Responding to a question at the NFU conference on Tuesday from NFU Potato Forum vice-chairman Alex Godfrey, Ciolos said: "We can't not take public opinion into account. People have an emotional reaction to the food they eat."
He added: "The EU has strengthened its budget for technological innovation and may find a better solution to the expectations of the European public that will better maintain their confidence."
But environment secretary Caroline Spelman disagreed. "If used responsibly, genetic modification is one of the tools that will be integral to the sustainable intensification of agriculture."
NFU president Peter Kendall added: "European consumers eat genetically modified food as they travel around the world. We end up importing food that's been fed on GMOs and is cheaper."