It might seem like a "Saturday Night Live" bit, but it's true nonetheless. An online survey from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy found that seven percent of American adults think brown cows make chocolate milk.
As The Washington Post reports, it's a nationally representative survey -- meaning the results are about equal to 16.4 million people (a population the size of the state of Pennsylvania). Edelman Intelligence conducted the survey for the center, according to Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for Dairy Management Inc., the center's parent organization.
For those who don't know, chocolate milk is made up of milk, cocoa and sugar.
The results do speak to a larger issue in America today: Most people don't know much about the food ecosystem at all, according to experts. And considering how many Americans drink something with dairy -- 43 percent of Americans like to begin the day with such a beverage, according to the center's survey, not to mention 9 in 10 consume dairy every week -- the knowledge gap speaks for itself.
"At the end of the day, it's an exposure issue," Cecily Upton, co-founder of the nonprofit FoodCorps, told The Washington Post. "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."
But how can people get more educated about the food system?
The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization has a kindergarten-level dairy lesson on its website as a part of this month's National Dairy Month, reports The Washington Post. Groups like these are partnering with educators from all over the U.S. to get lessons like these into schools, from nutrition to agricultural economics.
For adults? Look no further than to books like Michael Pollan's " The Omnivore's Dilemma" that discuss the country's problem with food, articles that track the progress of GMO labeling rules which became law last July and representative organizations of varying interests to get as clear a picture as possible of the food industry.
"We still get kids who are surprised that a french fry comes from a potato, or that a pickle is a cucumber," Upton continued. "... Knowledge is power. Without it, we can't make informed decisions."