Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

May 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.



• take sillycats seriously

• diet for ADHD

• research - effects of food colours

• new discussion support group

• failsafe group news

• product warnings - Monsta

Cooks Corner: - secret pancakes, Japanese tofu


New discussion list


You are invited to join our new email Failsafe discussion list. It is intended to provide support for people doing the elimination diet or eating failsafe food. Share your problems, triumphs, recipes and help others. Each message will be sent to everyone else on the list.

Join the list by sending your joining request to: http://fedup.com.au/information/support/email-support-groups


Group news

Wollongong NSW group meets monthly on a Friday evening at St Brigid's Primary School Gwynneville, phone Bernard, 02 4229 8595

Palmerston NT group meets monthly on a Monday evening at Bakewell Primary School, phone Deborah,08 8932 1520

Ipswich QLD network, phone Deb 07 3812 2304

In Darwin, Birgit's pear jam & ketchup (Fed Up pages 288,290) is now available at Parap Fine Foods. Failsafe sausages available at Fannie Bay, Parap & Palmerston Quality Butchers (you have to ask for them).


Take sillycats seriously


"I can't even pronounce salicylates, let alone understand them" complained one parent. The mother of a three-year-old has overcome this problem by calling salicylates 'sillycats', because her son turns into a silly cat when he eats them.

During the salicylate challenge, creche carers described his silly cat behaviour: "approached child from behind and bit on back", "hitting and pushing a lot" and "spat at another child".

Salicylates first reached public attention in the 1970s when American pediatrician Dr Ben Feingold suggested that children's behaviour and learning could be affected by natural salicylates in fruits and vegetables as well as some additives. Dr Feingold's list of salicylates was not complete. A new list of salicylate contents of foods in the 80s has led to far more successful results.

For people with a family history of food intolerance, salicylates are more likely to cause problems than any other food chemical.

In a study listed below, salicylates appeared in the top six problem chemicals for each major symptom:

• behaviour (salicylates, preservatives, nitrates, amines, MSG, colours)

• eczema (salicylates, preservatives, nitrates, colours, amines, MSG)

• irritable bowel (MSG, salicylates, nitrates, preservatives, amines, colours)

• lethargy/ impairment of memory and concentration (salicylates, nitrates, preservatives, MSG, amines, colours)

• migraine (nitrates, preservatives, salicylates, MSG, amines, colours).

Salicylates occur naturally in most plant foods. Compare the salicylate contents of the following breakfasts:




food salicylates

rice bubbles, milk, sugar 0

pear 0

egg on toast, butter 0

decaf coffee, milk 0

total 0




food salicylates (approximate)

orange juice 1

muesli (sultanas, nuts) 7

toast, butter, honey 2.5

tea, milk 2.5

Total 13mg

For some people, any amount of salicylates is too much. Western diets may include up to 200 mg a day of naturally occurring salicylates, compared with 300 mg of salicylates in an aspirin tablet. Items very high in salicylates include tomatoes (paste, sauce), grapes (juice, sultanas), broccoli, citrus fruit, cherries, strawberries, apple juice, mint-flavoured toothpaste.

Further reading: Loblay R.H. and Swain, A.R. (1986) 'Food intolerance'. In: Wahlqvist M.L., Truswell A.S., editors. Recent Advances in Clinical Nutrition. London: John Libbey, 169-177. Swain, A.R. and others (1985) 'Salicylates in foods' J Am Diet Ass 85, 950-960


Readers' comments




We started to use some of your foods [in 'Fed Up'] and in a matter of two days we noticed a difference with our two children who are ADHD. Our six year old was diagnosed ADHD 12 months ago.

He was in the top 3% for hyperactivity ... I felt up until a day or two into your diet we had been robbed of the normal loving caring relationship shared by mother and son and it makes me sick to the stomach that all the so-called top paediatricians and psychiatrists have never mentioned diet, only increasing the amount of Ritalin ... your diet works better and more consistently than Ritalin.

Our younger son is 15 months old and what a handful he is, exactly like his brother but with a temper, again the diet has helped him slow down and become more focused and much calmer to be around."

- Leesa King, NZ - see the full story and others at http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories


Research: effects of colours

Do hyperactive 4 year olds "grow out of it"? A Melbourne study suggests reactions change with age.

Children with behaviour problems were asked to follow a diet free of food colourings then given repeated doses of tartrazine yellow colouring (code 102).

Before the diet, children aged 2 to 6 years showed constant crying, tantrums, irritability, restlessness and severe sleep disturbance. They were described by their parents as disruptive, distracted and excited, high as a kite and out of control. Their parents were exhausted through lack of sleep and the constant demands of their children, who were unable to be comforted or controlled.

Children aged 7-14 were irritable, aimlessly active, lacking self-control, whiney and unhappy, "like a bear with a sore head".

Sleep difficulties were less likely to disturb the entire family. Symptoms improved on the colour-free diet and recurred on tartrazine challenges. Increasing the dose of tartrazine caused bigger and longer reactions.

Further reading: Rowe, K.S. and Rowe K.L. (1994) 'Synthetic food colouring and behaviour: a dose response effect in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, repeated-measures study'. Journal of Pediatrics (125),691-8.


Your questions:


Monster for a day


Q. What is in a Cadbury's Double Gum Monsta?

After three successful weeks on the elimination diet I let my seven year old son have one as a treat. Three days later we saw a "bad & sad" reaction. He wanted to hurt himself, wanted to be dead, wanted to run away from home. It was awful and so dramatic. He was aware of what caused the reaction and never wants to eat one again.


A. Each Double Gum Monsta (icecream on a stick) contains 20 doses of food additives plus artificial flavours. Of these, the additives which are likely to cause problems are: colours 102 (tartrazine yellow), 110 (sunset yellow), 122(azorubine red), 124 (Ponceau 4R brilliant scarlet), 133 (brilliant blue), 142 (brilliant green), preservative 320 (Butylated hydroxianisole, also known as BHA) and artificial flavours.

Reactions to food additives are dose-related and theoretically, anyone will react if the dose is high enough.


Good news about fish

Frozen fish develop amines. However, the latest from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Clinic is that fish which is frozen within 12 hours of being caught will be low enough in amines to be failsafe for two weeks.

Cooks' corner



Sharon Fishlock writes: "These have become a weekend favourite in our house. We cook up a big batch of pancakes, with soy milk of course (my 9yr old son loves to do this, a night off for me !) & then devour them with great enthusiasm. We top them with golden syrup, or 'citric water ' & sugar (a substitute for lemon juice & sugar ). To make the citric water (or secret water as my 5yr old calls it) we just add citric acid to water to taste . YUM. We also use citric water as a substitute for lemon juice in cakes etc."

Pancake mix: 1 cup plain flour, 1 egg, 1 1/4 cups milk, pinch of salt

Sift flour & salt, break egg and add to a well in the middle of the flour. Stir in flour gradually from the sides, adding milk a little at a time. When half the milk is used, all the flour must be moistened. Beat well to remove all the lumps & make it light. When quite smooth, add the remainder of the milk gradually. Stand it aside for 30 mins-1 hour. Melt a little butter in a pan, wipe dry with kitchen paper, melt another little piece of butter in the pan. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan, and allow it to spread evenly by moving the pan about. Cook quickly until set and under side is slightly brown. Toss or turn the pancake with a spatula, and cook on other side till brown. Drain on absorbent paper.



2 cms of gin in a glass (bit less than 1/4 cup)

1-2 tbspn golden syrup

1/4 cup stock

pinch salt


egg and flour for coating


Cut tofu into cubes, dip in flour, dip in egg, dip in flour again. Shallow fry in canola oil. Drain excess oil. Sprinkle in shallots. Pour sauce into pan, stir gently until sauce caramelises and serve. - Trish Hale




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, Deborah Halliwell, 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.