20% of Americans don’t know hamburger is beef. Ask them about chocolate milk!

❝ Seven percent of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, according to a nationally representative online survey…

If you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed, milk-drinking people. The equivalent of the population of Pennsylvania…does not know that chocolate milk is milk, cocoa and sugar.

❝ But while the survey has attracted snorts and jeers from some corners…the most surprising thing about this figure may actually be that it isn’t higher.

❝ 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.

Experts in ag education aren’t convinced that much has changed in the intervening decades.

❝ …Studies have shown that people who live in agricultural communities tend to know a bit more about where their food comes from, as do people with higher education levels and household incomes.

But in some populations, confusion about basic food facts can skew pretty high. When one team of researchers interviewed fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at an urban California school, they found that more than half of them didn’t know pickles were cucumbers, or that onions and lettuce were plants. Four in 10 didn’t know that hamburgers came from cows. And 3 in 10 didn’t know that cheese is made from milk…

❝ Today, many Americans only experience food as an industrial product that doesn’t look much like the original animal or plant: The USDA says orange juice is the most popular “fruit” in America, and processed potatoes — in the form of french fries and chips — rank among the top vegetables.

“Indifference about the origins and production of foods became a norm of urban culture, laying the groundwork for a modern food sensibility that would spread all across America in the decades that followed,” Vileisis wrote, of the 20th century. “Within a relatively brief period, the average distance from farm to kitchen had grown from a short walk down the garden path to a convoluted, 1,500-mile energy-guzzling journey by rail and truck.”

RTFA. Makes a few good points about understanding agriculture. Overall, it reinforces my perception of American education. We make ourselves look good – compared to the least educated 3rd World countries – on the basis of testing for what our children are taught. Both the testing and subject matter are lacking as far as I’m concerned. The tidy little curriculum that satisfies a Middle American education has little or nothing to do with a global economy, the needs and future of all of the humanity on this planet, citizens of Earth.

2 thoughts on “20% of Americans don’t know hamburger is beef. Ask them about chocolate milk!

  1. Drag rider says:

    Beef trade with China has been restored after being halted since late 2003 when mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) was discovered in the U.S. During the past 13.5 years, China has become a major consumer of beef going from $275 million in beef imports 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. https://www.agweb.com/article/realities-of-us-beefs-access-to-china-naa-sara-brown/ (under new import rules) “Beef exported to China must meet several qualifications, such as being derived from cattle born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.; traceable to the farm of birth; and derived from cattle less than 30 months of age. China also bans the use of growth promotants, feed additives and chemical compounds, and will conduct residue testing at port of entry. Product will need to be raised to meet these specifications, starting at the cow-calf level to move through the system, says Katelyn McCullock, economist, American Farm Bureau Federation. “Only a small proportion of commercial beef production would fit the current parameters surrounding this protocol. The premium attached to the Chinese market must warrant those changes.”

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