About 100 pounds of his specialty smoked meat has been in dire jeopardy since earlier this summer, when state regulators told him it needed to be doused with bleach and destroyed because of a paperwork problem at the meat processor. But the meat was released to him on Monday after he signed an affidavit guaranteeing he would keep it for his own use and not sell it to customers.
“We found a way we could all work it out,” the farmer said Wednesday, adding that he felt buoyed by the support he’s received. “We didn’t realize how many friends of ours we had with freezers who were willing to help us out. The overall response has been 100 to one, positive to negative.”
Canarr told the BDN in July that officials from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said they felt badly about the need for bleaching but that there were problems with the paper trail that is required by law to show when and how the pigs were slaughtered, chilled, smoked and so on. Although there was nothing wrong with the meat, the paperwork issue meant he could not sell it to customers he meets at the Hampden Farmers Market or find him at Souder Station Farm, where he raised the pigs from piglets.
The farmer said last month he could understand not being allowed to sell it, but the destruction of his bacon, smoked shoulder and other smoked products felt like too much. Others who learned of his plight largely agreed with him, including politicians such as state Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, state Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, whose offices reached out to state regulators.
“I have been working closely with Randy and officials in the Department to try to find a way to save his bacon,” Cuddy said at the time. “This pork is Randy’s personal property and, if he isn’t selling it to the public and it’s safe to eat, he should be able to keep it for himself.”