In December 1996, the European Union gave its authorization to sell transgenic
corn for consumption and cultivation in Europe. Some EU memberstates,
notably Austria and Italy, refused to allow any imports of genetically
modified organisms (“GMOs” or “OGM” in French). Resistance of that sort
was unexpected from France. In Europe, France was originally the country
most interested in advancing research and applications in the area of agricultural
biotechnology. Before GMOs became a matter of public controversy,
France led Europe in deliberate release trials.