The colored honey could not be sold because it did not meet France’s standards of honey production: It was not obtained from the nectar of plants and it deviates from the standard coloring of honey.
That’s bad news for a region that produces a thousand tons of honey a year and has already had to cope with a high bee mortality rate and low honey production after a harsh winter. An investigation by beekeepers in the town of Ribeauville (map) uncovered the cause of the problem: Instead of collecting nectar from flowers, local bees were feeding on remnants of colored M&M candy shells, which were being processed by a biogas plant roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) away.
The waste-processing plant discovered the problem at the same time the beekeepers did and quickly cleaned any outdoor or uncovered containers that M&M waste was stored in. The candy remains will now be stored in a covered hall.