Cap’n Cattle Feed

Forget grass-fed beef, how about Cap’n Crunch-fed?

An article in Harvest reports that, often, more than half of cattle feed comes from food manufacturing excess. The mix of scraps and seconds that used to be the domain of hogs, is becoming increasingly common with cattle.

My first thought: what a nice use of excess materials that keeps food from going to the landfill. My second: What kind of stuff are we talking about?

Jeff Clausen manages 3,000 cattle in two feedlots outside of Omaha, Neb. He says the majority of his cattle’s feed is bakery byproduct – bread, dough and pastries that get burned or misformulated.

Hmm…But they also use Quaker Oats byproduct, which feels a little better. But as we keep reading, we learn that:

Even candy manufacturers have seconds. For example, the Hershey Company sells their candy that isn’t up to snuff for humans to the ag company Cargill, for use in livestock feed.

Rest assured, though–Twizzlers aren’t included, as they’re too gummy. Just a guess, but feeding excess candy, pastries, and sugary cereal (in addition to below-grade soybean oil) to livestock must have side effects.

I could be wrong, but I’m guessing it isn’t healthy for cattle to consume high amounts of sugar.  A quick web search reveals that there is such a thing as bovine diabetes. Going one step further, do those of us who eat beef want to consume meat of unhealthy or sugar-addled animals?

This entry was posted in Processing Plants, Waste Stream. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. alex
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    This is sad but not surprising. Another peice of information that supports being vegan. It’s too bad that we have an inadequate monitoring system that lacks a cohesive protocol and is under regulated.

    Interesting to say the least. There must be a better way to deal with “leftovers” from food companies.

  2. WilliamB
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It’s often said that pastured meat is healthier than CAFO meat. If true (I haven’t found a reliable and impartial source yet) this might be a reason why. A’course, feeding processed meat scraps to what should be herbivores can, itself, explain a lot of bad outcomes.

    We can’t tell if candy has a strong effect on CAFO meat cattle till we have an idea of how much candy they eat. BTW, Twizzlers are too gummy for Hershey’s processing machines, not to gummy for the cattle. Twizzlers are sold as-is to farmers.

  3. Joseph Papsidero
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    This is old news. A local snack cracker manufacturer in the Triangle sells all their rejects to hog farmers. Just in case anyone ever detects a slight cheesy taste in their pork.

  4. Posted February 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    That might be old news, but I’ve never heard about it before. Kinda disturbing.

    Thank goodness I have access to beef from local cows that eat mostly grass. I’m positive they don’t ever eat crackers or candy.

  5. Bernie
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I know people who get leftover grain mash from a brewery and feed it to their sheep but it doesn’t seem to have any ill effects. The sheep are mostly pasture and hay fed and the grain is a limited thing. We’ve known of pig raisers who have used leftover food. But haven’t heard before of people using candy. It would seem likely that it would cause the same dental damage as people incur from sugar as well as causing increased flatulence and digestive problems. Just feeding animals prepared feed can cause young animals to have scours which is then treated with antibiotics (often prophylactically) and then you’re really often and running in the wrong direction.

  • Buy the Book