Swiss biotech company Syngenta has said it expects a small-scale short-term positive impact on its sales and profit if the European Union allows imports of the company's genetically modified maize for human consumption.

The European Council on Agriculture and Fisheries is to decide this week if sweet corn from Syngenta's Bt11 maize should be approved for human consumption in the EU, reported Dow Jones News. Several EU member states have said that they would vote against the application.

Syngenta said any positive decision would have only a limited short-term impact, but further gains would come with consumer acceptance of GM foods.

"The direct impact on our business of a positive decision would be limited in the short term," Syngenta spokesman Markus Payer told Dow Jones Newswires. 

"The important step after this would be consumer acceptance of altered foods - a process that we expect will take years," Payer said. 

Bt11 maize is approved for cultivation in Argentina, Canada, Japan, South Africa and the US, and its sweetcorn is approved for consumption in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Switzerland, Payer said.