Town shuts down poultry processor

By Beth A. Birmingham | Apr 07, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Maine-ly Poultry has been shut down by the town of Warren due to the lack of a proper wastewater disposal system.

Warren — The town of Warren was notified March 27 that a local poultry processor will need to be shut down pending installation of an approved wastewater disposal system.

Town Manager Elaine Clark told the Board of Selectmen at its April 2 meeting of the impending activity or lack thereof at Maine-ly Poultry, located on Route 1.

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry notified the town code enforcement officer and the owner of Maine-ly Poultry March 24 that the facility did not have a proper approved wastewater disposal system. The business has not had such a system in its 20 years of operation, Clark told the board.

"You are hereby ordered to cease any and all activity involved with the slaughter/processing activities of poultry and/or any other animals or fowl at this location," is what was stated in the order delivered to John Barnstein, owner of Maine-ly Poultry, by town Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz.

The order further states Barnstein has until Monday, April 14 to be compliant, otherwise a penalty of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each day out of compliance will be assessed.

According to Clark, Barnstein does have the right to design a system that meets the requirements. A return phone call from Barnstein has not been received.

Maine-ly Poultry processes chicken broilers and turkeys. Products available at the farm are chicken pies, sausage, salads, and smoked chicken.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

Comments (14)
Posted by: Lis Clark | Apr 09, 2014 16:57

Walter makes an excellent point. In my experience, government agencies don't drop on one out of the blue. Mainely Poultry is a good business, but there have been a couple of issues in the past, which I know they've taken care of. Are they not hooked up to Warren Sanitary District? Might there be an issue there? I, too, would like to hear from them. It's not necessarily all big brother.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Apr 08, 2014 18:59

Is this really about waste water?



Let us see what kind of "pollution" was being created in this poultry farm: High COD, BOD, particulates, metals?



No need to look at pig farms "from away."  Here in Rockland, the Waste Water Treatment Plant has been out of compliance for years. The storm water is only part of the problem. Even on non-rainy days the plant is off due to the discharge of one single industrial processing plant. Instead of forcing the polluter to deliver cleaner discharge, the state fined the City of Rockland a meager fine for years and years of not being compliant. And what Rockland do? The state has given to Rockland the power to not accept discharges it cannot treat. But Rockland does not want to "upset" our local "job-creator" so all Rockland is doing is haggling down the fine.



Sure; the State of Maine may be open for business but this only applies to large corporations that have the right connections in City Hall and Augusta.



Posted by: James Bowers | Apr 08, 2014 18:22

The USDA can allow pig farms in Iowa to pollute rivers and stink up entire towns. I haven't heard of any complaints about Mainely Poultry so I'm wondering how this was triggered. John has run a clean operation for years and now they're complaining? Methadone clinics are okay and a hard working farmer/processor is put out of business? Something stinks here and it's not in Warren.

Posted by: Karin Ludewig | Apr 08, 2014 09:40

From Walter. 

I was an IRS attorney for many years, and tried to administer the laws passed by the Congress in as fair and reasonable way as possible. There were several times when taxpayers would make all kinds of accusations of not getting notices, their position on issues not being considered, Nazi storm trooper tactics, etc., etc.

Almost always, these allegations were untrue. Unfortunately, the IRS----like most agencies----is not able to refute the complaints because of privacy laws which make the release of information, any information, a felony, with prison time, a fine, loss of position and pension, as a direct consequence.

I would love to see the official file on this matter to learn when Mainely Chicken was first contacted, and the history of the case. And, I'd like to hear what the operator has to say, too. Government bureaucracy tends to work slowly, working up a substantial file before taking action in case somebody makes a complaint to their Congressman that has to be answered. "CYA" (Covey Your A_s is the watchword!

There's a lot more to this than appears here, so don't jump to any decisions.

Posted by: jane Carr | Apr 08, 2014 09:33

Seems most of you are missing the point.  It's about the waste water and nothing else and YES we want regulations for waste water.. Think about it...


Posted by: Sandra Savage | Apr 08, 2014 08:37

Private individuals can not always be trusted but governments can?  Scary thought!  I understand regulations but also trust what I see.  Money talks as Stephen said and we are suppose to blindly believe it because the government says it is good for us.  Trust yourselves folks, not some all knowing outside power.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 08, 2014 08:30

Susan if you think "Big Brother " knows best, than I have some swamp land in Florida I wish to talk with you about.  The big processors like Perdue can pay your senators and congressmen millions to look the other way while they put out products that could kill you.  Here is a small local businessman who has put out a superior bird for years with NO issues and now they want to shut him down.  This is so your ONLY choice will be to buy from the big boys.  You need to read "1984"

Posted by: Beverly St. Clair | Apr 08, 2014 08:14

I hope Mainly Poultry can find a way to comply without it breaking the bank. They would be sadly missed,.

I just shared one of their chicken pies a couple of nights ago and have purchased turkey from them many times.

Owning and operating  a livestock farm is not only a business it is a art... and should be preserved and passed on.

Seems weird that this is an immediate issue after 20 yr of business.

Posted by: Susan Sinclair | Apr 08, 2014 05:49

I trust "Big Brother" FAR more than a private person deciding how safe my food is. Regulations were created for one reason...private individuals cannot always be trusted. Regulations are there to level the field for everyone and make everyone adhere to the same standards so the public can be confident. Give me regulations over chaos ANY day.

Posted by: Jeanne Hollingsworth | Apr 07, 2014 19:29

Are these the new regulations at work?  I agree with Carolyn May - word gets around fast in small towns.  If there was something wrong with John's products word would have gotten around by now.  That must mean there are no problems.  If anybody has started a fund to help I'm in.


Posted by: Reggie Montgomery | Apr 07, 2014 17:43

It's a shame that the Government won't allow a good clean, well operated small business survive.The cost of a waste water  system could potentially cripple their business.  I wonder if the USDA checked to see if there was a problem before they made judgement. No wonder this country is now dropped from a 1st class world power to at least 2nd class laughing stock of the world.

Posted by: Carolyn K. May | Apr 07, 2014 16:05

Meant to say sold not slid

Posted by: Carolyn K. May | Apr 07, 2014 16:03

This person has safely produced and slid his products for many years, our government again at work protecting us from ourselves.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Apr 07, 2014 14:41

After all the good these folks have quietly done around our towns to assist the needy am saddened to see this happen. Hope something can be worked out to satisfy the requirement. Big Brother in action. :(

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