Celiac.com 01/10/2001 - According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the UK, British health experts are exploring ways to eliminate a bacterium that has been linked to Crohns disease from the food chain. As reported by Reuters Health, scientists have warned of a widespread bacterium called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis that is the likely cause of the bowel disorder. This bacterium can survive the milks normal, or even prolonged pasteurization process.

Crohns disease, like ulcerative colitis, is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease with a number of symptoms, including severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and loss of weight. The scientists do not believe, however, that ulcerative colitis is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.

According to the FSA test results on UK samples, the bacterium is present in 1.9% of raw milk samples and 2.1% of pasteurized milk samples. According to the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, there is no direct scientific proof of a link between the bacterium and Crohns disease, but they nevertheless believe that there is evidence of a link.

The committee has not given any advice on the consumption of milk, but believe that people need to reduce their exposure to the bacterium, and they intent to convene a conference to review ideas to create controls at all stages of the food chain to prevent the bacterium from contaminating the milk. Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is known to cause Johnes Disease in cud-chewing animals, so they will first look at ways to control this disease in animals, which will hopefully lead to a way to prevent it from entering the human food chain

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