More than 55,000 people in Kern County receive assistance know as WIC, which stands for "Women, Infants, and Children."
Now, there are new allegations across California claiming price gouging is going on in many small stores.
Recently, a small WIC authorized store in the Bay Area was charging $7.80 for a pack of 18 tortillas.
Many regular consumers also say WIC is to blame for high food prices in many small stores which authorize WIC.
In Kern County, $40 million is spent each year on WIC funding, that’s taxpayer money.
There haven't been any reports of that much of an extreme here, but our local WIC department says they have seen overpriced items like milk and cheese at some stores.
Christine Dodd of Clinica Sierra Vista says, "This has been brought to the state's attention. Some stores that are charging higher prices than they should and they have responded to that and they have changed the pricing schedule so they will be in comparison with other stores."
WIC is cracking down on small stores with higher prices through shelf surveying to make sure prices are controlled.
Fernanda Salazar is a mother of two. She receives WIC assistance, and she's concerned with high food prices. "It shouldn't be happening because we are barely getting by and it shouldn't, because that is why we are getting WIC, for low income families. And, it is not fair that we are going in and thinking that we will be able to buy with this when we are not."
It's not only WIC recipients bearing the brunt of these high prices, regular consumers are too. They say WIC authorized stores give owners a license to raise prices on certain items.
California's WIC program is the largest in the country. It has nearly 1.5 million recipients and costs our state nearly $1 billion each year.