Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

June 2000


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.



  • Food manufacturers respond
  • A meeting with ANZFA
  • Talks in Sydney and Gosford
  • Organic foods popular
  • Book review: A Toxic Playground
  • Warning: Funny Bunny Game
  • Support Groups
  • FAILSAFE food tasting
  • A weight loss story
  • Cooks Corner: garlic toast, lunchbox pear or apple pies, gluten-free pastry


Food manufacturers respond


Thank you to all our members who complained about preservative in Vanilla Fruche. According to the manufacturers, who emailed me "Sorbic acid [Preservative 200, not 220 as reported on the website, sorry] will be removed from our Vanilla product asap, and from the fruited products by next summer. All our yoghurts and Fruche and Petit Miam will then be preservative free."


A meeting with ANZFA


A representative from the national food authority emphasised food safety and consumer health at a meeting in Darwin with FINA and food manufacturers to discuss the new Food Standards Code. But this was only food safety relating to food poisoning. 11,000 Australians a day suffer from food poisoning. We put this in context by pointing out that 1-2 million Australians a day suffer from adverse reactions to food additives. As with food poisoning, some may even die, for example, from asthma. There were some food manufacturers sympathetic to our view who wanted to know which food additives cause problems. In our latest submission to ANZFA FINA suggested:

* including the list of 50 additives known to cause problems in the Food Standards Code

* labelling EVERY additive used in a compound food, regardless of quantity or function. These are currently loopholes in both old and proposed new standards.


Talks in Sydney and Gosford


I will be talking on the effects of foods on children's behaviour health and learning in the next few days:


* Sydney, Roselea school, Wednesday 31st May, 7.30pm, Roselea School, North Rocks Road, Carlingford, Physio Room (next door to the Hall)

Contact Dianne 9876 4208 or Annette 9876 4498

This is the first meeting of the new Sydney Food Intolerance Support Group


* Gosford, Niagara Park Community Hall, Thursday 1st June, 10.30am. Phone Anne Dunn, 02 4324 2726




- Sue Dengate



Organic foods popular


A groundswell from consumers concerned for their health and the environment has contributed to "an exponential growth in the organic market" according to Scott Kinnear, chairman of the Organic Federation of Australia. Australia is expected to follow Europe where in 15 years time, 30% of all food sold will be organic. Retail sales of organic food in Australia have risen from $96 million in 1996 to an estimated $250 million this year. In Coles supermarkets the number of organic grocery items has increased by 600 percent this year, and the company says in that in Victoria, sales of organic carrots have doubled each month for the past 12. People are increasingly concerned about the safety of food and are choosing organic food that is additive-free, chemical-free and not genetically modified. Some organic foods, like potatoes, cost about the same as their commercially produced counterparts. Other foods, like onions, are difficult to grow organically, and can cost 100 per cent more. "Organic food is not expensive," says Kinnear, "traditional food has been too cheap for too long, with serious environmental damage as a result."


- Further reading: Financial Review, 19/1/00, p8.



Book review:

The Toxic Playground

A guide to reducing the chemical load in schools and childcare centres by Jo Immig


Toilet freshener blocks and air fresheners may contain paradichlorbenzene, an organochlorine which is readily absorbed into the body by inhalation and can cause adverse effects. A wealth of information about children's exposure to these and other commonly used chemicals is provided in a well researched, up-to-date and attractively presented book from the Total Environment Centre. It provides a range of workable alternatives on a comprehensive range of topics from headlice to carpet cleaning. Author Jo Immig is an environmental science graduate who began her career giving advice on non-chemical options for pest control. For the last five years she has worked as Chemicals Campaigner at the Total Environment Centre, where they obviously practice what they preach. The first thing you'll notice is the non-toxic, user friendly smell of the book. Highly recommended!

$23 plus $3 postage from Total Environment Centre, Level 2, 362 Kent Street Sydney NSW 2000, ph 02 9299 5599, fx 02 9299 4411, http://www.joimmig.com/images/toxic.pdf


Warning: funny bunny game (as mentioned in Failsafe #13)

"This same sort of game was played in my state earlier this year, as part of a middle school "field day." There was a difference in that others were apparently putting the marshmallows into the student's mouths, until they could hold no more. According to the news report, one girl suffocated because the marshmallows tend to melt in the rear of the throat and can't be easily cleared in their gooey form. It was quite a sad day for the school, which hosted the game, and surely unbearable for the parents of the girl who died so unnecessarily in the innocence of a simple game."


- Thanks for the warning from this reader in the USA.



Support Groups


Auckland NZ, phone Linda, 09 416 9438

Darwin, phone Deborah 08 8932 1520

Ipswich Qld, phone Deb 07 3812 2304

Melbourne, phone Jenny 03 9740 5645

Perth, phone Janelle 08 9257 1447 (new group)

Sydney, phone Dianne, 02 9876 4208 or Annette 9876 4498

Warragul Vic, phone Fiona, 03 5623 2243

Wollongong, phone Bernard 02 4229 8595

Failsafe food tasting


We'd like to hear from any Melbourne residents who would like to take part in free Failsafe sausage taste testing.

Readers' comments


I have recently joined the FailsafE Fan Club after watching the Current Affair special. You'll be pleased to know that all of my local bookstores immediately sold out of "Fed Up" and several orders were placed.

I was so frustrated to not be able to get my hands on a copy of the book, the symptoms that the children described were identical to things my daughter has been experiencing for the past year, voices in her head, a motor that never stopped running, hating herself and others, arguing with adults, and a worsening learning delay.

I logged on to your web page, read all the newsletters, made a manual list of all the readily available Failsafe products, printed off the "Big 50", and immediately eliminated preservatives and colourings from my pantry and my shopping list.

The most obvious reaction has been the elimination of the bread preservative 282. We have had a breadmaker for 12 months now but had recently become lazy and had reverted back to using commercial breads. I could never understand how my daughter could be an angel for one whole day and then spend the next 5 days angry and sullen. The Reader's Stories showed me that preservative 282 could be the culprit. I am now only using Laucke's pre-mix in my breadmaker or commercial bread without 282. My daughter's Oppositional Defiant Disorder has disappeared within a week. My husband and I were so dumbfounded when we issued an instruction last weekend - expecting it to be completely ignored, followed by a stormy argument - to have my daughter jump up, reply "Yes, Mummy, sorry I didn't hear you the first time", carry out the task and then return to her play. We sat and looked at each with stupid grins on our faces for a full five minutes.


- Reader, by email


"I have been reading and re reading your book for a few weeks now and am very excited about going ahead with this diet. I can only sit and wonder why so much has been missed by so many over so many years. You have given me some avenues to follow which no one has ever been able to do before."


- Reader, by email



Your questions:

Check out the newly updated Questions and Answers section in the website with detailed answers to your questions:

  • Q. I have been wondering since reading your book if my son may have always been intolerant to foods, even my breastmilk. He had skin rashes/eczema in the first weeks of his life and was a very difficult baby (reflux, colic) until I stopped breastfeeding him. At the time it was felt that this was because I had enough milk for two babies and very heavy let down that this little baby was trying to guzzle! I wonder now if he was so unsettled because I was eating foods he reacted to.
  • Q. Having just finished reading your book "Fed Up" this morning (great thing to do on Mothers Day), and then rushing around the kitchen to look at the ingredient labelling on many of the foods we eat, I felt that I must e-mail you promptly to ask if you know of any elimination diet friendly dietitians in and around Fremantle, Western Australia???
  • Q. I was wondering if you could offer any suggestions as to how to get my son to take the 'antidotes' you suggest. He's not able to take tablets yet and I 'wore' the bicarb I tried to get him to have!
  • Q. We have found that our daughter, who has a mild case of ADHD, may be having some reaction to different food colourings and flavourings. We have noticed that every time she stays with her grandmother, who feeds her Froot Loops, she is unbearable. We are looking at the elimination diet and hopefully she will improve. We explained to her why we are doing this and she seems to be quite co-operative with it. Now it is waiting and seeing time.
  • Q. Our children aged 6 and 10 yrs become uncontrollable after eating some foods, we had previously put it down to being sugar. Can you see any other links between cordial (pale colours as we have always been wary of colouring), apple juice (no preservatives listed), muesli bars, chocolate and lollies? The reactions are almost immediate with the children going "hypo".
  • Q. After four weeks on the elimination diet, I gave my kids one Usana children's chewable vitamin pill (Usanimals) each. All four kids reacted for a week, like "silly cats" - silly, jumping around, wouldn't listen, couldn't concentrate, fighting with each other. The little ones were the worst. I couldn't believe it, how could one tiny little pill be so bad?
  • Q. There is a new herbal supplement in the USA which is supposed to really help kids with ADHD. Is it FAILSAFE?




Q. Do overweight people lose weight on Failsafe foods?

A. Some people do. A Failsafe Sydney mother happily changed from a size 18 to size 12 in a year without even trying. But we recommend you forget about weight loss until after you have finished your elimination and challenges. If you're lucky the weight might fall off. Or you might have to work at it, like the story below. If you want, you can follow a similar regime, with permitted fruits and vegetables.


A weight loss story


A Sydney school teacher lost 80kg (12 stone) in 16 months in London by eating a low fat, high fibre diet and exercising and, when she came home, her family didn't know her.

Weighing 136 kg (21 stone), Jeanne Mithieux, 28, left Australia in 1998 to teach in London. She saw a picture of herself in a swimming costume and determined to return home for the millennium event so slim that no one would recognise her. She didn't tell her family what she was doing.

Jeanne began eating branflakes with low-fat milk and an apple and orange for breakfast. She had fruit during the morning break at school and soup or a jacket potato for lunch. For dinner she ate fish and vegetables followed by fruit and low-fat yoghurt. Jeanne said she had the occasional treat: a muesli bar, a bar of diet chocolate or a glass or red wine, but she avoided butter, margarine, biscuits, cakes, cream, anything fried, nuts, dressings with oil and avocadoes. She also began to exercise.

"I was so unfit I started by just doing the housework more actively for five and then 10 minutes at a time," she said. "Then I bought aerobics tapes and worked out to them." The flab fell off. At Christmas, 1998, she took up running. "I started by running round my living room until I could do it 800 times without stopping. Then I tried running outside. I now run every day, whatever the weather."

After 2 and a half years away, she returned to Sydney weighing 57 kg (9 stone). "I was nervous. My family met me at the airport but looked right through me. I went straight up to them and said: "Hello, it's me". Then I hugged my mother. Her body tensed up and she looked at me blankly. She thought a complete stranger was trying to hug her.

"Eventually, they realised it really was me and all any of them could say all the way home was: "I can't believe it".

Jeanne is determined to stay slim. "I've changed my way of thinking and changed what I think of as a treat. I now get such a high from exercising that I don't need to comfort eat. "I would say to anyone that the only way a diet will really work is if you really want it for yourself. You just can't do it for anyone else".


- Daily Mail, 16/1/00


Cooks' corner


Garlic toast


2 slices bread, rye bread, rice bread

butter or Nuttelex

1 clove garlic

Toast bread slices in toaster. Spread with butter. Cut garlic clove in half and rub cut side on buttered toast for a quick snack.


Lunchbox Pear or Apple Pies


2 sheets of Pampas Sweet Puff Pastry (or GF pastry see below)

5 ripe pears (peeled thickly) OR golden delicious apples (peeled thickly) - moderate in salicylates

(water with 1/2 tsp ascorbic acid to cover fruit while you are preparing the fruit, to prevent browning)

sugar to taste (1/4 cup)

1/2 tsp citric acid

3 - 4 tsp. of cornflour

8 small (approx 10 cm or 4 in) pie dishes OR you could use muffin tins

Cut up thickly peeled pears or apples. Place in water with ascorbic acid to prevent browning. When finished drain off all water. Add sugar and citric acid. Cook in microwave until soft and mash. Mix cornflour with a little cold water and then add some of the cooked fruit. Add this back into the fruit and cook on the stove until thickened. Remove from heat and cool until no more than luke warm and preferably cold.

Defrost two sheets of Pampas Sweet Puff Pastry. Cut into quarters. Place each quarter into a pie dish and shape to fit leaving corners hanging over the edge of the dish. Place about a tablespoon of fruit in each pie dish. Fold over the edges of the pastry into the middle to cover the fruit.

Bake at 200 degrees C (390 degrees F) or 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for fan forced ovens, for about 15 to 20 minutes. These are nice hot with icecream or cream, but extra yummy cold (good lunchbox food).


- Alison Cliff


Gluten-free pastry


Being gluten-free, this pastry is easier to press in than to roll, and makes an excellent pear or apple tart.

225 gms plain gf flour

1 tsp Ward's gf baking powder

100 gm butter or Nuttelex

25 gm sugar

1 tsp guar gum


Sift flour, baking powder and guar gum together. Rub in butter. Add enough water to form a dough. Press into a 20 cm pie plate. Bake at 200°C 15-20 mins. Cool and fill with prepared filling (above).


Email support group


There are now mothers from ten countries in our new email discussion and support group, sharing their 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, Deborah Halliwell, Alison Cliff, Jane Moore, Dorothy Bowes, Additive Survivors Network (UK) and contributors © 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.