Government policy relating to
MAP and Crohn's disease.
Since the formation of PARA in 1997, and the publication of web sites detailing the possible connection between Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
(MAP) infection and Crohn's disease, much has happened in the government arena in several countries. The purpose of this section of the
PARA web site is to provide news and further information on the actions and policies of various governments.
Among the more important points are:
U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) sets research agenda.
In 1999 an
institute of the NIH, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Disease, has published a research agenda which targets research into the
relationship between infection and Crohn's disease with particular reference to
infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis.
The NIAID's historic "Research Recommendations" document has been reproduced in its entirety on this web site. Please read it on the page entitled
NIAID Research Agenda.
(More detail from the page entitled U.S. National Institutes of Health.)
Food Safety Authority in Ireland (FSAI) in 1998 took dramatic measures to
remove MAP from the food chain by adopting measures: (1) To ensure that
animals diagnosed with Johne's disease must be removed from the food chain; and
(2) From the time an animal is diagnosed with JD until it is culled, milk will
not be used for humans or calves.
United Kingdom initiates retail testing. The U.K. Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food provided funding for an extensive survey
to determine the scale of the food safety problem presented by
Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis. The preliminary
findings warranted a larger study, which was published in May 2002.
Results from that study confirmed that MAP survives pasteurization standards
used in the UK, the very same pasteurization standards used in the U.S.
(More detail from the page entitled MAP
in the United Kingdom.)
Australia initiates Johne's Disease control programs.
Australian Federal and State Governments, in cooperation with animal industries
has instituted national programs for the control of Johne's Disease. (More
detail from the page entitled MAP
Netherlands in 1998 pledges to eradicate Johne's Disease from herds of food
animals. The government of the Netherlands, in order to minimize human
exposure to Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis and to
reduce the enormous economic losses associated with Johne's Disease, has pledged
to eradicate Johne's Disease from herds of food animals. (More detail from the
page entitled MAP in the
- The European Commission/European Directorate General of Health and
Consumer Protection (DG24) in early 2000 published a 76-page report
requesting an "urgent research program" to deal with the connection between MAP and Crohn's
disease, and to deal with the transmission of MAP to the human population
through the food chain. Stating that "There are sufficient grounds for
concern to warrant increased and urgent research activity to resolve the issue,"
the Commission recommends a wide rage of research that should be conducted as a
matter of urgency.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in May of 2000 issued its Potential Infectious
Causes of Crohn's Disease Working Document. Recognizing the
potential public health impact of an infectious cause of Crohn's disease, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated Infectious Causes of
Chronic Diseases as a target area within its prevention plan: "Preventing
Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Strategy for the 21st Century."
(More detail from the page entitled "Centers for Disease Control.")
- The UK Government in December of 2001 adopted a comprehensive strategy to
prevent human exposure to MAP. The Advisory Committee on the
Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF), which advises the UK Government Food
Standards Agency, approved a comprehensive program of measures aimed at
eliminating MAP from retail milk, as purchased by consumers. As the
ACMSF says in its strategy document, "The Agency has put to one side the
question of whether or not there is a link between MAP and Crohn's
disease. The Agency believes that precautionary action to reduce human
exposure to MAP should start now and should not be dependent on waiting
for the link to be proven." (More detail from the page
entitled MAP in the United Kingdom.)
PARA commends the Governments of the world that are beginning to
address the MAP problem. The UK is leading the way on the Food Safety
Issue, while other countries, including the U.S. are doing virtually nothing to
exert Precautionary Principle on this issue.
Politics, Media Censorship and MAP
In April of 2000, Project Censored recognized the MAP/Crohn's
story as one of the most censored stories in U.S. media for the year 1999.
Project Censored is often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of
alternative journalism. It's a 24-year-old program at California's Sonoma
State University that identifies and researches important news stories that are under-reported,
ignored, misrepresented or censored by media corporations. (For more
information about Project Censored, visit their website at
In "Censored 2000," twenty-five of the year's top censored
stories are highlighted. Included in those stories is the work of journalist Lisa
Chamberlain, then Editor-in-Chief of the Cleveland Free Times. Ms.
Chamberlain's article, entitled The Crohn's Connection,
at that time was the first and only article published on a nationwide basis in the U.S. which
attempted to draw the public's attention to the fact that MAP may be
transmitted to humans through contaminated milk/dairy products, beef and water
In an editorial published by Cleveland Free Times entitled
Censorship, Ms. Chamberlain states: "The dairy lobby is notoriously
powerful inside the Washington D.C. beltway. And a tax on dairy farmers helps
the dairy industry spread its advertising dollars around generously (most
notably the 'got milk?' ad campaign), to the point where the wholesomeness of
milk goes virtually unquestioned in the media. How else can it be explained that
the possible link between a bacterium in milk and Crohn's disease is virtually
unknown in the United States, despite front-page coverage in England and other
places around the world?"
(Please see PARA's Paper
Trail for detailed and indepth information about how the U.S.
Government and cattle industry have failed the public on this issue.)