The World Trade Organisation has said it has set up a dispute panel to investigate the complaint made by Argentina, Canada and the US against the European Union's policy on genetically modified foods.

"I can confirm that a single panel was established for the complaints brought by the US, Argentina and Canada," a spokesman for the US mission to the WTO was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying. 

The EU introduced a moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms in 1998 in response to consumer fears.

Although the EU recently approved labelling and traceability laws in order to see the moratorium lifted, the US maintains that both the ban and the new rules act as trade barriers.

The three-person WTO panel will now investigate the complaint and then deliver its report.