Sir; Philip Bushill-Matthews comments (Letters, March 23) that he regards the Soil Association standards as uncompetitive and will not help the growth and development of the organic industry. He then suggests that he is working in the European Parliament to help UK organic farmers compete. Perhaps he is unaware that the UK organic market is the fastest-growing in the world and that per capita consumption of organic food in the UK is set to exceed that of any other country. This is not an accident but is because UK consumers trust in the integrity of organic standards. The Soil Association has been promoting the benefits of organic farming for agriculture and of organic food for consumers since 1946. It is the only forum where retailer, producer, processor and consumer representatives regularly meet to discuss the issues that concern them all and arrive at standards that are a genuine reflection of what the key stakeholders in the organic industry consider to be of importance. Consumers trust the Soil Association symbol standards because they differ in certain crucial areas that are of vital importance: equivalence of overseas certifiers, animal welfare (including chicken debeaking and densities) and the use of certain chemicals and practices that represent loopholes in the original EU legislation. The Soil Association and some other certifying bodies in EU member states are creating a level playing field through the amendment process of the regulations so British farmers are not put at a disadvantage. Patrick Holden Director Soil Association {{LETTERS }}