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Sentinel Site Program

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Sentinel Site Program ®


At Tyson Foods, we employ a rigorous environmental microbiological surveillance program termed the "Sentinel Site Program®". We began this program in 1999, well before the regulatory requirements of 9 CFR §430 were promulgated.

This program is designed as an on-going verification of the hazard analysis regarding the potential for post processing contamination of RTE products with Listeria monocytogenes (L.m.). Specifically, it represents an ongoing assessment of the HACCP plan and the conclusion that post-processing contamination of RTE products with L.m. is not a hazard reasonably likely to occur. This conclusion is justified by the data previously collected, which demonstrates that food contact surfaces are not harboring L.m. These data continue to be collected and analyzed to assess the on-going potential for this hazard to occur.

Data are collected through the Sentinel Site Program® on a weekly basis from food contact surfaces, non-food contact surfaces, as well as indirect-food contact surfaces. If and when a surface returns a positive test result for Listeria spp., an investigation is conducted and corrective actions are taken before the line is eligible to resume production. Once production has resumed, the surface is subject to intensified monitoring for Listeria spp. to confirm that a harborage does not exist. In the event that any surface on the production line returns a positive test result for Listeria spp. concurrent with this intensified monitoring, we immediately reassess the HACCP plan and incorporate a CCP for the control of Listeria monocytogenes. In the event that test results necessitate finished product testing for Listeria monocytogenes, a robust sampling plan is employed. This sampling plan is based upon The International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) criteria for a severe hazard.

Finally, the Sentinel Site Program® also includes provisions for random sampling of finished products. These samples are collected as a verification of the effectiveness of the program. Over the course of the last 16 years, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to maintain our RTE processing areas in a manner that ensures the production of safe and trusted food products.

For additional Sentinel Site Program® information, email Tyson Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance. Please remember to include your return email address.