Why are red skittles considered “nutritious” for cattle?

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Wait, What? Skittles Spilled on Wisconsin Highway Were Meant for Livestock Feed

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Last week, an image of a Wisconsin highway covered entirely in spilled red Skittles raised a lot of questions
Why are red skittles considered “nutritious” for cattle?

Wikimedia Commons

Why are red skittles considered “nutritious” for cattle?

Highway spills are so common that they barely make the news (unless it’s 90,000 broken bottles of beer that litter the road). But the highway spill last week in Wisconsin is raising eyebrows. A truck only carrying discarded red Skittles spilled its cargo onto the icy road of the Dodge County Highway on Tuesday night.

Passersby apparently thought the piles of unmarked red candies were the remains of some unfortunate roadkill accident.

"From what I understand, these Skittles were probably rejects from the factory,” Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt told NBC News 12 . “They are given out to farmers because apparently they are good nutrients for cattle.”

There’s something fishy going on here: Why are cattle being fed rejected red Skittles? Mars, Inc. has claimed innocence and is launching an investigation into the matter:

"We don't know how it ended up as it did and we are investigating,” a company spokesperson said.  Apparently, the Skittles were meant to be destroyed because a power outage prevented the signature “S” from being printed.

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The main ingredients in Skittles are sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, and artificial coloring; cattle usually eat cereal grains and/or corn.