There is anger among Continental bacon and ham exporters that the standards set by British organic accreditation bodies are being used as a blocking strategy to prevent full market access. Some have criticised "holier than thou" attitudes. The Soil Association has been roundly criticised by Danish industry executives over its insistence on refusing accreditation on the grounds of husbandry issues such as nose rings and castration. Junior farm minister Joyce Quinn attempted to answer importers' concerns that applications for equivalence were not being processed for as efficiently as they might. Speaking at the Provision Trade Federation lunch, she said: "Registration issues can take some time," she said, adding that she was concerned to see that: "trade is not held up unneccessarily." Conceding that "there are frustrations," the minister was anxious to help wherever possible to ensure that the process was handled "as quickly as possible". One Danish firm got fed up of waiting and went to another UK body for accreditation when it became clear that its Soil Association application was not progressing. "The documentation was all there to check. We'd already done the work in Denmark." Another continental ham and pâté exporter has yet to see progress on an application for equivalence under its own national scheme dating back to November. As a major UK supermarket supplier, the delay is resented. "We applied to the Soil Association in March of last year, but they have not yet agreed all our suppliers' accreditation," the export manager told The Grocer. She added that her retail customers were insisting on Soil Association accreditation and not the existing national mark. A Soil Association spokeswoman was defensive about what outsiders might consider "unnecessarily complicated procedures", but pointed out that the global good image of organic food was at stake. The topic is a particularly sensitive one among bacon and ham importers who are already angry about the renewed advertising broadside fired by MAFF and MLC against foreign bacon and pigmeat imports. {{PROVISIONS }}