European Union lawmakers have rejected a draft law that would have allowed countries to ban certain genetically modified food and animal feed even if the produce was authorized by EU authorities.

Lawmakers fear the move could force a return to border controls to keep GMO produce out of some countries. The decision to reject the law was taken on Wednesday by an overwhelming majority.

The environment spokesman for the assembly's biggest political group, Peter Liese, said that "we need to avoid chaos for consumers and farmers."

He warned that "having national bans would mean re-introducing border controls for foodstuff and feedstuff."

The use of GMOs remains controversial in Europe. Fifty-eight have been authorized for consumption, including maize, cotton, soybean, oilseed rape and sugar beet.