Halloween candy is everywhere. You walk into a grocery store and have to practically wade through aisles and kiosks filled with chocolate and sugary sweets. It makes me think back a couple of years to when the owner of the United Livestock Commodities group, Joseph Watson, recommended feeding stale candy to cows.
No, you read correctly. Candy for cows. And, no, I cannot make this stuff up. Truth is almost always stranger than fiction.
When corn is expensive and/or scarce, Mr. Watson felt that candy’s high sugar and fat content would be a good substitute. An additional bonus was that the paper wrappers could add fiber and fill to the cattle. His plan was a win-win for the beef producers and the candy companies. The latter had a way to unload their surplus product and the former had a way to cheaply feed their animals.
This plan does not seem to be a win for consumers though. I tried to find studies on what feeding candy did to the beef since two years have passed since the recommendation, but I could not find any information. Without a scientific study into the beef of candy-fed cattle, I am left with my own opinion.
I know what candy does to people. I know it is not a healthy part of anyone’s diet and should be eaten only in moderation. Therefore, I cannot imagine how anyone would have thought this was a good idea, much less publicly state it.
Grass-fed cattle do take longer to reach a harvest weight compared to grain-fed and/or candy-fed cattle. All that sugar and fat does make a cow or a person gain weight. As producers and consumers, we both have to show patience and trust the natural process. Then we know through countless studies that grass-fed beef has health benefits.
I tell you, the older I get the more I think our society has lost its mind. It is truly a strange world in which we live. As you pass out candy corn and bubble gum at the end of the month to costumed children, think about how you are keeping this candy out of the feedlots. I never could have imagined a candy connection to cattle.