"GMO" stands for genetically modified organisms. And what you need to know is that these are foods whose genetic make-up have been re-engineered or altered to give them different traits from how they evolved... already this is sounding bad!
The US department of Agriculture estimates that 94% of all soy, 93% of corn, and 95% of cotton grown in the US is genetically engineered.
Luckily we don't have GMO crops in New Zealand and let’s hope that we keep it this way.
So how does American GMO grops affect us in New Zealand? According to The Ministry for the Environment some work is going on at the development stage involving the genetic modification of vegetables (e.g. onions that are herbicide resistant and potatoes that are resistant to disease). To date, no fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, meat or milk) originating in New Zealand is genetically modified. But here is the crux, some processed foods may, however, contain genetically modified ingredients sourced from overseas (e.g., soy products or corn products).
Some of the ingredients from GMO crops could be found in soybean paste, canola oil and cottonseed oil. Foods derived from these genetically modified crops can be sold here only if they have been assessed for safety by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
There are labelling standards for genetically modified food in New Zealand. Genetically modified food must be labelled so consumers can choose whether or not to buy it.
Bottom line: If you don't want to eat GMO's then make sure that you read food labels, and if you are travelling to countries like the US then take extra care to read food labels while you are there or better still buy organic.
Lucky for us, New Zealand's laws and regulations governing genetic modification are among the most rigorous in the world.
Source: The Ministry for the Environment