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In Egypt, word has been spreading that anti-government protesters have been eating food from KFC. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, the rumors may be an attempt to discredit the demonstrators.

“A meal at KFC can cost what locals make in an entire day or even a week, making it inaccessible to many Egyptians. And KFC became a proxy for anger about perceived Western interference,” writes Raja Abdulrahim. Abdulrahim’s story follows Rehab Salah, who went to Tahrir Square to find out the truth about the KFC rumors she had heard. If the protesters were indeed eating the expensive food (colloquially called Kentucky meals), it could cast doubt on their motivations.

But Salah found no trace of the Colonel in Tahrir Square, and Abdulrahim notes, “Tahrir Square does have a KFC restaurant, but it has been closed since the protests began Jan. 25. Its glass doors are locked and graffiti has been spray-painted along the front: “No Mubarak.” A temporary clinic has been erected in front of the restaurant, and the sick and injured lay on blankets underneath the KFC sign.”

The article cites another example of the Louisville-based fast food chain symbolizing western society: a KFC in Pakistan was burned down in the riots that followed the 2006 publication of a Danish cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad.

There’s a lot of buzz right now about Trader Joe’s coming to Louisville. Business First says it’s coming. Derby City Cents says think again. Trader Joe’s is a mysterious company. So while visions of discount organic dried plums dance in your head, read this Fortune article, which is currently the definitive profile of the secretive Mr. Joe.

Louisvillian Stanley Chase is raising money to set up a vegan food truck business. As of Tuesday morning, 66 people have pledged about $3,000 toward the project. Chase has just over a month to raise the remaining $9,000.

(via Twitter)

With a vote of 73-25, the Senate has passed the food safety bill we discussed earlier this month. But the legislation still faces an uncertain future.

Despite unusual bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and a strong push from the Obama administration, the bill could still die because there might not be enough time for the usual haggling between the Senate and House of Representatives, which passed its own version last year. Top House Democrats said that they would consider simply passing the Senate version to speed approval.

Both versions of the bill would grant the F.D.A. new powers to recall tainted foods, increase inspections, demand accountability from food companies and oversee farming. But neither version would consolidate overlapping functions at the Department of Agriculture and nearly a dozen other federal agencies that oversee various aspects of food safety, making coordination among the agencies a continuing challenge.

The owner of the bicycle soup delivery business SoupByCycle was injured Wednesday. He was stopped at an intersection when he was hit by a car.

“It wasn’t just a tap,” Ritchie said.

According to Ritchie, the driver rolled down her window to ask if he was all right. “I said, ‘No, not really,’ ” he recalled. Ritchie asked the driver for her insurance information.

“The next thing I knew, she was going around me,” he said.

Noting the driver’s license plate number, Ritchie reported the incident to Louisville Metro Police. An LMPD spokesperson said that police would try to get in touch with the owner of the car on Thursday.

Ritchie says he can’t ride for a week, and there is no one to fill in for him at his business.

A new food safety bill is making its way through congress. The legislation would give the federal government more control over the food supply, and is designed to prevent outbreaks of food-born illnesses.

Some of the loudest opposition to the bill is coming from small farmers locavores–people who attempt to eat foods grown nearby and preferably sold directly from the farmer. They fear that the new regulations would make it too hard for small growers who rely on direct-to-customer sales. There is a compromise in the works, but it’s controversial. And even if the bill does pass the Senate, it’s unclear it will become law. It would have to be reconciled with House legislation during the lame duck session or else face challenges from the more conservative incoming congress.

From the AP/NPR:

“It’s going to put a nail in the coffin of our family food producers,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who is planning an amendment to exempt some small farms who market food close to their operations. He says many small farms already comply with state and local regulations to keep food safe.

Food safety advocates are lobbying against the Tester amendment, saying his concerns are overblown and efforts to broadly exempt smaller farms could be misguided. They argue that the legislation, which would give the FDA more authority to recall tainted products, increase inspections of food processors and require producers to follow stricter standards for keeping food safe, is crucial in the wake of outbreaks of contaminated peanuts, eggs and produce that have sickened hundreds.

“Our view is that food should be safe no matter what the source is,” said Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety at the Pew Health Group.

Olson and other advocates say that while small farms may not need to follow as many regulations as large corporations, the size of the farm is not as important as the safety of the food. Producers of leafy greens, tomatoes and other foods that more frequently cause illness should have to follow strict standards to keep contamination away from food no matter what the size of their operation, they say.

David Serchuk is a writer and editor who recently moved from Brooklyn to Louisville. On Monday, The Huffington Post published a piece by Serchuk comparing New York and Louisville.

Michelle at Consuming Louisville noticed, and suggested Serchuk explore restaurants beyond Chik-Fil-A.

Serchuk noticed his internet welcome, and responded.

After that, LEO pointed out that Serchuk is right about his public transit comparisons, then welcomed the newcomer to Louisville.

So, yes, welcome to Louisville and the internet.

Continuing our habit of posting charts that are relevant to Louisville, we bring you this…a graphic comparing how much households spend annual on food in grocery stores or in restaurants.

You can find Louisville just above Houston near the bottom of the chart. The average annual spending in restaurants is $2,692, vs. $3,260. That’s a few hundred dollars below the national average in both categories.

(via Sociological Images)

Between 2006 and 2009, 38 percent of the rural and small-town grocery stores in Kansas closed.

The Rural Blog expands on this fact, quoting a source that says large chain stores can present a double-dip challenge to small towns. First, the stores offer lower prices or better selection than smaller markets. Second, if a market closes or is no longer competitive, people are less likely to move to a town with limited access to certain foods.

The post goes on to describe a possible solution:

The Obama administration hopes its Healthy Food Financing Initiative will mitigate the problem. The departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services would spend $400 million a year “to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities,” Blaney writes, though it isn’t clear yet how the money will be split between urban and rural areas.

Last week, Metro Louisville’s Farm to Table coordinator Sarah Fritschner told WFPL there are more beef cattle in Kentucky than there are in any other state east of the Mississippi. Governor Steve Beshear repeated that claim at the state FFA convention in Lexington yesterday.

The statement is true (I fact checked it when Fritscher said it). On two sets of stats I found, Kentucky and Tennessee were the only states east of the Mississippi in the top 10, and Kentucky topped Tennessee in production.

But with that fact coming up twice in a seven-day period, and with Metro Government focusing on improving access to quality food, something else Fritschner said has stuck out.

“There’s more beef cattle in Kentucky than any other state east of the Mississippi, and yet we have to send them to Iowa to process them because there’s no big processor here.”

We previously posted about the lack of slaughterhouses, and it seems that the local food movement is hurt by how scarce food processing facilities are. Food purchased from a farmers’ market may have advantages, but Fritschner the extra time and effort required to prepare it (thoroughly wash, chop, etc.) is prohibitive to people who may be busy parenting and/or working long hours. This is often brought up to help explain the prevalence of fast food outlets in low-income areas?

What are your thoughts? Do you wish you had more time to prepare food? Does your schedule hurt your diet?

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