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The Baa-con buttie: In fast-food UK, one child in four thinks bacon comes from a sheep


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The Baa-con buttie: In fast-food UK, one child in four thinks bacon comes from a sheep



By Sean Poulter

Last updated at 7:46 AM on 21st January 2010




If you ask a child what bacon is, don't be surprised if they look a little sheepish.

In a startling exposure of the dietary ignorance of our younger generation, a study reveals that one in four think the contents of their bacon sandwich come from a sheep.

Britain's roots as a farming nation with fields of crops and cattle appears to be the stuff of fairytales for many youngsters.


article-0-07F14958000005DC-63_468x312.jpg Tasty: But children are ignorant about their food


The results indicate that young people raised on a diet of processed food and ready meals are unable to connect the food they eat with its source.

Some 26 per cent of under-16s thought bacon came from sheep, while 29 per cent believed oats grow on trees. The ignorance extends into adulthood. The survey found 17 per cent of both children and adults under 30 wrongly believed that eggs were a core ingredient of bread.


article-0-000D91FE00000258-360_237x301.jpg The results are reminiscent of TV man Richard Dimbleby's 1957 gag when he claimed spaghetti grew on trees


The results of the study are reminiscent of the broadcaster Richard Dimbleby's famous television April Fool in 1957, when he made a programme claiming spaghetti - then a relatively new food to Britain - grew on trees.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Home Grown Cereals Authority in partnership with the National Farmers' Union.

Eight hundred children and adults were asked questions about where breakfast foods such as oats, milk and bacon come from.

They were also asked where the main ingredients needed to make popular breakfast dishes, such as porridge, came from.

The ignorance of food sources may stem from the limited number of children who visit farms.

Previous studies have shown that very few children have ever visited a working farm.

Research by the Potato Council found that just one in four mothers regularly teach their children to cook, leaving a whole generation at risk of entering adulthood without one of life's most important skills.






President of the NFU, Peter Kendall, said: 'Everyone should know where primary foods like cereals are grown and the role they play as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

'More than half the food consumed in the UK is produced on British farms, yet the public, and especially young people, are unable to make this connection.'

The 'smart fat' myth


Feeding babies with 'smart fat' milks will not make them brainier, researchers say.

They found no difference in the IQ levels of children at the age of four whether they were given normal formula milk as babies or formula feeds with added omega-3 fatty acids.

Children who were breastfed had higher IQ scores, but the study put this down to their mothers being better educated and to them providing infants with more environmental stimulation.

The Southampton University research was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Food Standards Agency.

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