Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation of the bowel, may be caused by drinking milk, a leading surgeon believes.
He has linked the disease to a bacterium called M paratuberculosis which is found in cows’ milk. The organism, related to the bacteria that cause human and bovine tuberculosis, apparently survives the pasteurization process.
Mr John Hermon-Taylor, from St George’s Hospital in south London, has found minute traces of the organism in at least two thirds of tissues removed during surgery. He has also found the bacterium “intermittently. . . in supplies of whole pasteurized cows’ milk”, he says.
He believes the organism and, so, Crohn’s disease could be eradicated by improved animal husbandry and pasteurization techniques that can destroy it.
His claims have been rejected by the National Dairy Council, which says that low levels of M. paratuberculosis do not survive pasteurization. No other research has found the organism in the tissues of Crohn’s sufferers, the Council adds.
!AMedical Monitor, May 29, 1996.