As a journalist, I should've known better. Or at least that's what I've been telling myself ever since I became one of hundreds of people sickened by the ongoing salmonella outbreak.
I first learned of the egg recall last week when I was assigned to cover it for MPR, where I work as an online reporter. An Iowa-based food producer, Wright County Eggs, had shipped salmonella-tainted eggs to Minnesota and seven other states.
A few days later, I entered the vast expanse of my local Super Target to do some grocery shopping. Distracted by Hello Kitty notebooks and retro-packaged boxes of Cap'n Crunch, I somehow managed to forget the most basic items I had come to Super Target to buy.
On my drive home, I realized I had not only forgotten to buy eggs, but was also about to run out of gas. Pulling into the nearest gas station, I did something I've never done in my life: bought eggs from a place specializing in 64-ounce buckets of soda. The eggs were surprisingly cheap.
I spent Tuesday afternoon editing and transcribing an interview with Dr. Jon Hallberg about the dangers of salmonella. The recall had expanded to include a second Iowa farm. I went home and fried some eggs and bacon for dinner.
By Wednesday night, my stomach felt like I'd ridden a 20-minute roller coaster. I went to bed, and by morning, the situation was worse. As I left the bathroom and crawled into bed, I recalled Dr. Hallberg's description of the symptoms of salmonella illness -- vomiting, diarrhea, fever.
"It's impossible," I thought.
I had purchased my eggs after the initial recall. Wouldn't stores check to make sure they weren't selling salmonella-tainted products?
I headed to my refrigerator, grabbed the egg carton, and went online. I found the brand, Lund, on the FDA's recall list. The site tracks the recalled eggs by the plant name and Julian Date, a code indicating when the product was packed.
It was like playing a reverse lottery. The plant number on the side of my carton was 1946. It matched. I felt a sense of dread as I looked for the Julian Date. 203. Another match. It was official. I had bought one of the 550 million cartons of recalled eggs. Yikes.
Maybe I shouldn't have bought eggs from a gas station, I thought. Or maybe I should've paid attention to my own articles.
Either way, I've spent the day making the 20-foot trek from my bathroom to my bedroom. In fact, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll resume that trek right now.
Madeleine Baran is a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio News.