The state will allow a Winterport farmer to keep 100 pounds of his specialty smoked pork products for his own consumption.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry previously said all of the meat had to be destroyed, based on food safety regulations that require specific labeling.

Randy Canarr, who owns and operates Souder Station Farm, said a paperwork error at a meat-processing plant in late June mislabeled his pork, resulting in his product being left in limbo. Canarr said the processor put an incorrect lot number on the packaged pork and could not provide documentation to prove it was inspected.

The go-to solution for the state is total destruction of the product in the name of safety, Canarr said. The paperwork Canarr received from the Agriculture Department said the product should either be properly labeled and ready for commerce, or must be destroyed and cannot be retained for personal use.

"I just really didn't want the state coming in and destroying product unnecessarily," Canaar said in a Facebook video.

"I am saying I will eat it myself and the state is saying 'no, we don't trust you.' You are guilty — we better destroy it. They left us hanging," he said.

After his story went public through news reports and social media, Canarr said he gained community support — "even vegans got a hold of us in support."

"Because this waste of product is so absurd and such an abomination to those animals — the principle trumps your ethical food choices," he said.

With his pork weighed by the state and stored in a freezer on his farm, Canarr reached out to Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, and Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, for their help.

After visiting Souder Station Farm to meet with Canarr, Cuddy said, "I made it a priority to work with the department and fellow legislators to find a solution."

In a statement issued July 23, Cuddy said he was working closely with Canarr and state officials "to try to find a way to save his bacon."

"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," Cuddy said.

Herbig stepped in the next day, releasing a statement saying, "Randy Canarr must be allowed to keep his products for his personal use, rather than have the meat destroyed because of a problem with paperwork."

With the legislators' help, the issue was finally resolved earlier this month. “Commissioner Beal and her colleagues at the department did a phenomenal job of resolving this tricky situation," Cuddy said. "They found that, in order to release Randy’s products back to him, they would have to work with the third-party farm, the one that initially mislabeled his products, to relabel and repackage the products for personal use only."

In an email message to The Journal, Herbig said she is "grateful that the department was able to resolve this issue, allowing Randy to keep his pork products while making sure our food safety laws are enforced."

Moving forward, Cuddy said he is seeking solutions to prevent other farmers from ending up in Randy’s situation, and will be working with Maine farmers and farming community advocates to reach that goal.

Canarr said the state was helpful with his claim but said it seemed the department had never been faced with someone saying, "Hey this rule is absurd — I'm not following it."

"Here we are, the state of Maine promoting farming to feed people," he said, while on the other hand the state also is saying, "(let us) help you out by destroying your product because we don't trust you."

Other farmers were involved in the mislabeling snafu as well, Canarr said, but he does not fault the processor. "They made a mistake."

As far as the bacon goes, Canarr joked it will not be a problem to make it disappear. For more information about his farm, visit