26 June 2000
Milk not to blame for Crohn’s?

CROHNS Disease, which has in the past been linked to cows milk, could in fact be caused by drinking water, it has been suggested.

John Hermon-Taylor of St Georges medical school in London is an expert in Crohns Disease – an inflammatory bowel disorder – and has carried out research into its origins.

He believes mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), found in cattle, may be the cause of the disease.

Professor Hermon-Taylor believes it could be passed on to humans through drinking milk as the bug can survive pasteurisation.

However, In a House of Lords debate, Lord Burlison, who spoke for the government, offered an alternative hypothesis.

He pointed out that MAP belongs to a group of organisms which are found in water supplies.

Now inspectors are investigating whether there is a link between drinking water and Crohns Disease.

According to the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme, Crohns Disease affects 35,000 people in Britain.