A landmark ruling by the European Parliament is this week expected to give ministers the power to approve genetically modified crops.
On Tuesday the European Parliament is expected to approve a deal which will let countries decide for themselves whether they want to plant GM crops.
The new legislation, which will be in place by Spring, could mean that commercial GM crops including maize and oil seed rape are grown in Britain.
The crops, which have been genetically modified to produce higher yields and withstand higher concentrations of weedkiller, would be sold for animal feed or to produce energy.
It raises the prospect that genetically modified fruit and vegetables could ultimately be grown for sale in Britain’s supermarkets.