BRUSSELS — The European Union's legislature has approved by a big margin a new law giving EU member states the power to ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops even if they have been approved by the food safety authority of the 28-nation bloc.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday backed the measure by a margin of 480 for and 159 against with 58 abstentions.

The agreement came after three years of deadlock. It's exceptional because giving national governments the final say in the matter goes counter to many EU initiatives, which traditionally seek a common stance for all member states.