French bees in the Alsace region of France have acquired a bad snacking habit, and it’s tainting their honey.
Better known for its white wine than its candy making, this northeastern region of France is home to 2,400 beekeepers and 35,000 colonies that produce roughly 1,000 tons of the sweet stuff per year according to the region’s chamber of commerce.
But as the autumn harvest gets underway, bees hailing from the honey-haven town of Ribeauville have been producing honey in bizarre shades of green and blue, leaving French beekeepers très mystified.
After several weeks of head-scratching, the town’s Union of Beekeepers think M&Ms are to blame, those colorful chocolate candies made by the American company Mars.
Just 2.5 miles down the road from Ribeauville, Reuters reports that there is a biogas plant processing waste from a Mars plant producing M&Ms, in a variety of colors, including blue and green.
Philippe Meinrad, a spokesman for Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, told Reuters that they “discovered the problem at the same time [the beekeepers] did… [and] quickly put in place a procedure to stop it.”
According to the French newspaper Le Monde, the company said it will clean out the containers and store the waste in airtight containers, out of reach of hungry bees. Mars did not respond to ABC News when asked for comment.
According to Le Monde, the colorful honey is not marketable and will not hit shelves this season. This year has already been disastrous for beekeepers from New Jersey to Britain and France’s honey blues are not expected to sweeten year-end profits.