About Us

VCFSA HISTORY

The idea of having a Ventura County Food Safety group started in 2015 with Tomas Gonzalez and Laura Miller. They noticed that there were very little food safety resources and training’s available in the county and professionals in the industry had to travel to the San Joaquin, Santa Maria or Salinas Valleys to attend these events. While speaking to Jose Luis Gomez Carrasco, a science expert out of Oxnard, Tomas and Laura made the decision to gather some local industry representatives to discuss this idea. In May of 2016, with the help of AGQ and Jose Luis, the first unofficial meeting was held. Shortly after this meeting, in June of 2016, another meeting was held and officers were elected. Unofficial meetings continued as awareness gathered momentum. In September of 2016, the non-profit corporation was formed.

As word around the county grew, so did enthusiasm and attendance. The association soon needed a larger space to gather as attendance numbers were in the 70’s. Speakers were lining up to present to this group, official training’s were planned and membership dues were established. To date, June of 2020, the association continues to grow, with over 40 different produce packers, processors, distributors, vendors, labs and cooling companies within the county in attendance. Growers are starting to express interest, allowing the association to expand its reach. Food Safety professionals in Ventura County are coming together as a team sharing knowledge and strategies as any recall or food borne illness affects the entire industry. Ventura County is making it known that truly, “Food Safety Has No Competition”!

Our Officers

Christopher Summers, President and CEO

I was raised and educated in Ventura County. After graduating in 1999, my entire career has been devoted to food safety and helping VC farmers and packers meet the ever increasing standards for safe products. Focusing on labor and cost efficiency, I am dedicated to introducing practical and science based solutions to local businesses. Email: csummers@vcfsa.org

Laura Miller, Vice President and COO

I’ve been working as a food safety professional for over 13 years. My experience ranges from consulting to hands on managing of food safety systems in various food sectors; from field through distribution and all steps in between. I love what I do, especially working with people to help interpret and develop creative solutions to stay compliant with state, federal and various scheme guidelines. I’m blessed to be involved with VCFSA and this board of dedicated professionals that have passion towards our mission. My educational background includes earning a masters degree in Food Science and Management from Washington State University. Email: lmiller@vcfsa.org

Roxanne Ostrem, Director of Public Relations

I was raised in Ventura County, been in the Agriculture industry for 24 years with the focus on Food Safety at the field, packing, cooling and processing levels. I have worked with Regulatory, State of California, Ventura County Ag and the FDA. We all are in Food Safety together in Ventura County, making sure food is safe for our family, friends and neighbors. Email: rostrem@vcfsa.org

Tomas Gonzalez, Director of Programs

I have over 30 years of experience in fruit quality assurance and over 20 years in food safety in Ventura County. I attended Ventura College in 1982 with an associate degree in Business Management. Email: tgonzalez@vcfsa.org

Cierra Anderson, Parliamentarian

After graduating from California State University Chico in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, it was to my surprise that I found myself involved in my family’s ranch management business developing their Food Safety Program. Later on that year, I was hired on with a Sunkist Lemon Packinghouse as their Food Safety Manager, where I oversaw Food Safety for the packinghouse as well as their growers. Then in 2018 I received an offer from Mission Produce, where I am currently their North America Food Safety Supervisor, overseeing the Food Safety Programs for 9 Distribution Centers. Email: canderson@vcfsa.org

Cy Cavaletto, Director of Recruitment

I come from a long family history of working in the Ag industry growing lemons and avocados. I have been working in food safety since 2014. Email: ccavaletto@vcfsa.org

Nivia Santiago, Treasurer and CFO

After completing my Bachelor’s in Food Science from Penn State University, I worked for a food laboratory as a Microbiologist in Boston. I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Food Science from Alabama A&M University. Email: nsantiago@vcfsa.org

Lynn Grayson, Controller

I was raised in a farming family and have had the opportunity to work in agricultural accounting and financing for most of my life. I have worked in Imperial County, the central Valley and Ventura County with growers, shippers, packers, processors and harvesters. Email: lgrayson@vcfsa.org

Fernando Mora, Director of Fundraising

I have spent most of my life here in Ventura County surrounded by agriculture and beautiful beaches. I have spent the last 9 years at Hygiena working with the agriculture and food manufacturing communities, by helping them implement environmental monitoring program and hygiene verification systems, within their food safety plans.