Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

July 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.



  • Who sees the effects?
  • In brief: sneezing, MacDonalds in court again, organic vegetables, drunk drivers
  • Colour in butter - who needs it?
  • FAILSAFE sausages
  • Cooks Corner: beef and leek pie, chicken and shallot pie



Who sees the effects?


"We see the effects of foods on these kids' behaviour. It was one of the first things to hit us in the face when we started running these courses," says Senior Constable Steve Neuhaus of the Australian Federal Police and executive director of the Eagles Rest Outdoor Education Centre. Steve's presentation at the National Youth At Risk Conference last week included a section on diet. Troubled teenagers who embark on the five-day character-building wilderness courses are required to go additive free. Police, volunteers and even a politician have seen with their own eyes the benefits of this policy. One group hiked 15 kms to the summit of a mountain for a lunch of instant noodles. "You could see they'd eaten something at lunch which affected them. They were so different on the way down, running all over the place, running into trees. We worked out it had to be something in the flavour sachets," said Canberra independent MLA Dave Rugendyke, who accompanied the group.

For more details about the courses offered by the centre, phone Eagles Rest on 02 6227 9232, fax 02 6227 9230, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The text of Sue Dengate's presentation to the conference will be available on our website in July.


New survey shows real increase


Two U.S. paediatricians were so alarmed by a sharp increase in children's behaviour problems in the sixties and seventies that they reported their observations in medical journals. Both Dr Ben Feingold and Dr William Crook were convinced that the increase in food additives was associated with the children's problems. As Dr Crook describes:

"In my general paediatric practice in Jackson Tennessee (pop 50, 000) in the 1950s, my partners and I were "the only game in town". Yet we only saw an occasional hyperactive kid ... In the 1970s, I saw so many hyperactive children that I kept records ... "

A new survey has confirmed the real increase in children's behavioural and emotional problems, despite medical claims that ADHD is genetic and that any apparent increase is due to better diagnosis, see table below. There has also been an increase of 273% over 11 years in the incidence of the relatively new disorder of autism, as reported by the Atlanta Centre for Disease Control.

Children's emotional and behavioural problems


1979 total doctor visits 6.8%

ADHD 1.4%

depression and anxiety negligible

1996 total doctor visits 18.7%

ADHD 9.2%

depression and anxiety 3.6%


- Kelleher and others, Pediatrics, June 2000


Why are they worse?


Why are there more children with behaviour, learning and health problems than ever before? Why are our children more sensitive to the effects of food chemicals, especially natural chemical like salicylates? These are common questions from readers. The answers may lie in our increasing exposure to chemicals of all kinds since the 1960s.

As well as increasing doses of food additives, there has been an increase in our intake of salicylates through the trend to spicier foods, fruit concentrates, and stronger peppermints. This has happened at the same time as growing use of industrial chemicals. Over the years we have reported studies showing that solvents, PCBs and lead are associated with children's behaviour and learning problems (see "Order in the House" on our website). Children with developmental problems are more susceptible to the effects of food chemicals. The latest chemicals to be implicated are dioxins.

Even low levels of dioxins can disrupt children's developing nervous and immune systems according to a leaked report from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The report also found that the risk of developing cancer as a result of exposure to dioxins is 10 times as great as previously estimated. "It's the developmental exposures that will be more significant," argues Ellen Silbergeld, an epidemiologist and toxicologist at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, although the EPA's dramatic cancer estimates have attracted most attention.

Dioxins are a by-product of many industrial processes, including waste incineration, paper bleaching and plastics production. The chemicals build up in the environment and also accumulate in animal fats in foods such as meat and milk.

While the Chlorine Chemistry Council questions the evidence, Greenpeace spokesman Rick Hind says that the main problem stems from the industrial use of chlorine. The EPA may decide to advise people to avoid fatty foods while arguing that the food supply is fundamentally safe. According to Greenpeace, the EPA should insist that industrial processes producing high levels of dioxins should be replaced by safe alternative methods.


Postscript: thank you to readers who forwarded a world-wide email about dioxin in tampons. You can buy dioxin-free tampons like Cottons, "100% cotton, no chlorine bleach", available at Coles.

Further reading:

New Scientist magazine, vol 166 issue 2240, 27/05/2000, page 19

Weiss B, Food additives and environmental chemicals as sources of childhood behaviour disorders. J Am Academy Child Psychiatry, 1982, 12:144-152



In brief


Retired tax inspector Patrick Webster, 52, from Hampshire in southern England sneezed hundreds of times a day for 37 years. During this time Webster saw more than 60 doctors. He never married, spent most of his life feeling exhausted and retired early. Prescribed medications made him sick. As a result of taking steroids for 20 years he now has osteoporosis. Webster's sneezing stopped when he changed his diet, as advised by a nutrition clinic. "I have been eating muesli for breakfast for as long as I can remember. As soon as I gave up eating the foods they indicated the sneezing stopped," says Webster. - WE Australian,1/6/00, p2


The struggle of the small man against blind market forces is scheduled for a rerun in a tiny village in France. Last year French farmer Jose Bove and nine colleagues dismantled a McDonald's franchise in their village using sledgehammers and a tractor. The farmers argue that McDonald's is a symbol of industrial food production and the destruction of traditional farming, different cultures and ways of life. "There was no other way to demand our rights", says M. Bove. More than 30,000 supporters have poured into the village of Millau for the so-called McDomination trial. - www.mcspotlight.org

Organic vegetables are generally ten times higher in nutrients than supermarket produce, according to Australian Government Analytical Laboratory analyses. For example, organic green beans contained 480 mg/kg of calcium compared to 40 for supermarket varieties, and 3.4 mg/kg of zinc compared to .38 in their supermarket equivalents. The full results are available in a brochure from ORGAA, phone 03 9737 9799.

Drunk drivers kill more people each year than all the world's wars put together. Despite road safety education, every driver thinks he is the exception and can get home safely. This feeling is due to the effects of alcohol which erode your performance while subtly increasing your feeling of invincibility. Computer game columnist Andy Mahood recently settled down for an evening of drinking and driving - using a racing car simulation, that is. On Sierra's Grand Prix Legends which features particularly spectacular crash effects, Andy's performance steadily deteriorated until he found it difficult even to get out of the pits without causing a multi-car pile-up. His conclusion: "If you must drink and drive, please try this at home. You'll have no illusions." PC Gamer, May 2000, p136



***Warning: Colour in butter - who needs it?


Start reading ingredient labels for more additives. ANZFA's Proposal P150 that will allow more additives in more foods has now been gazetted. One of the most disturbing changes is the proposal to add colour to a basic food like butter.

If you don't want annatto 160b natural yellow colour in butter and butter-containing products, we suggest you phone NOW to ask manufacturers to avoid this additive, see below. Annatto has been associated with a variety of food intolerance symptoms in RPAH research. We have received the most complaints about next-day irritability in adults and children, headaches and headbanging in toddlers.

Australian Dairy Corporation ph 1800 65 5441, fx 1800 245 048

Sara Lee (Croissants) consumer services hotline ph 1800 06 5056

Pampas (Butter Puff Pastry) ph 1800 033 050

Arnott's Biscuits (Glengarry Butter Shortbread) ph 1800 24 2492

Failsafe sausages


Taste-testers wanted for a new range of Failsafe sausages and rissoles. If you live anywhere in the Melbourne area or up to two hours from Melbourne, phone for a free taste-testers pack delivered to your home, all you have to do is eat them and say what you think of the product.

Phone Vicki on 03 9702 2831

Readers' comments

"I am thrilled to have at last found you on 'the net', the reason being my success thanks to your books. I had always suspected that foods and additives were a contributing factor in my son's behaviour and as I have always had a very additive free diet I was at a loss as to what could be reduced from our diet. Unfortunately we were huge fruit eaters. My children were always given a nice peach or whatever was in season, in preference to lollies etc. During the drought year of 1995 we noticed a remarkable improvement in his behaviour, the reason (as we now know) was that all those lovely raspberries, boysenberries, peaches etc, just weren't available to us ... We've stuck with the diet ever since ... He is by no means an angel now, but I no longer hate him. He went from a child in a remedial reading class to one of the top 5 in his year over that term. My main struggle now is convincing other parents and medical 'types' that it is worth trying diet before drugs" ...

- reader, NSW


"In the last nearly two weeks since we started the diet our son is getting ready for school quickly and is very happy – he used to be such a grump that you couldn’t look sideways at him ... However, last night I cooked a casserole and did all the wrong things. I added tomato paste and soy sauce. The children also had orange juice. This morning our son had his breakfast OK but from then on dawdled and fidgeted and played and was only just ready, with my help, in time to leave for the bus. He was surly and sulky at the bus stop and would not join us but kept kicking a signpost. I would once have thought that this was coincidence but after reading your book cannot think that it is anything but food related" ...

- reader, NSW


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

Your questions:

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


Q.Why do I keep hearing doctors say that only 5% of ADHD children are affected by diet?

A. There was a study in New Zealand seven years ago in which 1037 ADHD children were tested for food allergies (McGee and others, 'Allergic disorders and attention deficit disorder in children', J Abnormal Child Psychology, 1993, 21:79-88). Only a small percentage showed positive for allergies, which is exactly what we would expect. Behavioural reactions to foods are NOT true IgE-mediated food allergies, although many doctors have yet to realise this. Ignore the dietary advice of any doctors who think this study means ADHD children are not affected by food - they don't know what they are talking about!

Cooks' corner




Use Pampas butter puff pastry, see Fed Up p239, or see last newsletter for a gluten free, dairy free pastry base.


Beef and leek pie


Great as a pie filling and also as a topping to pasta.

500g mince

whole leek chopped

equal amount of cabbage to leek

cloves garlic

1 heaped teaspoon cornflour

enough water to make sauce, about 2 cups.

1 tbspn golden syrup

2 shallots, chopped

handful of mung bean sprouts

salt to taste

Combine mince, leek, cabbage, garlic, water and cornflour, bring to the boil and simmer until reduced, then add golden syrup shallots, bean sprouts and salt. Cook together until soft. For pies cook down longer for a firmer mix.

- Eleanor Staude


Chicken and shallot pie


Start with a white sauce with garlic and shallots

then add cooked chicken, celery, parsley and peas.

This is popular when we go out, too - people think our 'diet ' isn't too bad then ! I find it amazing sometimes that people think WE are eating weird food- until they taste it and realise it really is just food. On school lunches I realise how lucky we are now. Our school parent body bought an oven that is for use by staff and students. In fact the children refer to their lunches as foils - (they must be wrapped in alfoil to be heated.) We don't have a canteen so this is offered each day for the two middle terms. A student is responsible for putting lunches in and turning on the oven and a staff member takes them out and puts them in a box to be handed out in the eating area. Admittedly we are a small school - there are advantages!

- Johann Packer



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, Jenny Saal, Linda Beck, 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.