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CountryDateRelease Date


April 8, 2001


Canadian paper publishes three Crohn's/milk stories

Link between Crohn's and milk examined by Marie France Coutu, special collaboration

MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- In a series of three articles for La Presse, Marie France Coutu examines the relationship between Johne's Disease in cattle -- an intestinal disease caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), questions about the efficacy of pasteurization in keeping the organism out of the human food chain, and the relationship between MAP and Crohn's disease in humans.

Following are summaries of the three articles. NOTE: these articles are published in the French language only. They may be translated, albeit imperfectly, using one of the Internet free language translation websites.


Vivre avec la maladie de Crohn (Living with Crohn's disease)

Canada has cause to be concerned

In 1994 a study completed in Manitoba revealed close to 200 cases of Crohn's disease per 100,000 inhabitants. This prevalence rate is higher than any rate previously known anywhere in the world.

Although Crohn's is not a reportable disease, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada currently publishes a registry of patients with Crohn's disease with the collaboration of researchers in all the provinces including Quebec. The Foundation's goal is to present a more accurate picture of the number of individuals that are suffering from the disease.

Researchers note similarities between Crohn's and cattle disease

In 1984, researcher Rod Chiodini detected MAP in the intestinal tissue of Crohn's patients. Prof. John Hermon-Taylor's contribution was the use of DNA testing to positively identify MAP more easily in tissue -- and in milk. Both researchers concluded that MAP, known to cause Johne's Disease in cattle, was likely a factor in human Crohn's disease.


Lait pasteurisé et maladie de Crohn, un lien qui ne soulève guére d'inquiétude au Quèbec (Pasteurized milk and Crohn's disease, a link that causes more than a little concern for Quebec)

The dairy industry is concerned about a tarnished reputation, and spokespersons continue to reassure the public that milk is safe -- but at the same time industry officials are worried.

Government officials are keeping a close eye on the study of MAP in retail milk being conducted in the UK, the results of which will be available in the spring of '01. They expect that similar tests in Canada would yield similar results.


Jamais dans mon lait? (Never in my milk?)

Preliminary results of two studies in Ontario suggest that MAP survives pasteurization, and could cause Crohn's disease in humans. The possibility that pasteurized milk contains viable MAP becomes a growing preoccupation of public health responsible authorities, and a potential nightmare for the marketing of milk and milk products.

Canadian public health officials and the dairy industry were so concerned about the potential repercussions of a publicity leak implicating pasteurized milk as a possible vector transmitting a human disease that a 1994 document discussing such risks was classified as "Protected, not for distribution."

The concern was for the impact that such a finding could have on the Canadian dairy industry -- the third largest agricultural sector in Canada and a 4 billion dollar a year business -- 81 percent of which is located in Ontario and Quebec.


Vivre avec la maladie de Crohn (Living with Crohn's disease)New window link indicator

Lait pasteurisé et maladie de Crohn, un lien qui ne soulève guére d'inquiétude au Quèbec (Pasteurized milk and Crohn's disease, a link that causes little concern in Quebec)New window link indicator

Jamais dans mon lait? (Never in my milk?)New window link indicator

For further information contact

ContactKaren Meyer and Cheryl Miller
Co-Executive Directors, Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc.
E-mailKaren --or-- Cheryl

Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc.

is a non-profit organization of Crohn's disease patients, their families and friends who are dedicated to the following goals:
  1. To raise awareness of the zoonotic (disease-causing) potential of the bacterium, MAP, in the national community of sufferers of Crohn's disease, in medical, veterinary and food science research communities, in governmental agencies and in the public in general
  2. To urge governmental agencies to directly address control and eventual eradication of MAP from the human environment, particularly from foods of animal origin
  3. To urge governmental and medical research agencies to make funding available for research which will determine the role played by MAP in causing Crohn's disease

Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc.
Box 16219
Temple Terrace, FL 33687-6219

Source:   Contact PARA:
Paratuberculosis Awareness & Research Association