I found a recent post in 9gag that states:

Did you know?
7% of American adults (17.3 million people) believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

There's no source to their claim. Is there any truth to their statement?

cow theory

  • 21
    Of course, who is to say that chocolate milk doesn't come from brown cows?
    – NPSF3000
    Jun 18, 2017 at 6:31
  • 13
    Ideally, the answer should include the exact wording of the survey question. Technically speaking, some chocolate milk may come from brown cows ... but have cocoa or some such additive added to it.
    – Golden Cuy
    Jun 18, 2017 at 7:02
  • 9
    If I saw such a multiple choice question, I might have trouble to resist selecting the "brown cow".
    – Peter
    Jun 18, 2017 at 15:00
  • 16
    Looks more like, "7% of online quiz takers have a sense of humor". I'd totally click the "brown cow" bubble.
    – Nat
    Jun 18, 2017 at 17:06
  • 3
    When I was in Switzerland a few weeks ago, pretty much all the dairy cows I saw (and they are everywhere) where a light brown color. So guessing that chocolate milk comes from brown cows doesn't seem unreasonable. Jun 19, 2017 at 22:58

1 Answer 1


According to CNN, the number is from an online survey by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The website of the center does not contain the survey question or any other information about this issue, and a website related to the center only contains a brief news article, which points to a Today news article (the undeniablydairy.org website named in the graphic only contains a link to the same Today article). The Today article expands the claim, stating that in addition to 7% of people believing that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, 48% of people were unsure of where it comes from.

The Washington Post puts this number in a larger context of American illiteracy of agriculture.

  • 13
    So if I understand, the survey is almost certainly not statistically valid.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 18, 2017 at 9:26
  • 8
    And how many people were joking? Jun 18, 2017 at 12:05
  • 6
    "The Washington Post puts this number in a larger context of American illiteracy of agriculture." Demonstrating that at least one WP journalist has an 'illiteracy' of polling and correct interpretation.
    – NPSF3000
    Jun 19, 2017 at 8:31
  • 7
    7% essentially covers IQs of 78 and lower. Jun 19, 2017 at 11:37
  • 5
    Let us note that chocolate milk most likely DOES come from brown cows. But not (most likely) exclusively from brown cows. Jun 22, 2017 at 18:14

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