MRSA and GMOs: is There a Connection?

MRSA and GMOs: is There a Connection?

by William Olkowski, PhD


This is a note presenting a hypothesis for further testing and confirmation: that MRSA and GMO’s are linked.

Staphylococcus. aureus is a commensal bacteria found in most people, but with some it gains entry to the blood stream and causes first flu-like symptoms and later full blown fresh eating disease of horrible consequences.  When antibiotics fail to eliminate it the infection it  is called MRSA.  MRSA is short for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus  Aureus (see Wikipedia for history and background).  Although MRSA was first widely connected to hospitals later it was also found in the community.  Which came first is unknown.  See my book review on MRSA on my blog (

For background information in addition to Wikepedia, check the online textbook of bacteriology at:   Each year, some 500,000 patients in American hospitals contract a staphylococcal infection (1).

I think SA  gains entry to the blood stream regularly through the skin, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, and the alimentary tract but in most people, who are healthier,  it is eliminated by their  immune system.  The standard treatment is a short coarse of antibiotics (ABs) but this does not help many people who have long term infections. Others are treated with ABs and eliminate the infection.  When MRSA was found in the US a few years back, in Europe where all people admitted to hospitals are tested the problem was not as severe..  This occurred because the insurance companies in the US did not want to pay for these simple nose swab and culturing tests.  Consequently the problem became prominent and deadly for many people, surely unnecessary.  Hurrah for the almighty buck and our for-profit health care system.

So there might be some basis for the snake oil treatments of all sorts when faced with an incurable MRSA case.  I don’t know and am not pushing any treatments one way or the other.  I am interested in how the bacteria gains entry to the blood stream.  I learned some valuable lessons when caring for my wife Helga who experienced a stroke which eventually killed her.  Stroke victims are universally susceptible to infections.  With her as my patient I learned  that there is something called Leaky Gut. I learned this by reading and by sending saliva samples for antibody analysis.  Lab results come back showing  she was carrying a wide range of anti bodies to most foods.  I did not believe the results at first, but by rotating diet components and repeated saliva samples and other diet changes we got it under better control – meaning fewer and fewer reactive antibodies where previously there was a reaction.  The number of foods she was allergic to went down slowly, but became greatly reduced.

Enter Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Now comes my latest AHA experience.  Since her death I have become very active in passing Proposition 37 here in CA.  My interest was peaked by Jeffrey Smith’s book: Genetic Roulette.  It’s a great book (see book review on blog) summarizing a huge range of studies implicating GMO altered crops in many maladies.  Now I used Bt for many years and know how it kills certain groups of insects: by disruption of the gut walls which allow a bacterial spore to sporulate, and the combination of the proteinaceous toxin and the sporulating microbe kills the bug.  The protein toxin opens the gut so the spore can gain entry to the blood system.  Used an a traditional spray on insecticide it is a superior product because it is highly selective, not killing natural enemies as most other insecticides and  showed no reactions in human feeding tests.  I treated it as virtually harmless solution.  And it was most helpful in reducing unecessary pesticides.

Now that Bt corn has been secretly introduced into the world’s diet by Monsanto et al, blessed by a dysfunctional and compromised regulatory system (gift from Reagan-Bush), we have been eating Bt toxins for many years.  That is if we were eating the altered foods.  And since we don’t know if we are eating them because they are not labeled it is likely to affect most people.

Monsanto is  the same corporation who gave us agent orange, DDT, the herbicide 2,4-D and now the universal contaminant herbicide glyphosate.  All were declared safe and if not banned contaminate all our bodies, air, water, soils and wildlife.  DDT, for example, banned in 1972 still shows up in large samples of human tissues in the US, particularly in umbilicord samples.  Such umbilicord samples mean the embryo, so sacred to our Republican friends, are subject to its carcinogenetic, teratorgenic, mutagenic and hormone disruptors at very low dosages when the new human is just a single cell or just a bunch of cells.  Its better to be borne crippled than to die in utero, right?  Any takers?

Even a few meals of Bt corn, soybeans, sugar (fr. beets), canola oil, and a few other less common foods, can transfer the Bt genes to human gut flora.  Then the gut flora produces Bt toxins on a continuous basis.  This is not the same thing as spraying a Bt insecticide, no way.


Now comes the flash: Leaky gut in humans may be caused by GMO foods.  If not the principle causes they  can certainly make a bad situation worse.  And that can account for the invasion of a normal commensal,  S. aureus, into the blood stream by gut disruption, the very same method the microbe uses against pest insects.  Most people are healthy enough to regularly round up these critters, but the oldies and compromised don’t have this sort of protection any more.

And the kicker is that we don’t need Bt corn, nor any other GMO foods.  These crops are not higher producers but lead to resistance as pollens carried by the wind distribute them across huge sections of the Biosphere.

Now what do you think of that?  Scares me no end.  We already have many epidemics of flu, other viruses like West Nile Virus,  food borne illness caused by mirobial contamination, neurological problems, the key one of which is electing Reagan, Bush and now Romney is on the way.  I am sad for our country.  And note that 50 other countries have labeling laws and once labeled the foods are not selected and consequently are not grown.  Our agricultural policy goes along with our military policy, and our belief’s in a mythical god who will protect us and save us from ourselves.  I wish it were true.  No wonder much of the world hates us.  Can you connect the dots?

Reference cited:

1)  Bowersox, J.  1999.  “Experimental Staph Vaccine Broadly Protective in Animal Studies”. NIH. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2007. (from wikipedia).





GMOs and Seed Savings

By William Olkowski, PhD, 9.9.12.

The take over of the seed industry documented below has only occurred recently and is primarily aimed at pushing Genetically Modified Seeds.  This is done by monopolizing all seed sources available to farmers but only selling the GMO seeds.  The farmers who don’t participate are sued when the pollens are blown onto their crops which then become contaminated.  These contaminated crops are then subject to patent law infringement and the farmer is sued.  This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate by threat so farmers will buy the GMO seeds.  Certainly this is an unethical practice, but if you have only money in mind ethics will always be dammed.

What is most puzzling about this whole situation is that farmers are not suing for having their crops contaminated.  I know that farmers can’t afford the costs of suing, even if they thought they could win against such big corporations.  And I suspect there are no laws comparable to the patent laws, which involve property rights.  Property rights must be superior to pollution rights, especially in an era of deregulation.

In any case the world food supply is threatened by these seed monopolies and the GMO crop take over strategies.

What To Do Now?

First, don’t buy any seeds or products sold by these companies (see list below), and hope California passes the label GMO proposition 37.  If CA labels the rest of the US may follow.  But note that only Canada and the US have not passed a labeling law.  50 other countries have done so.

Next, start to grow your own foods, starting with vegetables.  I have been professing this for over 40 years and now all is becoming clearer and thousands of people are now starting to grow their own.  By growing your own vegetables you get pesticide free food, at little cost, and can begin to save your own seeds.

The following extract from The City People’s Book of Raising Food (by H. and W. Olkowski, out of print but to be released again in the spring) is instructive about saving seeds.

“We have had particular luck with saving our own seeds from peas, beans, carrots, onions (they will flower the second season), lettuce, coriander, New Zealand spinach, chard, cooking celery, parsley, upland cress, and tomato.  With most of the above you can either collect the seed from the dried flower head, or, as in the case of chard, keep the entire branchlet of seed pods stored for the winter.  With tomatoes you’ll need to mash away the pulp from the seeds.  Then dry them thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or screen, before you store them away.”

All seed, whether bought or saved from your own garden, should be kept in a cool, dry place.  This is essential as you want seeds that will germinate with vigor the following season. Be attentive to selecting seeds from an individual plant that is vigorous, or earliest and most productive.  Mark it with a ribbon or marker, so as not to harvest it by mistake.

We have also been successful in letting many different plants go to seed in the garden and harvest seedlings to eat directly or weed them out where you want to plant something else.  I call it chaos gardening and have developed a philosophical essay to support the concept (to see this essay tune into the entomological, my blog, search under chaos.

The urban agriculturalist is in a good place to lead the development of a new set of land races in competition to the seed companies of the world.  Good luck and good night.



Originally seeds were overwhelmingly in the hands of farmers and public-sector plant breeders.
Corp take-over

Gene Giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify seed supply – a strategy that aims to control plant germplasm and maximize profits by eliminating Farmers’ Rights.

Seed Market

In 2007 the global proprietary seed market was valued at US $22B which constituted 82% of the worldwide commercial seed market (According to Context Network).
The proprietary seed market is even bigger.  This includes brand-name seed that is subject to exclusive monopoly, i.e. intellectual property.  In 2007 total commercial seed market was valued at $26B (does not include farmer-saved seed).

The World’s Top 10 Seed Companies

2007 seed sales (US$ millions) – % of global proprietary seed market (Source: ETC Group).

1.Monsanto (US) –                    $4.9B – 23%
2.DuPont (US) –                       $3.3B – 15%
3.Syngenta (Switzerland) –               $2B      – 9%
4.Groupe Limagrain (France) –         $1.2B  –  6%
5.Land O’ Lakes (US) –             $917m – 4%
6.KWS AG (Germany) –            $702m – 3%
7.Bayer Crop Science (Ge) –     $524m – 2%
8.Sakata (Japan) –                   $396m – <2%
9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) –   $391m – <2%
10.Takii (Japan) –                    $347m – <2%
Top 10 Total –                          $14.785B – 67% (2/3 )of global Proprietary Seed Market

Adding up, Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta account for 47% of the worldwide proprietary seed market.
Monsanto’s biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for 87% of the total world area devoted to genetically engineered seeds in 2007 (ETC Group).
Monsanto licenses its biotech traits to 250 companies
< 48% of DuPont’s seed revenue came from products that carried a biotech trait.
Global value of GM crops in 2007 at $6.9 billion (Cropnosis).


Good Article on GMO Threats From BIRC

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News and New Publications

BIRC is a non-profit that depends on the support of the public. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help us continue our work, become a BIRC member, or order a publication, use the BIRC order form here.

August 2012: BIRC’s latest publication reviews the problems resulting from the extensive use of genetically engineered (GE) crops and systemic pesticides. Production of GE crops (Roundup Ready™) resistant to the herbicide glyphosate has resulted in a number of environmental problems, including an 81% reduction of Midwest monarch butterfly populations.

Excessive glyphosate applications may be impacting amphibian populations and increasing populations of soil pathogens. Soil pathogens are making systemic seed treatments with fungicides necessary. Extensive reliance on GE crops with systemic insecticides from Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) is leading to insect resistance. The resulting seed treatments with systemic neonicotinoid insecticides are causing deaths of honey bees. Dependence on glyphosate for weed management in GE crops has led to creation of superweeds. The agribusiness solution is a repeat of the pesticide treadmill—crops engineered for resistance to multiple herbicides. Planting of these new crops will at least triple the amount of 2,4-D and other controversial herbicides being used in agriculture. A better solution is a return to IPM principles that allow both sustainable crop production and environmental protection. If you would like to read this publication, click here. Hard copies are $8 each including postage. California residents add 8.75% tax. Quantity discounts are available until supplies run out. If you would like to order the publication, click here.

Previous Posts: 

June 2012: BIRC’s latest publication reviews honey bee death and decline due to extensive use of pesticides. Chemical analysis of hives in 23 states show bees, pollen, and wax combs are extensively contaminated with pesticides.

Contributing to the problem is the use of systemics in field crops, especially corn. Use of systemics means that pesticides are always present in the plant and mitigation strategies are impossible. About 45% of U.S. cropland is treated with systemics and use is increasing each year. In many cases, systemics are not needed because IPM alternatives are available that manage pests without killing bees. This issue also includes an update on urban farming, the EcoWise IPM Certification Program for pest control professionals, and the latest information on bed bug pheromones and traps. If you would like to read this new publication, click here. Hard copies are $8 each including postage. California residents add 8.75% tax. Quantity discounts are available until supplies run out. If you would like to order the publication, click here.


GMO Foods Anyone? Or Should we Use Common Sense?

GMO Foods Anyone? Or Should we Use Common Sense?

By William Olkowski, PhD


Yes, biotechnology may bring some great and important changes to agriculture, medicine, and many other fields, even great benefits.  But there are some big BUTS to think about now.  The recent history of the creation, registration and use of such products raises important cautions at least.  Since we mentioned this subject before in our first book, history tells a different story, one with major problems with such crops.  GMO altered plants, especially those with the microbial genes which produce a toxin derived from the bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, are the case in point.  Alone as a microbial insecticide, Bt, is a rare product as it is highly selective.  Marketing such a product is limited to only a few groups of insects.  Further, on theoretical grounds, any continuously dispensing pest control system is bound to fail because the pests so exposed will develop resistance faster than from episodic exposures.  This is because the pest population will be under greater selection pressure from continuous exposures, while the episodic one will have time to repopulate between exposures.  And the repopulation brings back the susceptible portion of the original population to a greater degree than a continuously exposed population.  This is an argument based on genetic reasoning.  But recent history supports this contention.

Genetically modified crops do not lead to less pesticide use.  Such crops created to tolerate herbicides, for example, have now been shown to spread their resistance factors to weeds and other crops, which have become resistant to herbicides requiring greater concentrations to produce the same effects as before without such crops.  Weeds are the main reason why farmers use herbicides and more importantly cultivation.  There are alternatives to cultivation besides GMO crops and herbicides, particularly alternative cover crops which are not used enough.  And such alternative don’t pollute water as do herbicides.  Herbicides do pollute, but now with GMO crops we have added genetic pollution, something far worse than any “cide”.  GMO crops are a bad and unnecessary tool.

And then there is the profit motive to consider.  Once a company latches onto such a product it defends their selling capabilities with all their powers, especially the threat to sue.  Organic or just farmers, who raise a crop near a GMO crop are being sued by the big producers of GMO crops and seeds for selling a product, now contaminated from their GMO crop genes.  Instead of being sued for contaminating their crop with bad genes they are suing those they contaminated.  Incredible!  Is this the same justice system that tolerated slavery, death penalty and bad jury decisions.  The reasoning is twisted to thinking the now contaminated crop is their property since it contains their genetic product.

These GMO crops are not necessary.  People produced food, lots of it without such crops, but a farmer who gets contaminated and gets sued because of it can be put out of farming, a great tragedy.  But the GMO Company goes on selling an ecologically inferior food source which is contaminated.  Such contaminated crops have unknown health consequences.  All pest control products sold on the market should be first proven to be safe before being registered.  That’s what is called the precautionary principle.  One should not assume a product is safe because it is registered as the testing for such registrations has big limitations and leaves many products for sale that later turn out to be hazards.  We don’t need any more hazards in our food supply, nor anywhere else.  First use the non-toxic alternatives until it’s impossible to produce the product without it, then seek a toxic material, then the least toxic.  It’s just basic “common sense” reasoning.


Who Supports Truth-in-Labeling on GMOs?

As we have emphasized repeatedly, the November 6th Right-to-Know Ballot Initiative in California (Proposition 37) is the Food Fight of Our Lives. The popular Initiative, supported by the overwhelming majority of Californians, calls for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and an end to the unethical practice, unfortunately common even in the alternative food sector, of marketing or labeling GMO-tainted food as “natural.” Big Food understands quite well that once Proposition 37 passes in California it will likely become the law of the land in all 50 states and Canada. This is why Monsanto’s powerful ally, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, has characterized Prop 37 as the “most serious threat” to agricultural biotechnology in history. So far over 621 organizations and businesses – including retail grocery stores, consumer, farmer, organic, natural health, environmental, farmworker, and labor groups – have endorsed the California Initiative. Please take a look at this list and make sure that your favorite organization, retail store, or business has endorsed Prop 37.

If not, please approach them and ask them to formally endorse the campaign.

Please thank and support those organizations and businesses supporting our right-to-know by endorsing the Initiative. Help us spread the word by sharing this list on your social networks

More GM stuff


Lit­tle did Willie Nel­son know when he recorded “Crazy” years ago just how crazy it would be­come for our cher­ished fam­ily farm­ers inAmer­ica.   Nel­son, Pres­i­dent of Farm Aid, has re­cently called for the na­tional Oc­cupy move­ment to de­clare an “Oc­cupy the Food Sys­tem” ac­tion.

Nel­son states, “Cor­po­rate con­trol of our food sys­tem has led to the loss of mil­lions of fam­ily farm­ers, de­struc­tion of our soil…”


GMO Crops: Another Catastrophe from Deregulation