Sentinel Site Program®

We rigorously test for post-processing contamination to ensure safe, responsible food for consumers.
Lab worker
The pursuit of safer food doesn’t stop.

In 1999, we created the Sentinel Site Program® to test for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) contamination in our fully cooked food processing facilities. 

Plant surfaces are extensively tested each week. A positive result triggers an investigation. Any necessary corrective action is taken, and more frequent monitoring is conducted when production resumes. 

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a team member stands next to a production line

More about the Sentinel Site Program®

We started the Sentinel Site Program® in 1999, well before the regulatory requirements of 9 CFR §430 were finalized. This program is designed as an ongoing verification of the hazard analysis regarding the potential for post-processing contamination of RTE products with Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in our fully-cooked processing facilities.

Through Sentinel Site, data are collected on a weekly basis from food contact surfaces, non-food contact surfaces, and indirect-food contact surfaces. If 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. This includes additional data collection, or microbiological sampling, to aid in understanding the scope of the contamination.

Once production has resumed, the surface is subject to what we call “intensified” or more frequent monitoring for Listeria spp. to confirm that a harborage does not exist. In the event that any food contact 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 Lm. In the event that test results necessitate finished product testing for Lm, 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.

For additional information about the program, email Tyson Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance.