There are plenty of ways to make chocolate milk. Chocolate syrup, Nestle powder or ovaltine mix are all fine options; as is soaking milk in a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. But to a significant portion of Americans, making chocolate milk begins with the color of the cow.
According to the Washington Post, which cites figures from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, 7 percent of people who completed an online survey said they believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.
If applied to the population of the entire country, (going by 2010 Census numbers, which lists the population at 308.7 million), 21 million people think that chocolate milk comes straight from the udders of brown cows.
The figures come as part of the Post’s analysis that many Americans are agriculturally illiterate.
“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,” FoodCorps co-founder Cecily Upton told the Post.
FoodCorps is just one of many organizations that offer hands-on lessons and school meals to kids in high-area needs in order to teach food literacy and promote healthy eating.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.