Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

November 1999

FAILSAFE 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.


  • Internet chat
  • Have your say
  • Hear no evil
  • teacher stress
  • health check


Sue Dengate will be a guest in the News Ltd internet chat room on Thursday 18th November at 8 pm Sydney time, 6.30pm Darwin time. Details under Calendar at the following website: http://www.community.news.com.au/ If in doubt, click on Help. I'd love to hear from you!



Those of us protesting against the increasing use of food additives in ANZFA's proposal P150 are often assured by health ministers and ANZFA that additives are thoroughly tested. But they are not tested at all for their effects on children's behaviour. Who do you agree with?

  • Parents who think food additives cause children's behaviour problems should "turn off the TV, spend more time with their kids, and look at their own problems" Dr Geoffrey Annison, Scientific and Technical Director of the Australian Food & Grocery Council, at the Sydney Sugar and Behaviour workshop in January, 1997.
  • "Minimising the concentrations [of food addditives] added to processed foods would be likely to reduce the frequency and severity of adverse reactions" Loblay RH and Swain AR Adverse reactions to tartrazine Food Technology in Australia 1985; 37(11):508-510.
  • "There is currently poor understanding and documentation of the extent to which the public is affected by food intolerance reactions and equally a poor understanding of the severity of the adverse effects in those affected individuals." Senator Grant Tambling, Chair of ANZFA in a letter to FINA 17/9/1999.
  • "... the recognition that food and food components can alter brain function and influence behavioural patterns indicates the need for appropriate neurobehavioural test procedures to be included in the test protocol for food additives" Rowe KS and Briggs DR Food additives and behaviour: an overview Aust J Nutr & Diet 1995 52:1,:4-10.
  • "The ADIs (Allowable Daily Intake) ... are at least 50 times greater for food dyes than the amounts causing adverse behavioural effects in some children. This comparison is a compelling argument for including behavioural testing in food additive safety evaluation. It is incongruous to continue conventional toxicity testing with food additives, which are so widely distributed, while we now insist on behavioural testing for commercial chemicals whose distribution is far more restricted." Weiss BF "Behavioural toxicity of food additives", Nutrition Update (Weininger & Briggs Eds) Wiley & Sons, 1983.
  • "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"... Mark Laucke from Laucke's Flour Mills in South Australia on Today Tonight show about bread preservative, May 1999
  • "We want to express our sheer anger against the ANZFA P150 ... Daily we try to keep our son away from drinks and sweets rigged with artificial colours, humble breads full of 282 preservative, sausages filled with sulphites ... vanilla ice creams with colour 160(b) ... the list is long and we don't want it longer. After our son has a soft drink, a few sweets or goes to certain food outlets, we know that shortly we will be unwillingly cast in that horror movie with Linda Blair, " The Exorcist ". We see these foods with additives affect the health and behaviour of our family. Reactions to food additives are definitely dose related and cumulative. We know from other parents of their behaviour related family problems. What about the increased proportion of hyperactivity in our children ? Do you think it is just a myth or a trendy fad? ... In our opinion this is institutionalised crime of Federal and State Governments and big business slowly poisoning the public, and most importantly, our children and our family". From a letter to health ministers by Jane and Richard van Hagen, see full letter on website.
  • "These changes will make it much more difficult for me to find food I can eat ... What I want is a change in the ANZFA regulations to make the use of these 50 additives less widespread, not more ... I believe the use of most food additives could be avoided altogether with better food preparation and handling practices" by Rebecca aged 16 (see full letter on website)

How do your children feel? As children are the most likely to be affected, perhaps they would like to tell the Ministers for Health themselves? (see last FAILSAFE newsletter)


Who are affected by food additives?

Most affected:

  • children (because of their proportionally higher dose/weight ratio)
  • women are twice as likely to be affected as men (because of hormonal influence)
  • the elderly (whose livers may not work as well at eliminating toxic compounds)
  • people who eat large quantities of processed food (teenagers, busy working families, the poor)

Least affected:

  • highly-paid men in their prime of life who eat at expensive restaurants



In June 1997 following the longest civil trial in British history, a British judge found it was not libel to accuse McDonalds of 'exploiting children' and deceiving customers about the nutritional qualities of their food. You won't hear about such decisions on Sydney radio 2UE. Presenters are banned from making negative comments about McDonalds because of a $170,000 advertising deal with the station. Weekend Australian, 30/10/99 p3



The greatest cause of teacher stress is "managing the frequent, persistent and hugely frustrating low-level bad classroom behaviour" (WE Australian 6/11/99 Education p16). Many teachers are keen for students to avoid the food additives which have been associated with irritability, restlessness and inattention

Readers' comments


I come from a family with a chronic history of heart disease. When my mother died of an early heart attack, my brothers and I had our cholesterol checked and we were all too high (mine was a very high 6.8). I was told then it was genetic and couldn't be controlled by diet. At that time I was eating a healthy, low-fat, low-sugar, wholemeal vegetarian diet with all the stuff which is meant to be good for you like heaps of fruit and vegetables, light olive oil and wine. We've now been failsafe for two years. With two young children I'm getting less exercise and I eat much higher fat (from soymilk and canola oil), more sugar, drink gin instead of wine and buy three dozen eggs a week for a family of four instead of one dozen. The result of a recent cholesterol test was a real surprise - 3.5 - which is excellent. I also had my blood sugar checked, because I had gestational diabetes with one of the children. It's fine. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

- Mother of 2, NT

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

Your questions:


Q. "What's in salty plums? My students come in after eating them at recess and they can't sit still or concentrate". Teacher, NT

A. It depends on the brand. As well as plums, licorice, sugar and salt, some contain red colour (129) which would definitely account for restlessness and inattention. Others contain sulphur dioxide (220) so watch out for asthma or behaviour problems. And some contain "permitted preservative" which is not a legal label.

Q. "Can 'allergies' be seasonal? My son is always good during the winter. He starts to get silly during the spring and he's a real terror all summer." Alana, NSW

A. We used to see this in Darwin every year because the bakery would double the amount of bread preservative 282 in September to prepare for higher humidity. Now they use the highest amount all year round and kids are affected all the time. It's a slow build up reaction to a healthy food they eat every day so mothers never realise what's causing the problem. If bread says 282 on the label it may contain anywhere from nothing to the maximum level - and it might change tomorrow!

*** Warning Warning ***

Another failsafe food gone: Birdseye canola ovenbake chips have started adding yellow colour 160b.

***Product recommendation***

Pav's Allergy Bakery supplies a wide range of gluten free breads, pizza bases, hamburger rolls and dinner rolls including many failsafe items. The oil is canola, no antioxidants. They will send frozen loaves or bread premixes all over Australia (distributed in Darwin by Parap Fine Foods). Ask for the catalogue, phone 02 9829 7811, fx 02 9829 7822. 1/11 Moorelands Road, Ingleburn 2565..

Cooks' corner

Deborah's vege pie

bread or rye bread, buttered

left-over cooked vegetables

leeks, garlic, celery, swede chopped and sauteed in canola oil


6 eggs and ½ cup milk, beaten together

grated mozzarella (optional)

Line a pie dish with slices of bread, butter side down. Spread over cooked slliced or mashed potatoes. Add any other left over cooked vegetables. Spread with a layer of sauteed vegetables. Sprinkle with salt. Pour over egg mixture. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Good hot or cold. - Deborah Halliwell.


High-fibre lunchbox muffins

These have a nice nutty flavour.

1½ cups self-raising flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup rice bran

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup milk or soymilk

¼ cup canola oil

Sift flour in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring with a fork until mixed. Brush a 12 cup muffin pan with oil and spoon mixture into cups until ¾ full. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until golden. Ice with thin white icing if liked.

New email support group

There are now mothers from nine countries in our new email discussion and support group, sharing their failsafe recipes, successes, laughs and dramas from how to obtain failsafe food and what icing sugar is called in the USA to how to change your school's policy on junk food.

To join, http://fedup.com.au/information/support/email-support-groups You will receive every message posted by group members. To contribute, press reply. How to unsubscribe details are on the foot of each message.

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, Melita Stevens, and reader 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.