Governments



Government policy relating to
MAP and Crohn's disease.

Overview


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 in Australia.)

  • 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 Netherlands.)
     
  • 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 http://www.projectcensored.org.)

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 supplies.

In an editorial published by Cleveland Free Times entitled Media and 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.) 


Source: http://www.crohns.org/governments/index.htm   Contact PARA: http://www.crohns.org/contact.htm
Paratuberculosis Awareness & Research Association, 1999-2003.