A Virginia Beach, Va., woman has opened what she is billing as an "allergy-free" grocery store to help parents whose children suffer from food allergies.
Jennifer Elizondo left a lucrative job with a defense contractor to open the new grocery store. She became interested in the food allergy problem when her son Vaughn, 3, went into anaphylactic shock the first time he ate peanut butter.
Grocery shopping became so complex that Elizonda decided to open Navan Foods, a grocery store to help her family and others who suffer with food allergies.
There are several online stores offering allergy-free food products and most major supermarkets carry at least some allergy-free products but local allergy-free retail outlets are relatively rare.
About six percent of children under the age of three have food allergies, and shopping for them can be exhausting, Elizonda noted.
The most common food allergies among children include milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts such as walnuts and cashews, fish, and shellfish, like shrimp.
Most children will eventually outgrow food allergies, though peanut and tree nut allergies usually last a lifetime, meaning a lifetime of never leaving home without an EpiPen to administer an emergency, life-saving injection of epinephren.
The opening coincides with National Food Allergy Awareness Week.