Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) is the cause of Johne's disease, a chronic infection of the gut, in ruminant animals that provide milk and/or meat for human consumption. Map also may be involved in Crohn's disease and type 1 diabetes in humans. Although the role of Map in human diseases has not been established, minimizing the exposure of humans to the organism is considered desirable as a precautionary measure. Infected animals can shed Map in feces and milk, and the organism can become disseminated in tissues remote from the gut and its associated lymph nodes. The presence of at least some Map in raw milk and meat and in natural waters is likely, but the numbers of Map in those foods and waters should be reduced through cooking or purification. The available information relating to Map in milk and dairy products, meats, and drinking water is reviewed here for assessment of the risks of exposure to Map from consumption of such foods and water.
†This is contribution 1160 from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre.