Today in "What the hell is going on here," we have the following astonishing statistic, via the Washington Post: approximately 16.4 million Americans believe chocolate milk is produced by brown cows.
The Post cites an online survey by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy found at least 7 percent of the American populace never stopped believing that old dad joke everyone heard at age 6 when asking, as kids do, just where that good-tasting brown stuff came from.
If the statistic is accurate at all, reports the Post, there's actually a pretty good reason—no one knows anything about farming:
For decades, observers in agriculture, nutrition and education have griped that many Americans are basically agriculturally illiterate. They don’t know where food is grown, how it gets to stores — or even, in the case of chocolate milk, what’s in it.
One Department of Agriculture study, commissioned in the early ’90s, found that nearly 1 in 5 adults did not know that hamburgers are made from beef. Many more lacked familiarity with basic farming facts, like how big U.S. farms typically are and what food animals eat.
According to Cecily Upton, an expert contacted by the paper, this kind of bizarre misinformation is due to "an exposure issue."
"Right now, we’re conditioned to think that if you need food, you go to the store," Upton told the Post, "Nothing in our educational framework teaches kids where food comes from before that point."
Really, thinking chocolate milk comes out of some sort of cocoa-infused miracle bovine makes as much sense as assuming fried eggs were produced by setting a chicken on fire or that cotton candy comes from exploding clowns.
Still, it's not a bad idea to try turning this tide today by making sure your kids know the truth.
While you're at it remind them the salt on salted caramel treats comes from dad's tears, shed as he spends money on overpriced, trendy foods.
h/t Washington Post