Milk is safe despite MRSA, consumers told

Consumers have been assured it is safe to drink milk from UK dairy farms after a new strain of MRSA was found in herds across England.

According to a study published in medical journal The Lancet on Friday (3 June), a new strain of the superbug was discovered in 15 cases following tests on milk from dairy farms across the country.

Scientists said the new strain, which is genetically very different from other varieties of the bug, has been identified in people across Europe and could possibly be passed from cattle to humans.

But while the possible transfer of MRSA between cows and people was “worrying”, scientists said consumers should not be concerned.

“Pasteurisation of milk will prevent any risk of infection via the food chain,” said Laura Garcia-Alvarez, one of the report’s authors.

Dairy UK said more than 99% of milk in the UK was pasteurised, meaning the MRSA would be destroyed.

“In the extremely rare cases where infection has occurred, this has been through physical contact, either cattle to cattle or cattle to people and through cuts or open wounds and not through the consumption of milk,” a spokesman said.

“The scrupulous hygiene practiced by Britain’s dairy farmers minimises risk of transmission.”

The spokesman said the industry was taking the matter seriously and the organisation had met the report’s authors to discuss the results and further areas for research.

Read more about the research into MRSA in dairy cows

Find out the answers to some common questions about MRSA here

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