The German Agriculture Ministry is to introduce a special label for food that has not been genetically modified, in a move to create greater transparency for consumers.

Agriculture state secretary Gert Lindemann told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the new 'non-GM' label will apply not only to non-genetically-modified crops but to eggs, meat and milk from animals that were raised without biotech feed.

He said the move was aimed to protect consumers' rights but didn't specify when the new system would be introduced.

German food manufacturers have, for the last four years, had the option of labelling food containing GM technology traces, although few have made use of the system.

The Bundestag, Germany's parliament, is expected to approve the law next week, allowing it to be introduced in spring.

Officials at the Agriculture Ministry could not be reached for comment as just-food went to press.