The European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to help it decide whether genetically modified crops should be grown in the EU.

It is a controversial topic and the EU has routinely blocked all such market approval applications for the past ten years on environmental grounds.

However, the WTO has ruled that such decisions must be based on science. This has opened the door to the possibility that some long-standing applications may be approved.

EFSA will consider the safety of growing BASF's Amflora potato and two genetically-modified maizes -  Syngenta's Bt11 and Pioneer Hi-Bred International's 1507 - and then advise the Commission.

In a statement, Brussels said it would "continue to base its decisions on science as required by the legislation".