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Mars: ‘Miscommunication’ led to Skittles spill

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Mars says a miscommunication with a subcontractor led to a defective batch of its Skittles, reportedly on their way to becoming cattle feed, ending up scattered across a highway.

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2014 file photo, a representative from the Skittles candy company poses with packages of a special "Seattle Mix" of the treat, that were being handed out in a limited number to Seattle Seahawks fans in Seattle. Mars says it was a miscommunication with a subcontractor that led to a defective batch of its Skittles being spilled on a highway while they were reportedly on their way to becoming cattle feed. The spill captured attention after a Wisconsin sheriff posted photos of the red candies on a road on Facebook, and wrote that they had fallen off the truck of a farmer who was going to feed them to cattle. Selling food byproducts for animal feed is common, but Mars had said the factory that made the Skittles in question was not approved to do so. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The spill captured widespread attention after a Facebook post by a Wisconsin sheriff showed a road covered in the colorful candy. The sheriff wrote that they had fallen off the truck of a farmer who was going to feed them to cattle. Selling food byproducts for use in animal feed is not uncommon, but Mars had said that the factory that made the spilled Skittles was not approved to do so.

The candy maker also said that it only sells to third party processors that mix unused candy with other ingredients to make animal feed, not to individual farmers.

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Now Mars says the mishap was the result of miscommunication between a vendor that handles its waste management and a subcontractor. The company says it doesn’t believe there was “ill intent” and that “corrective action” is being taken. Mars said it can’t say for certain whether the candy was given to the subcontractor to be turned into animal feed.

Messages left with a phone number for the farmer, provided by the Dodge County Sheriff’s office, were not returned.

Mars has said the Skittles were supposed to be destroyed because a power outage during the manufacturing process left the candies without the “S’’ on them.