Updated May 2, 2019. A study from the University of Florida has shown a link between rheumatoid arthritis and bacteria found in milk and beef. Mycobacterium avium subspecies, paratuberculosis (MAP) is carried by around 50 percent of cows in the United States. Humans can be infected by the bacteria when they consume products from these cows, i.e., beef or milk, as well as any produce fertilized using an infected cow's manure. Researchers believe if you are already genetically at risk from rheumatoid arthritis, the consumption of infected products could trigger the onset of the long-term condition. The study was conducted using 100 participants, 78 percent of those who took part with rheumatoid arthritis were found to have the same genetic mutation as sufferers from Crohn\u2019s disease. Crohn's disease is a condition known to be, in many cases, caused by consuming infected products from cows. The Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of Florida, Saleh Naser, said in a statement, "we believe that individuals born with this genetic mutation and who are later exposed to MAP through consuming contaminated milk or meat from infected cattle are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis." Naser added, "understanding the role of MAP in rheumatoid arthritis means the disease could be treated more effectively." Rheumatologist Shazia Beg, who was also involved in the conduction of the study, said, "we don\u2019t know the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, so we\u2019re excited that we have found this association." Animal Products and Disease The University of Florida study isn't alone in linking animal product consumption and increased risk of disease. Some research has suggested that dairy products could increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, as well as heart disease and some forms of cancer. Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk advises her patients to ditch animal products altogether. She told LIVEKINDLY,\u00a0"the body's cellular response to consuming animal protein and animal fat is everything feeds and fuels illness while chocking health to death." Fears around dairy consumption, in particular, are growing the vegan milk market. Nearly half of American consumers now regularly purchase nondairy products such as coconut, oat, and almond milk.