EngDiary 0014 - Food Safety

  1. Chats
  2. Questions
  3. Novel
  4. Practice


A watercolor painting depicting a scene inside a grocery store, where a man, casually dressed, is holding a shopping basket filled with various items. He is standing in the aisle dedicated to sauces and condiments. Beside him, a woman, also in casual attire, is pointing towards a shelf that displays a variety of spicy sauces. They both appear engaged in a friendly conversation about the different types of spicy sauces available. The background shows the colorful shelves of the grocery store, filled with products, and a soft, diffuse light illuminates the scene, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.


Webber: Excuse me, could you help me? I’m looking for ingredients for cooking, and I’m interested in this bottle of hot sauce.

Alice: Certainly, I’d be happy to assist. However, I must inform you that we’re in the process of removing this particular brand of hot sauce from our shelves due to concerns related to food safety.

Webber: Oh, I see. Could you tell me more about what the issue is? It’s unfortunate because it’s my favorite brand.

Alice: I understand your concern, and I apologize for any inconvenience. While the specifics haven’t been fully disclosed, the recall is a precautionary measure to ensure the well-being of our customers. Safety is our top priority.

Webber: I appreciate your diligence in ensuring customer safety. Do you have any alternative brands that you would recommend?

Alice: Yes, we do have a selection of other hot sauces that are quite popular among our customers. I can show you a few that are similar in flavor profile to the one you’ve selected. Would you like to take a look?

Webber: That would be great, thank you. I’m always open to trying new things, especially if they come recommended.

Alice: My pleasure. Right this way, please. And if you have any more questions or need further assistance as you continue shopping, don’t hesitate to ask.

Webber: This situation has made me more curious about food safety. Are there common issues that consumers should be aware of?

Alice: Absolutely, food safety encompasses a variety of concerns. The most common issues include contamination with harmful bacteria, such as E. coli or salmonella, the presence of foreign objects, and improper labeling that might omit potential allergens. It’s always important to stay informed and cautious.

Webber: I see. How can I ensure that the food I buy is safe?

Alice: Great question. Firstly, check for any recall notices on the foods you purchase. Additionally, always observe the best before dates and storage instructions on packaging. At home, practicing proper food handling and storage is crucial, such as keeping raw and cooked foods separate and ensuring your refrigerator is at the correct temperature.

Webber: Those are helpful tips. I’ll definitely pay more attention to how I handle food at home. What about when shopping? Any specific signs I should look for that might indicate a product isn’t safe?

Alice: When shopping, inspect packaging for any damage or signs of tampering. Avoid buying perishable items that are not stored at the appropriate temperature in the store. For fresh produce, look for vibrant, unblemished fruits and vegetables. If anything looks or smells off, it’s best to choose a different item.

Webber: Thank you, Alice. I feel better equipped to make safer choices now. It’s reassuring to know there are steps I can take to protect myself and my family.

Alice: You’re welcome, Webber. I’m glad I could help. Remember, if you ever have concerns about a product, don’t hesitate to reach out to the store or the product manufacturer for information. We’re all part of ensuring food safety.

Webber: Speaking of food safety, I just remembered I have both an opened and an unopened bottle of that spicy sauce at home. How should I go about returning or exchanging them? And what’s the best way to dispose of the opened one?

Alice: For the unopened bottle, you can bring it back to the store with your receipt for a return or exchange. We have a straightforward policy to accommodate recalls or safety concerns, so it should be a hassle-free process.

Webber: And for the opened bottle, what do you recommend?

Alice: For the opened bottle, we advise against consuming it, given the safety recall. The safest way to dispose of it is to pour it into a sealable bag to prevent any leaks and then throw it away in your household trash. Please don’t pour it down the drain as it could potentially harm wildlife or contaminate water sources.

Webber: That makes sense. I hadn’t considered the environmental impact. I’ll make sure to follow your advice. Thank you for guiding me through this. Is there anything else I should be aware of when handling recalled food products?

Alice: You’re welcome, Webber. And yes, when handling recalled food products, it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands and any surfaces the product may have come into contact with. This can help prevent the spread of any potential contaminants. Also, keep an eye on public health advisories for any updates or further instructions regarding recalled products.

Webber: I appreciate your help, Alice. You’ve been very informative and reassuring. I’ll make sure to handle the sauce as you’ve suggested and keep up with any updates on the recall.

Alice: It’s my pleasure to assist, Webber. If you have any more questions or need further assistance in the future, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to ensure you have a safe and pleasant shopping experience.


Basic Food Safety Principles

  • What are the four basic principles of food safety?

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses

  • How can cross-contamination be prevented in the kitchen?

Proper Food Storage

  • At what temperature should refrigerated foods be stored to ensure safety?

Safe Food Handling

  • What are the guidelines for washing fruits and vegetables?

Cooking and Reheating

  • What is the minimum internal temperature that chicken should reach to be considered safe to eat?

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

  • How should a kitchen manage and prevent cross-contact with allergens?

Personal Hygiene for Food Handlers

  • Why is hand washing important in preventing foodborne illnesses?

Understanding Food Labels

  • How can expiration, sell-by, and use-by dates impact food safety?

Safe Seafood Consumption

  • What are the guidelines for choosing and consuming seafood safely?

Emergency Food Safety

  • How should food be handled and stored during a power outage?

Product Availability

  • How can I find out if a specific product is in stock?
  • Is there a way to check if the organic avocados are available before I visit the store?

Store Hours

  • What are the store’s operating hours?
  • Can you tell me the store hours for Sundays?

Product Information

  • Where can I find nutritional information for store products?
  • How can I find the calorie count for the bakery’s whole wheat bread?

Special Offers and Discounts

  • How do I know about current promotions or discounts?
  • Are there any ongoing deals on dairy products this week?

Payment Options

  • What payment methods are accepted at the store?
  • Can I use digital wallets like Apple Pay for my grocery shopping here?

Product Quality and Safety

  • How does the store ensure the freshness of its products?
  • What measures are in place to ensure the fruits and vegetables are fresh and safe to eat?

Store Layout and Navigation

  • How can I easily find different sections in the store?
  • Is there a store map or app that can help me locate the gluten-free section quickly?

Special Dietary Needs

  • Does the store offer products for special dietary needs?
  • Where can I find lactose-free dairy alternatives in the store?

Return Policy

  • What is the store’s return policy on groceries?
  • Can I return a carton of milk if I find it spoiled upon opening it at home?

Online Shopping and Delivery

  • Does the store offer online grocery shopping and delivery services?
  • How can I place an order online for home delivery, and what are the delivery charges?


Chapter 1: The Quest for the Safe Kitchen

Marco, with years of experience under his belt, understood that the foundation of a safe kitchen rested on four basic principles: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. This mantra was not just a set of rules but a philosophy that Marco lived by. He made it his mission to ensure every member of his team understood these principles, integrating them into their daily routines to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Chapter 2: The Cross-Contamination Conundrum

One day, a new apprentice named Lucy joined the kitchen. Despite her enthusiasm, Lucy was unfamiliar with the complexities of kitchen hygiene, particularly the prevention of cross-contamination. Marco saw this as an opportunity to teach. He illustrated how using separate cutting boards for different food types and maintaining a clean workstation could be the difference between a healthy meal and a health hazard.

Chapter 3: The Cold Truth

As the seasons changed, Marco emphasized the importance of proper food storage. “Refrigerated foods,” he explained, “must be stored at or below 40°F (4°C) to ensure safety.” This lesson was vital, as maintaining the right temperature could halt the growth of harmful bacteria, keeping their ingredients fresh and safe.

Chapter 4: The Fresh Start

With the arrival of spring, the bistro’s menu was adorned with vibrant fruits and vegetables. Marco seized this moment to guide his team on the guidelines for washing produce. “Clean water and gentle scrubbing,” he advised, “can remove dirt and reduce the presence of microorganisms.” This simple yet effective practice was crucial for serving healthy and safe dishes.

Chapter 5: The Heat of the Moment

A crucial moment arrived when the team was tasked with preparing a large banquet featuring their signature chicken dish. Marco reminded them, “Chicken must reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to be considered safe.” This guideline was not just for chicken but a standard for cooking all meats, ensuring they were free from harmful bacteria.

Chapter 6: The Allergen Alert

Amidst the chaos of the kitchen, Marco always maintained an organized approach to managing and preventing cross-contact with allergens. He implemented a system where allergen-free meals were prepared in a separate area, using dedicated utensils, to ensure the safety of guests with food allergies and sensitivities.

Chapter 7: The Importance of Clean Hands

The cornerstone of Marco’s food safety lessons was personal hygiene, particularly hand washing. He instilled in his team the critical role hand washing plays in preventing foodborne illnesses, making it a non-negotiable part of their routine.

Chapter 8: The Label Literacy

Marco believed in the power of knowledge, encouraging his team to understand food labels thoroughly. He explained how expiration, sell-by, and use-by dates could impact food safety, guiding them to make informed decisions when using ingredients.

Chapter 9: The Seafood Selection

As the bistro was renowned for its exquisite seafood dishes, Marco shared his wisdom on choosing and consuming seafood safely. He taught his team the signs of fresh seafood and the importance of proper handling to ensure a safe and delightful experience for their guests.

Chapter 10: The Unforeseen Challenge

An unexpected power outage tested the team’s resilience. Marco, with his calm and collected demeanor, guided his team on handling and storing food safely during the emergency, showcasing the importance of being prepared for any situation.

Through Marco’s journey and teachings, the narrative not only unfolds an engaging story of a kitchen’s daily challenges and triumphs but also educates readers on the crucial aspects of food safety, blending entertainment with learning in a novel that adheres to TOEIC Gold Level English standards.


  • The presence of harmful bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms in food, which can cause illness, is known as __________.
  • To prevent __________, it’s important to keep raw meat separate from vegetables and cooked food.
  • The temperature range in which foodborne bacteria can grow most rapidly, between 40°F and 140°F, is known as the __________ zone.
  • Washing hands, utensils, and food surfaces frequently helps to prevent __________.
  • Foods like poultry, beef, and eggs need to be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful __________.
  • Using a __________ thermometer is essential for verifying that food has reached a safe internal temperature.
  • __________ are guidelines used by food industry professionals to manage and minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
  • The process of heating foods to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is known as __________.
  • To slow the growth of bacteria, leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours, a practice known as __________.
  • The __________ requires certain facilities to follow specific regulations to ensure food safety, including restaurants and grocery stores.

  • Pathogens
  • Cross-contamination
  • Danger
  • Contamination
  • Pathogens
  • Food
  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)
  • Pasteurization
  • Rapid cooling
  • FDA (Food and Drug Administration)