The European Union is likely to rule today [Tuesday] that Austria's proposed ban on genetically modified organisms is illegal, EU officials have said.

The European Commission is expected to rule that Austria did not provide sufficient scientific evidence to support the proposed ban, which was approved by Austria’s regional government last year, reported Dow Jones Newswires. The ban has not been put into effect, pending the Commission’s ruling.

The World Trade Organisation said last week that it had set up a dispute panel to investigate the EU’s biotech policy, after the US, together with Argentina and Canada, claimed it represented an unlawful trade barrier.

In an attempt to resolve the situation, the EU recently approved new legislation regarding labelling and traceability of GMOs, paving the way for a lifting of the EU’s unofficial moratorium on approving new GMOs.

Austria is among the six EU governments that have not approved any new GMOs since 1998.