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CountryDateRelease Date


October 6, 2000


Ireland bans milk, meat from cows infected with suspected Crohn's bug

11 August 1998 Press Release From Food Safety Authority of Ireland


In their statement, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) "welcomed the announcement of 10 August 1998 by the UK Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) of a planned survey to investigate the microbiological quality of milk in the UK."

The MAFF announcement referred to the possible presence of the organism Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) in pasteurised milk and any possible links with Crohn's disease in humans. MAP is the known cause of Johne's Disease in cattle.

Johne's Disease is relatively rare in herds in Ireland, especially compared to the much greater prevalence in the UK. Nevertheless FSAI regulators "...require that animals diagnosed with Johne's disease are removed from the food chain." In addition to protecting human health by preventing consumption of MAP-contaminated meat from culled cows, the FSAI recommended the following action to keep contaminated milk out of the human food chain:

  1. Milk from cows diagnosed with Johne's Disease should not be used for anything, period. Not for humans, not even for calves. It should be dumped.

  2. All milk from the remaining cows on that farm should be pasteurized. Raw milk from that farm should never be used for anything, not even for those cheeses traditionally made with raw milk. (The rationale is that if even one cow is found to have Johne's disease, there are most likely a number of other cows in the herd who have the disease but don't show it, and can't be reliably tested for it.)

Karen Meyer of Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc. (PARA) commented: "The government of Ireland is to be commended for leadership in exercising the precautionary principle. Instead of trying to sweep the problem under the rug, they acted swiftly to give human health priority over special interests"


Full text of press release from FSAI.

January 2000 FSAI report: Mycobacterium paratuberculosis -- Does it contribute to Crohn's disease?

A report prepared by the Microbiology Sub-committee of the FSAI

This report covers the basics of Crohn's disease, the possible link with MAP, and, most importantly, discusses the potential hazard of MAP being transmitted to humans through milk.

The report points out that Johne's Disease is a "scheduled and notifiable disease under Irish veterinary legislation. Diseased animals are removed."

In discussing pasteurization of milk, the report notes the conflicting goals: keep pasteurization temperatures low enough so as not to impart too great a change in taste, yet have a high enough temperature to be assured that all MAP is completely killed. "It appears that we cannot have both," commented Steve Merkel of PARA. " If the raw milk supply cannot be certified to be free of MAP, then I see no choice but to increase pasteurization time or temperature to assure 100 percent killing of the organism -- even if it means that milk doesn't taste the same as it did. Human health must take precedence over taste."

Of interest to Crohn's patients is the report's comment that "It is conceivable that if M. Paratuberculosis contributes to a chronic inflammatory process in the human gastrointestinal tract, that it may do so even if rendered non-viable, since it would remainimmunogenic even if non-viable." In plain language: Even milk with dead MAP bugs could set off a flareup of Crohn's symptoms.


FSAI Report: Mycobacterium paratuberculosis -- does it contribute to Crohn's disease?

This is a PDF file and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

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