The new rules, announced in January, allow Member States to opt out of growing GMO crops on their territory, even after the crop has been approved by the EU and a company has applied to grow the crop in the country.

By signalling its intention to use this opt-out clause in the future, Germany is following in the footsteps of Scotland who announced its decision to do likewise earlier in the month.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt has informed German state governments of his intention to tell the EU that Germany will make use of new opt-out rules to stop GMO crop cultivation, according to a letter seen by international news agency Reuters.

In the letter, the ministry stressed that Schmidt is continuing a previously announced policy to keep a ban on GMOs in Germany.

The letter also said that, under the new EU rules, countries have until 3 October 2015 to inform the Commission that they wish to opt out of new EU GMO cultivation approvals.

Schmidt has asked German state authorities to say by 11 September whether their region should be included in the opt-out, according to Reuters.

GMO crops are a divisive issue in Europe. Although they are widely grown in America and Asia, many countries in Europe are against them, including Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Germany and Luxembourg, all of whom have invoked a safeguard clause which temporarily restricts the use or sale of GMOs on their territory.

Ireland was one of the countries to vote in favour of the opt-out clause in January, but the Government has yet to signal its intention to use it.

Currently only one GMO crop, insect-resistant maize from MON 810 from Monsanto, is grown in the EU.