t able to reach the purported farmer on the phone, and Mars couldn’t say whether anyone at the factory had authorized handing the Skittles over to a subcontractor to be made into cattle feed.

Sorry, hopeful readers: Skittle-fed beef is not an official thing, even if unwanted candy is sometimes fed to livestock.