The first transgenic plant - a tobacco plant resistant to an antibiotic - was created in 1983. It was another ten years before the first commercialisation of a GM plant in the United States - a delayed-ripening tomato - and another two years (1996) before a GM product - tomato paste - hit UK supermarket shelves.
1996 was also the year that the EU approved the importation and use of Monsanto's Roundup Ready soya beans in foods for people and feed for animals. These beans have been modified to survive being sprayed with the Roundup herbicide that is applied to a field to kill weeds.
This soya, together with GM maize, is now used in a variety of processed foods on sale in UK shops. The products range from crisps to pasta.
A genetically-engineered version of the milk-clotting enzyme chymosin is also used in cheese-making.
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