ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -- For one start-up in Alaska, the business of baby food is much more than smashed peas and carrots.
The founder of Bambino’s Baby Food said she’s developed a cookie that could prevent a young child from developing a potentially fatal allergy.
“It's designed specifically to help children become desensitized from peanut allergy,” said founder Zoi Maroudas.
Maroudas said it was her medical background that inspired her to develop the peanut desensitizing cookie called Peanut Mani. She began experimenting with different ingredients in 2015 after a groundbreaking report was released by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
According to the NIH report, early introduction of peanuts to infants at low doses "reduced the rate of peanut allergy in at-risk infants by 80 percent compared to non-peanut consumers."
“There's been a real paradigm shift in our thinking on food allergies,” said Dr. Melinda Rathkopf with the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska. "You know 10 years ago, we would have said completely avoid the food [at an early age.]”
Instead of avoidance, Maroudas’ cookies include trace amounts of peanuts to expose a young child’s immune system to the peanut protein at an early age.
“We took their findings, we took my background and then again we took the best rural natural raw ingredients and created that perfect unit,” said Maroudas.
Currently, Maroudas runs her business out of her family-owned pizza restaurant. She hopes to have a storefront open in the near future.
Desensitizing allergy treatment is not for anyone who has already developed a peanut allergy.