If you've ever joked that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, you might want to stop. Apparently, some people out there have taken the jest a little too seriously.
According to The Washington Post, about seven percent of Americans think we can thank our brown cows for chocolate milk. To be perfectly clear, chocolate milk is just regular milk with cocoa in it. We assume you knew that, but because seven percent of the country—roughly 16.4 million people—wasn't aware of this fact, we want to clear up any confusion right from the get-go.
The results come from an online survey comes from the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. About 1,000 people were polled and the results are at best an afternoon laugh and at worst a sign of just how ignorant some people are of current agricultural methods. We're not sure if this makes matters worse, but a whopping 48 percent of the respondents weren't even sure where chocolate milk actually came from.
Let's be clear, we're not making fun of anyone who didn't know that chocolate milk was just regular milk that has been flavored. As the Washington Post states, issues like these arise simply because most Americans are "basically agriculturally illiterate."
“At the end of the day, it’s an exposure issue,” said Cecily Upton, co-founder of FoodCorps, a nonprofit that aims to bring agricultural and nutrition education into elementary schools. “Right now, we’re conditioned to think that if you need food, you go to the store. Nothing in our educational framework teaches kids where food comes from before that point.”
And it might not just be kids who can't identify the origin of their food. A study from the '90s confirms this trend of agricultural illiteracy, showing almost 1 in 5 adults didn't know that hamburgers were made from beef. Yikes!
For parents and grandparents who believe that even one child who believes chocolate milk comes from brown cows is just one child too many, take this as an opportunity to go outside and visit a farm. Show your little ones where their food comes from and raise agricultural literacy. Afterward, you can all go home and enjoy a nice glass of milk.
h/t Huffington Post