Director of Food Safety and Quality
Taylor Farms Retail, Inc.
Kari Valdés is the Director of Food Safety and Quality for Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. She is responsible for FSQA and Sanitation programs for the retail division of the Taylor system and holds a national role for retail customer compliance. With 19 years of experience in the produce industry, Kari brings a wide range of farm to fork solutions in the quickly changing dynamics of food safety associated with fresh-cut produce.
“I enjoy a hands-on approach”, says Valdés. “It is important to ‘walk the walk’ to understand the process and ensure that procedure implementation is valid to the science, as well as designed to the flow and practical application of the operation.”
Throughout her career, she has managed food safety and quality aspects from field to finished product. As an advocate for Food Safety Culture, she enjoyed the partnership with growers and harvesters implementing water testing, product testing, and overall audit compliance requirements. She has focused on Sanitation, Environmental Controls, Wash Water Controls, Sanitary Design, and more in the plant.
Kari served as an elected member of the Hartnell College Board of Trustees (2008 – 2010). Her love for Hartnell and Agriculture Food Safety provided for a natural fit for Salinas. Kari serves as an active member of the steering committee as well as a presenter for the Western Food Safety Conference since its inception in 2006.
Kari was an active participant during the initial creation of the LGMA food safety standards. She also served on the IFPA/ United Fresh Technical board since 2004 and was involved in numerous programs and papers developed by the committee and participated in guidance creation such as the published Best Practices for Garment Use in Fresh Cut Produce Plants.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis MN, Kari has been surrounded by agriculture her entire life. Parents Gary and Gayle Scheidhauer instilled a strong family priority and work ethic. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Stout, she packed her belongings up in a U-Haul with her car pulled behind to find opportunities awaiting in California.
When Kari, husband Francisco (Chato) Valdés, and their two children Mateo (10), and Adrian (8) aren’t driving food safety initiatives they enjoy the great outdoors of California. Favorite activities include boating, wakeboarding, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, downhill skiing, hiking, running, all things involving the beach.
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