Some US farmers are 'feeding cows Skittles'

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skittlesImage source, Getty Images

Officials believe a lorry load of Skittles found spilt on a road in America were intended as "cattle feed".

Hundreds of thousands of the sweets were discovered on a motorway in Wisconsin after falling out of a truck.

Mars, the company which makes Skittles, says it does not know why this batch was potentially going to be used as livestock feed and is investigating.

It is reported some farmers give their livestock the sweets because it is cheaper than corn.

The spillage happened in Dodge County on 17 January.

The county sheriff revealed on social media that the sweets were red Skittles, though they did not "have the standard letter 'S' on them".

Some locals say they're concerned about eating animals who have consumed Skittles.

However, others argue that if humans can eat the confectionary, it should be fine for animals to do the same.

Linda Kurtz, a corporate environmental manager at Mars, says the firm sells unused ingredients to clients who then mix them with other materials to make animal feed.

However, she said the company does not sell directly to farmers, and its procedures follow Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Cattle nutritionists say if Skittles are used in cattle feed they are broken down and mixed with other ingredients to achieve the right kind of nutritional profile.

Image source, Thinkstock

Newsbeat has been told the potentially most surprising thing British farmers may feed their animals are bread or biscuits.

Livestock adviser for the National Farmers' Union, Tom Dracup, says: "Very often, by-products from the farming and food industry are used to supplement feed for livestock.

"These are not only safe and nutritious for the animals, but help increase sustainability by using ingredients commonly seen as food waste, and can be a great method of improving livestock diets."

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