Nutrition Services Division Information Alert
To: All Child Nutrition Program Sponsors
Attention: Food Service/Program Directors, School Business Officials, School Nurses, Administrators
|Date: May 2009|
|Subject: Swine Influenza: Resources and Updates from the United States Departments of Agriculture and Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Governor Schwarzenegger|
This Information Alert (IA) provides resources for your district/agency to obtain updated information regarding the recent outbreaks of “Swine Flu.”
On April 26, 2009, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement that you can view/download from the following USDA Web page: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal?contentidonly=true&contentid=2009/04/0130.xml . The USDA also has information relating to pandemics in general, which can be found on the following USDA Web page: http://www.fns.usda.gov/disasters/pandemic/default.htm .
The USDA has also released Frequently Asked Questions on the issue, which we have included below, and that you can view/download from the following USDA Web page: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal?contentidonly=true&contentid=2009/04/0131.xml .
Further, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell is extremely concerned about how the swine flu may affect California schools and issued a News Release and a letter that you can view/download from the following California Department of Education (CDE) Web pages:
http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr09/yr09rel62.asp (Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid) and http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr09ltr0429h1n1.asp (Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid).
The United States Department of Health Services (USDHS), Office of Minority Health’s Health Alerts Section has updated their Web site at:
http://www.omhrc.gov (Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid, and has been replaced with: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/
). Please use the green “widget” on the right side of the page to navigate to updated information. Whenever the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds new information, the USDHS widget automatically updates flu information on their Web page, which includes the following CDC Web link: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
, Spanish language information at http://www.omhrc.gov/espanol/ (Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid, and has been replaced with: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/espanol/
), and related information from the World Health Organization (WHO) at the following WHO Web page at: http://won't/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html
Governor Schwarzenegger has also outlined the rigorous and thorough response under way in California, which you can view and download from the following California Governor’s Web page:
http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12129/ (Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid).
If you have any questions regarding this IA, please contact your SNPU county analyst by reaching Susan Phun, Office Technician, School Nutrition Programs, by phone at 916-322-1450 or 800-952-5609, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from the USDA on Swine Influenza
- Do any swine in the United States have the virus that has infected humans?
- There is no evidence at this time that swine in the United States are infected with this virus strain.
- Can I get this new strain of virus from eating pork or pork products?
- According to USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted to people by food so you cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills all viruses.
The USDA suggests, as it has in the past, cooking pork and pork products to the proper internal temperature and preventing cross-contamination between raw and cooked food is the key to safety. You should:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw pork
- Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw pork away from other ready to eat foods
- After cutting raw meat, wash the cutting board, knife, and countertops with hot, soapy water
- After washing, sanitize cutting boards and countertops by using a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water
- Use a food thermometer to ensure pork has reached the safe internal temperature of at least 160°F to kill foodborne germs that might be present
- Can I get this flu by touching pork that is not yet cooked?
- There is no evidence at this time that the virus is in swine or that touching uncooked pork could infect someone with the virus.
- What is this flu that people are talking about in the news?
- It is a new strain of flu that consists of a mixture of genetic material from swine, avian (bird) and human influenza viruses.
- Is USDA testing and monitoring to make sure swine are not infected with the virus and if so, how?
- Yes. A network of federal veterinarians, state animal health officials, and private practitioners are regularly involved with monitoring U.S. swine for signs of significant disease. To date, there have been no reports that the influenza virus currently causing illness in humans is circulating anywhere in the U.S. swine herd. As a proactive measure, USDA is reaching out to all state animal health officials to affirm they have no signs of this virus type in their state. USDA has put U.S. pork producers on a high alert for safety.
- How will the public be notified if the government finds that people should not eat swine?
- Delivering factual, timely information is a priority for USDA. Should there be a detection of influenza in the U.S. swine herd, those results would be shared with the public in a timely fashion.
- Can you get this flu from being around or touching swine?
- Yes. The CDC says that the spread of swine flu can occur in two ways:
- Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses.
- Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu has also been documented and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- How do we ensure that we take the appropriate measures to protect our swine?
- We encourage commercial pork producers to intensify the bio-security practices they have long had in place. They should not loan equipment or vehicles to or borrow them from other farms. Swine from outside sources, such as live bird markets should not be brought back to the farm. They should permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm. Swine workers should disinfect their shoes, clothes and hands. They should thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment and vehicles entering and leaving the farm and avoid visiting other livestock farms without proper cleaning and disinfection. Also, they should report sick animals immediately. The industry understands the importance of eradicating the virus as quickly as possible to protect the industry.
- Is my potbelly pig in danger? Can I get it from my pet?
- There is no evidence at this time that the virus is in U.S. swine. Swine owners should learn the warning signs of swine influenza. Signs of swine flu in pigs can include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed (loss of appetite). If your pig is showing any of these signs, call your veterinarian.
Buy your animals from reputable sources and ensure that you have documentation of your new pet's origin. Be sure that you get your new animals checked by a veterinarian. Keep your pigs and areas around them clean. If you have been around other animals, make sure that you clean your shoes, clothing, and other items. Do not forget to wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling your pet.
- Is there a vaccine for humans for this new strain?
- The CDC should answer any questions about a vaccine. According to the CDC, there is no vaccine to protect humans from this new variant swine flu. Please visit the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov for more information.
The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) has received numerous phone calls regarding the school food authorities' (SFAs) responsibility to provide school meals during school closures resulting from the H1N1 virus. The following provides the NSD's answers to frequently asked questions.
- If our school is closed due to H1N1 virus, is an SFA required to serve meals to students?
- No. According to California Education Code (EC) Section 49550, SFAs are required to serve one nutritionally adequate meal each school day; therefore, if a school is closed as a result of the H1N1 virus, the SFA is not required to serve school meals.
- If our school is closed due to H1N1 virus and provides a nutritionally adequate meal to students, can SFAs recoup lost meal reimbursement?
- Not unless a State or federal disaster is declared. According to EC Section 49505, schools that are closed due to a State or federally declared disaster may apply for reimbursement to offset fixed expenses, such as salaries that continue to accrue during the temporary closure. Please note that meal reimbursement is contingent upon available funding in the State's Reserve for Economic Uncertainties. While many counties in California have been declared as a "Public Health Emergency," this declaration does not yet constitute a State disaster; therefore, schools are not currently eligible to apply for reimbursement to recoup lost funds. Information regarding an SFA's responsibility to serve meals during a disaster is available on the CDE Disaster Relief Guidelines Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/disaster.asp.
- During a school closure, can students come to school at the beginning of the week to pick up bag lunches to consume at home for the week, and can I claim reimbursement for those meals?
- No. Unless the school is closed due to a federally or State declared disaster, meals served to children on non-school days cannot be claimed for meal reimbursement. Additionally, only meals served to children at school are eligible for meal reimbursement, unless the meals served are part of a supervised field trip.
- If the H1N1 virus school closure extends the regular school year, can I change my Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) start date?
- Yes, you may begin the SFSP anytime after the last day of the school year and/or extended school year. If the SFSP start date is delayed due to an H1N1 virus related school closure, you are required to report this date change by submitting a Site Change Request form via fax 800-333-5775.
- Is the flu considered a disaster in California?
- According to the California Emergency Management Agency Preparedness Branch, a pandemic flu outbreak can be considered a type of State disaster. Additional information is available on the California Emergency Management Agency Web site at
http://www.oes.ca.gov/WebPage/oeswebsite.nsf/Content/4CFBE30D371496C988257350005375A7?OpenDocument(Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid).
Please note: While a pandemic flu outbreak can be considered a disaster, the H1N1 flu virus has not yet been declared a state of emergency/disaster; therefore, if a school is closed as a result of the H1N1 virus, the SFA cannot claim reimbursement for meals served.
The NSD will provide additional updates related to the H1N1 virus by listserv. Additional information related to flu prevention is available on the CDE Flu Prevention Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/fluinfo.asp.
If you have any questions regarding this correspondence, please contact your School Nutrition Program Specialist by phone at 800-952-5609 or 916-445-0850, or you may speak with your Nutrition Services Division Field Services Child Nutrition Consultant.