Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

April 1999


FAILSAFE (formerly the Dietpage) supports families using the low-chemical elimination diet recommended by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers - for health, behaviour and learning problems.

Failsafe is now available free by email. Just send your email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



• preservative in bread - really necessary?

• arthritis

• antioxidants

• failsafe seminar

Questions: - additives

• school canteen

Cooks Corner: - Birgit's meatballs, garlic pasta

Bread preservative


Today Tonight recently featured a program about preservatives in bread. Telling us "it is well documented that additives in foods and drinks can cause severe mood swings in some children", the program showed scenes of a children's party where children helping themselves to lollies and cordial became loud, restless, rude and aggressive.

Do parents realise that a preservative in a healthy food like bread can cause the same effect? The scene moved to a Darwin party with children who had taken part in a study of the effects of bread preservative in children's behaviour. Party foods were failsafe including Brumby's preservative-free bread.

Mothers talked about the effects preservative 282 on their children: "trashed their room", "ran away", "affected her writing (writing backwards), her concentration at school, her ability to function in a social group". Other effects noted in the study included irritability, restlessness, inattention, sleep disturbance, loud voice, lethargy, headaches, stomachaches and bedwetting.

Most parents had never suspected their children's problems were caused by bread.

Of eight supermarket or fast food bread or bun samples analysed by Today Tonight six contained preservative 282 including four at the maximum permitted level.

Flour and breadmaking premix supplier Mark Laucke from Laucke's flour mills in SA suggests that preservatives in breadmaking are not necessary: "We've found that taking preservatives out of bread products gives a better presenting product, one that tastes better, smells better and we believe is inherently safer for people, so we just don't add preservatives.

"Invariably, someone will be affected some time so we chose to affect as few as possible by adding none".

Some readers were disappointed by the reply from Dr Anne Swain from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Clinic who suggested that authorities wouldn't allow preservatives in food if they weren't safe. "The positives come with the negatives so for the majority of the population, adding propionates to bread has actually been a positive thing but for a small percentage of the population, probably some 5 to 10 %, they suffer side effects from this bread preservative".

Take your pick. The "only a small percentage are affected so that's their problem" approach or Mark Laucke who endorses the principle of least harm and doubts whether these preservatives are necessary anyway. Note that "a small percentage" means between 900,000 to 1.85 million people.

If you missed the Today Tonight show, videos are for loan or sale at cost ($5.50), with $5.50 extra for postage. Send a cheque or money order for $11 to PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804.

Free loan to groups. Enquiries 08 8981 2444 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Readers' comments



1) More about arthritis


"Before the elimination diet, I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my hands and the joints of my arms. The pain and swelling and loss of movement had been gradually developing over a number of years. As a pianist this was obviously of some concern to me. On doing the elimination testing, I found all the arthritic symptoms ceased after cutting out wheat. Now I have been symptom free for a couple of years unless I eat wheat again. Then the symptoms are all back when I wake up the next day, and the severity depends on the amount I eat."


2) Report of an antioxidant (310-121) challenge with a 5 year old


"Antioxidants have been the big one! - within half an hour of eating McDonalds chips (at 6.30 pm) my daughter Kirsty was in her bedroom screaming and stamping her feet, basically hysterical. This reaction was caused by something small like asking her to put her book away. From there it continued for about an hour.

Next day she was really down, miserable, whingy etc but perked up by mid-morning. After 1/4 packet of Lays chips at about 2pm she lasted 40 mins before going off the rails. This time her friend Sarah pushed my other daughter on the swing and Kirsty wanted to do it. Kirsty ended up screaming at Sarah, and causing a very embarassing scene that poor little Sarah couldn't understand. This time it lasted about an hour with Kirsty going from screaming to sobbing and sulking. All evening she was very touchy and was put to bed early so that I didn't kill her. Next morning she still wasn't happy.


MORE READERS' DETAILS AND READERS STORIES at http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories




A FAILSAFE Seminar will be held on Friday, June 4th at 7.30pm in the Claridge Centre (school library) at West Moreton Anglican College, Ipswich, Qld. Enquiries, phone Deborah 07.3812.2304

Your questions:



Q. Where can I get descriptions of food additives?


A. The "New Additive Code Breaker" by Maurice Hanssen, (Lothian, 1991) details every permitted additive indexed by name and number. The section on sulphites will make you wonder how this group can be so widespread. Be warned, the information on adverse effects is not up to date, eg 160(b), 282, 635.




• Cadbury's cocoa "with the real taste of chocolate" contains an artificial flavour that can compromise an amine challenge. Buy "pure cocoa".

• Sausages marked "preservative and gluten-free" are probably not Failsafe. The filler may contain herbs and spices.


Product recommendations

• Toothpaste

Mothers who wouldn't dream of giving their child a red icypole often overlook pink or blue toothpaste. Coloured or mint-flavoured toothpaste used every day can negate an elimination diet. One child experienced irritability and a major temper outburst after using highly coloured and flavoured fluoro blue fruit-tasting toothpaste provided at school by the school dental nurse. Try Soul Pattinson's Plain Toothpaste from Soul Pattinson's chemist shops. Hint: tell your child that regular toothpaste is not acceptable, "so you will have to clean your teeth with salt from now on". Next day, announce "I managed to get you some special toothpaste!" so the child compares the new taste to salt, not mint.


FAILSAFE food suggestions for school canteens

"We realise it is in our own interests to support families using this diet" - primary school assistant principal.

The following items are extracts from the canteen list at a Darwin primary school. They are all either failsafe or additive-free as marked.




Pies (additive-free from Brumby's)

Fried rice (no MSG)




cashew paste

pear jam

Philly cheese


egg and lettuce

fresh chicken meat

chicken and lettuce

*all bread is preservative-free

*Nuttelex spread is used




rice cakes with spread

Kellogg's rice bubble treats

Kettle chips

Magic Cordial icecups

plain water icecups (10cents)

Dixie ice cream cups

Brumby's iced finger buns

Pascall's white marshmallows

Granny's butterscotch




plain milk

bottled spring water




hard boiled egg (free range)

vanilla fruche

At a recent sausage sizzle which offered sausages or failsafe sausages and hamburgers, orders for Failsafe food outnumbered regular sausages three to one. For a complete canteen or sausage sizzle list or more information, phone Deborah, 08 8932 1520.


Cooks' corner

Garlic pasta


5 tbsp preservative-free canola oil

2 cloves garlic

3 tbspns chopped parsley

pinch of salt

1 lb of pasta (regular or wheat-free)

Saute the garlic in the oil until the garlic is slightly brown. Discard the

garlic. Cook and drain the pasta. Pour the warm oil over the pasta,

sprinkle with parsley and salt and toss it thoroughly to mix all the ingredients. Serves 4

- Kerry McDowall


Birgit's glazed meatballs


500g mince

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1/2 cups peas

parsley, chopped

salt to taste


1 and 1/2 cups rice bubbles (or 1/2 cup rice flour if gluten-free)

2 tbspn canola oil or butter

2 tbspn homemade pear jam or golden syrup (in Darwin you can buy pear jam from the health food shop in Galleria)

Combine mince, garlic, shallots, peas, parsley, salt, egg and rice bubbles and roll into walnut-size balls. Shallow fry in hot oil. Remove meatballs from frying pan. Reduce heat and put pear jam in pan, stirring until it caramelises (be careful not to burn), put meat balls back in pan and glaze gently with jam, again being careful not to burn. - Birgit Setiawan




This newsletter available free by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail for $10 per year from PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804. Thanks to Margie Turner, Ashley, Kerry, Gwen Higgins, Deborah Halliwell, Robyn Bailey, Susan Bull and readers for reports. © Sue Dengate (text). Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up by Sue Dengate Random House, 1998 and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books, 1991.