Government GM advisors will today [Wednesday] review disputed safety claims surrounding the first GM crop to be approved for commercial sale.

FOE is calling on the government to ban the GM crop from the UK.

ACRE (the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment) and ACAF (the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs) are holding a unique public Open Hearing to consider disputed scientific evidence used to allow GM maize, owned by Aventis, to be given permission to be commercially grown in the UK.

The hearing follows the collapse of a series of public hearings against the licensing of the GM seed, led by Friends of the Earth, in 2000. The hearings were suspended after it was discovered that official tests on the seeds had only been carried out for one year, rather than the two required.

The public hearing on Wednesday will hear evidence from a number of scientists highly critical of the 'evidence' supplied by Aventis to support the commercial approval of the GM crop.

Adrian Bebb, GM campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: "This GM maize should never have been given commercial approval in the first place. The fact that poor and incomplete science didn't prevent government advisors from giving it the go-ahead is a major cause for concern, and highlights the lack of rigour applied to GM food and crops. Unless the government accepts that serious mistakes were made, and withdraws the commercial approval for this crop, the public will remain deeply sceptical."

The hearing into Aventis' GM maize takes place between 10.30am and 2.30pm at DEFRA, Ashdown House, Victoria Street, London SW1E