Mycobacterium in your milk (even if pasturized 67% of the time!)

The subject of today’s Notmilk letter is a study
that’s been published in the July, 2009 issue of
the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Scientists in Uttar Pradesh, India, have confirmed the
presence of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis
(MAP) in pasteurized and unpasteurized milk products.

In the United States, each one of the 9 million cows
being milked requires an average of $200 per year
in antibiotic treatment for MAP. It’s virtually impossible
to eradicate.

MAP causes Johne’s Disease in cows and irritable
bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s
disease in dairy-consuming humans.

Researchers chose the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
for their study because its population exceeds 150
million people. They examined 43 samples of milk
(16 unpasteurized, 27 pasteurized).


Scientists were able to culture MAP from samples
purchased from retail outlets. Of the raw milk
samples, 44% tested positive for living MAP bacteria.
Of the pasteurized milk samples, 67% tested positive.

Remarkably, 100% of the samples tested positive for

Author’s conclusion:

“This is the first report from a developing country of MAP
cultured from both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk
and milk products. Thus we corroborate the presence
of viable MAP in the food chain reported from industrialized
countries. With the increasing concern that MAP may be
zoonotic, these findings have major implications for
healthcare in India.”


Zoonotic: Any infectious disease which can be passed
from wild or domesticated farm animals to humans.

For more information on MAP and human diseases, see:

Are you still consuming body fluids from diseased animals?

Robert Cohen

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