What are thresholds or tolerance levels?
Thresholds or tolerance levels are the maximum allowable level of adventitious (unintended) presence of material set by regulators and / or markets.
Following a Primary Industries Ministerial Council agreement in October 2005, tolerance levels for GM canola in non-GM canola were set at 0.9 per cent for grain and 0.5 per cent for seed for sowing.
Determination of a threshold
The Control of Genetically Modified Crops Act 2004 (external link) enables the Minister for Agriculture to determine a threshold amount for the presence of a GMO in crops. This means that once a threshold amount is set, if the amount of a GMO that is present in a crop does not exceed the threshold amount determined for that GMO, the presence of the GMO in that crop is to be disregarded for the purposes of this Act.
The Victorian Government agreed to the thresholds set by Primary Industries Ministerial Council in 2005 and consequently, in Victoria, non-GM canola grain is permitted to have up to 0.9 per cent GM content, whilst seed for sowing is permitted to contain up to 0.5 per cent GM content.
Following the Review of the GM Canola Moratorium, the Victorian Government agreed to allow the grains industry to regulate the coexistence of GM and non-GM canola in the grains supply chain, according to the guidelines and protocols established under the Single Vision Grains Australia initiative. The Victorian Government also agreed to allow the market to determine whether segregation of non-GM canola from GM canola in the grain supply chain is required, acknowledging that the tolerance levels agreed by Primary Industries Ministerial Council in late 2005 provide a sound basis for the coexistence of GM and non-GM canola in the grains supply chain.