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British children: ‘cows lay eggs’

By Anna Tyzack

British children: ‘cows lay eggs’

As the government battles to provide healthier school meals, children are not being properly educated about where their food comes from, says Dairy Farmers of Britain

Cows lay eggs and bacon is from sheep, according to thousands of British children. A survey of 8-year-olds showed that whilst children know how to use the internet and mobile phones, they know very little about where their food comes from. Dairy Farmers of Britain conducted the survey amid fears that food education is at an all-time low – and changing school dinners is only half the battle.

As part of an initiative to understand how British children connect with farming and the countryside, Dairy Farmers of Britain asked over 1,000 eight to 15-year-olds from which animals they thought milk, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, bacon, pork chops and beef burgers came from. The results showed that more than one in 10 eight-year-olds do not know where pork chops came from, whilst 18% of children have no idea how yoghurt is made.

‘The gap in children’s knowledge revealed by this research shows that a significant proportion of children, particularly those living in the city, are unaware of the process involved in making their food at the basic level of the animals they come from,’ said Phil Gibson, Head of Corporate Affairs for Dairy Farmers of Britain. ‘With the government and health organisations encouraging healthy eating in schools, it is important that children are taught about the way food is produced as well as what it contains.’

Children who live in the countryside performed best in the survey whilst many urban dwelling youngsters were unable to identify that beef burgers comes from cows (8% compared to 3%) and eggs come from chickens.

The Dairy Farmers of Britain’s Greener Grass campaign hopes to encourage teachers to educate children about the countryside and farming. ‘We believe that educating children about the benefits of good honest locally produced food at a young age will give them a greater appreciation and awareness of healthy food later in life,’ Mr Gibson added.

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