Milk link to Crohn's disease

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A research charity yesterday advised thousands of people with a chronic gut disorder not to drink pasteurised milk, following claims of a link between the disease and a "superbug" found in some shop-bought pints.

Scientists say the bacterium, which causes an incurable bowel disease in cattle, may escape destruction by pasteurisation and could be responsible for more than 50,000 cases of Crohn's disease. John Hermon-Taylor, professor of surgery at St George's hospital, London, has found the bacterium, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, is carried by two thirds of sufferers. His team also found the microbe in 6 per cent of samples of retail pasteurised milk.

The Department of Health last night refused to back the charity's advice. A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union said that all steps are being taken to make milk safe.