Cooking Without A Trace: NC Mom Raises Food Allergy Awareness With Snack Company

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RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — The rate of food allergies among children in the United States has increased 50% since the late 1990s, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Allergic reactions can range from stomach problems to something more serious and even deadly.

A Raleigh mom was determined to create snacks that were safe for her and her kids, but still good.

It started out of necessity.

“You’re at the airport, you go to a convenience store and you try to find a snack. Nine times out of 10, I have nothing to eat, otherwise I would eat those weird canned eggs that are in airport convenience stores,” explained Brooke Navarro. “It was my favorite. I felt like there had to be something better.

Navarro decided she was going to create the best option.

“Without a Trace” chips, cookies, granola bars and snacks are made without traces of major allergens, such as eggs, newspapers and peanuts.

“Between my mom, my daughter and I, combined, we are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and legumes,” Navarro added.

She wanted to make sure that her daughter and the other children wouldn’t feel left out in class or at parties, as she often did growing up.

“Those memories are still very, very vivid in my mind. I think people really downplay the emotional impact of food allergies on kids,” Navarro said.

Everything is handmade by his parents and a handful of workers in their facility off Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh.

“Sans Trace” launched in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

Navarro told CBS17 that business really took off when the kids got back to school, camp, activities and had playdates again.

“We wanted them to have colorful and tasty snacks and everyone wanted to eat, so they didn’t feel so alone and left behind,” she explained.

According to the CDC, one in 13 children has a food allergy.

That’s about two children in each class who have trouble at snack time.

Allergy rates are rising and it can be dangerous.

“People don’t really understand how bad it is from a physical point of view,” Navarro said. “It’s not just like ‘oh, I don’t like it or it gives me a stomach ache’…it’s something that can actually kill you.”

Navarro got a phone call years ago when she was dating her husband.

“We were out eating, and I had an anaphylactic reaction and the next thing you know, I’m in the ambulance on the way to the hospital,” she said.

She wants to make people aware that food allergies should not be taken lightly.

“You could go from being totally fine to a minute later having your throat closed,” Navarro added.

She told CBS17 that if people are hosting parties or gatherings, it’s best to assume someone will have a food allergy.

She said it can be really isolating and recommends asking guests ahead of time how they can be accommodated to include them in any food-related festivities.

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