Unless you fancy a MRSA mustache, you might want to put down the milk jug. A research team at Cambridge University has discovered a new Staphylococcus aureus strain in cow's milk that is highly resistant to antibiotics.

How did MRSA wind up in cow's milk? Cows used for dairy often suffer from mastitis, a painful bacterial udder infection caused by unsanitary living conditions and by manipulating cows to produce unnaturally high quantities of milk. Farmers combat mastitis with antibiotics, and Cambridge scientist Dr. Mark Holmes said it is a "credible hypothesis" that overuse of antibiotics in cows has led to the emergence of the new MRSA strain. 

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The birth of a new superbug on a dairy farm really shouldn't come as any surprise, since the widespread use of antibiotics as "growth promoters" on factory chicken, turkey, and pig farms has long been blamed for the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  

Fortunately, rice, soy, oat, and nut milks provide calcium, vitamins, and a smooth, silky texture, and they won't leave your cookies swimming in a MRSA bath.

Written by Michelle Sherrow


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