The first major controversy associated with gene technology in Europe took place in the late 1980s. At this time, there were no products actually being sold to consumers. In 1996, controversy over gene technology was triggered by the arrival of GM soybeans at European harbours. The soybeans, coming from soy plants genetically modified to resist the herbicide Round-Up, represented the first large scale marketing of GM foods in Europe. Other applications of biotechnology soon followed: events, such as the attempted commercialisation of GM maize and other commodities, focused public attention on transgenic crops, as did other biotechnology applications, such as animal and human cloning.
Entransfood Network - Safety Assesment of Genetically Modified Crops, 2004, p. 83-90