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Chocolate milk comes from brown cows, right?

Michael  W. Smith, MD - Blogs
By Michael W. Smith, MDBoard-certified internistJune 16, 2017
From the WebMD Archives

That’s what 7% of Americans think – you milk a brown cow and chocolate milk comes out. Wonder where vanilla milk comes from?

The finding, from a national survey commissioned by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, went viral after the Washington Post wrote about it this week.

Center spokesperson Lisa McComb said the online survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence polled 1,000 American adults between May 5 and May 9. Responses came from all 50 states with a little higher response in the South. The full results are not posted online.

OK, fess up city folks (and yes, I work in a large city). Many of us really don’t know much (or anything) about our agriculture system and where our food comes from. Let’s just call it a “lack of understanding,” and it doesn’t stop with chocolate milk. A study in the Journal of Agricultural Education showed nearly 80% of elementary school students didn’t know a pickle came from a cucumber. Only 28% knew cheese comes from cow’s milk.

I’ll admit, I often like to fool myself into thinking food just comes from the store, wrapped nicely in plastic wrap. Then I don’t have to really think too much about where it REALLY comes from (that’s my issue).

By the way, chocolate milk, in case you were wondering, comes from milk, cocoa, and sugar. Or you can squeeze that liquid chocolate out of a bottle into a glass of (white) milk and voila! And no, vanilla milk doesn’t come from white cows.

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About the Author
Michael W. Smith, MD

Michael Smith, MD, CPT, is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and WebMD’s Chief Medical Editor. He is also an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer with a passion for helping people live a healthy, active lifestyle. He appears regularly as an expert on national and local broadcast media.

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