UK: Agency plans action on milk bug
The Food Standards Agency is to hold a conference of science and industry experts to look at ways to stop a bacterium in milk, which could be linked to Crohn's Disease, from entering the human food chain.Recent research commissioned by the Agency has shown that Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP) can survive pasteurisation. And some scientists believe there is a possible, but so far unproven, link between MAP in the food chain and Crohn's Disease in humans.Having examined the evidence, independent scientific experts do not recommend that there should be any change in the Government's advice on milk consumption.But they are concerned that there might be a link between MAP and Crohn's Disease. Therefore, they have recommended that the Agency set up a group to look at ways to prevent the bacterium from entering the food chain, taking into account consumer concerns such as the risk of exposure in children.Acting on the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, Sir John Krebs, said:"We have received advice from the ACMSF. On the basis that the risk to human health has not been proven, the Committee did not recommend any change in the current advice regarding the consumption of milk"But, we note their concern that ways of reducing exposure to MAP should be actively explored. We, therefore, intend to convene a conference to review possible controls at all stages of the food chain."The Food Standards Agency was set up to represent consumers and it is our job to ensure that while research into any possible link continues, we should do all we can to reduce human exposure to the bacterium."
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