TAMPA, Fla. — The main corporate kitchen at Tampa based Fitlife Foods looks more like the entrance to a sterile lab.
It's a giant white room with stainless steel countertops. Employees are dressed head-to-toe in protective gear.
Dedication to food safety has always been important here says Fitlife founder and CEO David Osterweil, but now it's more important than ever.
Osterweil said his team members enter through a “sanitary vestibule” before gloving up. They walk through sanitizing-solution and put on their food-grade gowns, head and face masks.
Many of these food safety protocols were in place even before COVID-19 gripped the nation, but now the meal prep company says it's doing even more. For example, employees now get temperature checks daily as they arrive for work.
“We've upped everything from sanitation to environmental swabbing across the board to go above and beyond,” Osterweil said.
Fitlife is among the many restaurants and food delivery companies working to keep up with customer demand for protections from the coronavirus.
“Minimal social interaction to get the products you depend on is just critical,” Osterweil said.
Panera Bread offers similar options along with "Mindful Packaging." Employees seal up the bag so no one accidentally coughs inside.
It's the same reason Osterweil said customers back at Fitlife Foods are no longer allowed to reach inside refrigerators to pick out their meals. Instead, an employee wearing gloves grabs the meal for you.
“We don't want anybody, touching that customer's meal until that customer touches it at their own home," Osterweil said.
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touching that customer's meal until that customer touches it at their own home.”