PHFE WIC’s Kiran Saluja Recognized for Breastfeeding Advocacy

Congratulations to Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN, the Executive Director at PHFE WIC who recently received the Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research (CHEER) 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award! CHEER recognizes and honors her lifelong dedication and achievements in breastfeeding advocacy.

Throughout her career, Kiran has been committed to the health and nutrition of parents, infants, and children. Her passion and advocacy for breastfeeding stemmed from her own personal inability to breastfeed her first daughter when she was misinformed by hospital professionals. Through WIC, she now helps educate, support, and advocate for women who want to breastfeed and have faced similar situations.

She has served on several committees, including the Board of the National WIC Association (NWA) and even served as Board Chair in 2012. Kiran represented the NWA in 2010 before the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee which resulted in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. She has also supported the USDA WIC Breastfeeding Social Marketing campaign at the Institute of Medicine, now known as the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, in 2011.

Her most memorable achievements are speaking before Congress, co-founding Breastfeed LA, breastfeeding her own children, and supporting her own daughters with exclusive breastfeeding. Kiran enjoys spending her time with her husband of 42 years, three daughters, and two sets of twin grandchildren. She also enjoys time with friends, walking, cooking, and listening to audiobooks.

Congratulations to Kiran for all the advocacy towards breastfeeding and sharing her vision!

“Breastfeeding should be the default for all moms and especially WIC moms. The education and support necessary to make this happen must be prioritized while at the same time the facts about the mediocrity of formula should be well understood. I am proud of the strides made by the WIC program and know that we have a LOT MORE work ahead of us.” – Kiran Saluja

Join CHEER for a virtual celebration in March 2023! The official date will be announced soon.

Keep Your Food Safe During Power Outages

If you’re experiencing a power outage, some refrigerated or frozen foods may still be safe to eat. Keep your food safe to prevent foodborne illness. The health risk is higher for pregnant people and young children.

How do I keep food safe during a power outage?

  • Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer and keep the doors closed.
  • Most refrigerated foods will stay cold for about four hours.
  • A full freezer will keep most food frozen for two days, and a half-full freezer will keep them frozen for one day.

How should I store breastmilk or formula?

  • Pumped breastmilk can be refrigerated for up to four days or stored at room temperature for four hours.
  • Infant formula can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours and should be used within two hours of taking it out of the refrigerator.

When is my food safe to eat?

Use appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer to know that your food is safe to eat. Your food is safe if:

  • Your refrigerator temperature is at or below forty degrees Fahrenheit
  • Your freezer temperature is at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit

When should I throw out my food?

Never taste food to decide if it is safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out! Throw food out when:

  • The temperature inside your refrigerator is above forty degrees Fahrenheit for four hours or more.
  • Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or leftovers has been inside the refrigerator for four hours without power.
  • Food has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

WIC Families Buy More With the WIC Bump

WIC families receive a cash value (CVB) for fruits and vegetables as part of their WIC food package each month. Since June 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved an increase to the amount families receive for pregnant and postpartum parents and children over the age of one – the “WIC Bump.”

Average number of different fruit and vegetable types redeemed by CVB amount

A recent study by PHFE WIC’s Research Team showed that the CVB increase resulted in a larger variety and amount of fruits and vegetables redeemed. The current increased fruits and vegetables benefit is approved through September 2023.

Families can shop for fresh, dried, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables in any brand, type, or combination, including organic with their WIC benefits.

Read the full data brief on the study completed by PHFE WIC’s Research Team here.

Severe Weather and WIC

California Department of Public Health sent a text message to WIC families saying, “CA WIC: due to the bad weather we are having, your WIC benefits may be affected in some areas. Call your WIC office or 1-800-852-5779 for questions.”

Benefits may already be available on your WIC card. Check the food balance screen of the CA WIC app, for questions text 91997.

Appointments are available by phone. Contact your local office or text us at 91997 to schedule an appointment.