The lower house of parliament in Switzerland this week dismissed proposals for a temporary ban on genetically modified products, sparking a strong response from anti-GM activists.

The house narrowly approved draft legislation regulating the use of GM products, and the legislation now awaits final parliamentary approval.

A coalition of environmental activists and farmers say they will do all they can to force a referendum on a ten-year moratorium to keep the country GM-free, after the request for a five-year moratorium was turned down.

Spokespersons for the scientific community welcomed the approval of the draft legislation, telling the BBC that a moratorium would stifle research in Switzerland.

In a 1998 referendum, Swiss voters rejected by a two-to-one margin plans to outlaw genetic research on plants and animals.