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Ashley Dombkowski talks about her job with a kind of reverence we’d all like to have.

The co-founder of Before Brands, a San Francisco-based start-up, wants to prevent food allergies in children before they take hold. She says she has a nephew with severe food allergies, and that familial connection makes her job, as she put it, “life’s work.”

The question is whether or not Before Brands’s method to achieve their stated mission will succeed. 

The problem, to be sure, is real. Food allergies among children in the United States have become much more prevalent in the 21st century. Around 6 million U.S. children under the age of 18 have food allergies, which amounts to one in every 13 kids, according to the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education. Of those, about one-third are allergic to more than one food. All this represents a 50 percent increase in food allergies among U.S. children during the period from 1997 to 2011.  Read more…

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