Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

November-December 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.



  • Talks: Canberra (18/11), Singapore (7/12), UK and USA tba.
  • Sleep disorders
  • Aspirin not such a wonder drug after all
  • Failsafe products: sausages, vitamins and medications
  • In brief: Ritalin, organochlorines, organophosphorus, Taco Bell GM corn
  • Diet not working as well as you like?
  • Questions: sneaky poos, asthma
  • Warning: mercury-based preservative in some vaccines
  • Cooks Corner: cracked egg pies, maple cashew butter

Hello everyone

This newsletter brings us to the end of a year which has seen both good news and bad news - increasing recognition of both food intolerance and children's behaviour disorders, and an increase in the dose of some permitted food additives and the foods permitted to contain them. Many thanks to all our readers for your continuing ideas, support, contributions and recipes as we continue towards our common goal of safe food for us and our children.

Wouldn't you like to be able to walk into any supermarket and buy a range of failsafe foods? The first small step towards this giant leap might just be happening in Victoria. See Failsafe Foods, below.

At the end of November 2000, I am leaving for a six-month round the world holiday with my family. If you live outside Australia I may catch up with you, see Talks on the website. Newsletters will continue during that time, but there will be no new website updates until June 2001.

Deborah Halliwell, leader of the Darwin Food Intolerance support group, will take over my email address (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with the help of other support group members, so you can still ask about dietitians and send questions. It's a good idea to read the checklist of common mistakes on the website first.

For those of you just about to start your elimination diet, I do recommend joining the discussion group. You can learn a lot just by reading the archives. Send joining requests to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please put "Failsafe newsletter" or "Failsafe discussion group" or "Both lists" in the subject line.

Again, thanks to everyone for your input, progress reports and thoughts and I look forward to catching up with you all next year.


- Sue Dengate




Canberra ACT Saturday 18 November 2000. Canberra Children's Services Resource and Advisory Program AGM 10.00- 11.00 presentation and 11.30 - workshop Annette 02 6295 3800


Singapore Thursday 7 December 2000. Details to be announced, enquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


UK March 2001 and USA April 2001. Details to be announced, enquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sleep disorders


Sleep deprivation has been the cause of major accidents around the world. People who suffer from sleep disturbance are not just tired. They can be grumpy or depressed. Their concentration, attention and ability to judge distances can be impaired.

More than one third of children suffer from sleep-related problems, according to a new study by researchers at Brown University School of Medicine. The study authors questioned parents, children and teachers in a suburban school district in Rhode Island. Out of 494 school-age children, 37 percent were found to suffer from a wide range of sleep problems, including bedtime resistance, sleep-time anxiety, difficulty in falling or remaining asleep, bedwetting, snoring or gasping during sleep, and daytime sleepiness.

While foods may not be the only cause, food chemicals can cause sleep problems such as difficulty falling asleep and frequent night waking, as shown clearly by researchers led by Dr Bonnie Kaplan in Canada and Drs Rowe and Rowe in Melbourne. Difficulty falling asleep and restless legs are two of the most common symptoms that improve on a trial of diet. Breastfed babies can be affected by food chemicals transmitted through breastmilk. Any food chemical can cause problems. Colours, preservatives and MSG to salicylates and amines, as well as industrial chemicals such as new carpet fumes have been implicated. All of the following symptoms have been associated with food chemical challenges by members of this network: difficulty falling asleep, restless legs, frequent night waking, night terrors, sleepwalking, snoring and sleep apnoea.


'My nine-year-old daughter used to get up every 10 minutes between going to bed at 8 pm and finally dropping off to sleep at 10.30 or later, every night. There were other things as well … she just wasn't her real self. After reading your book I put her on the elimination diet with great results. She had been living on a high salicylate and amine diet. What I thought was a healthy diet was not good for her at all.' - reader email


- Further reading: J. Owens et al, J Dev Beh Pediatrics (2000;23:27-36), (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10706346), Kaplan et al, Pediatrics (1989;83:7-17), Rowe and Rowe, J Pediatrics (1994;125,5(1):691-698)



Aspirin not such a wonder drug after all


This network often receives comments from relatives disturbed by the side-effects of an aspirin-a-day for heart disease prevention. New medical evidence suggests the disadvantages may outweigh the benefits. Presumably those most at risk are from salicylate-sensitive families.

As well as salicylate effects such as irritability, restlessness, foggy brain and sleep disturbance there are medically recognised side-effects of aspirin and other salicylate-containing drugs or NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Feldene, Voltaren, Orudis, Dolobid and Indocid). These side effects include hives, asthma, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing problems, heartburn, diarrhoea and gastric bleeding. In the USA, forty-one thousand patients are hospitalized and an estimated 3,300 die each year from gastrointestinal bleeding caused by NSAIDs used for treating arthritis or pain.

Now researchers have advised against the standard aspirin-a-day recommendation. A review of 24 studies involving nearly 66 000 patients found that even at very low doses, long-term use of aspirin carried a significant risk of gastro-intestinal bleeding. On average, 2.5 per cent of people taking aspirin suffered internal bleeding compared to 1.4 per cent of patients not taking aspirin - almost double the risk. The average number of pills needed to do harm was 106 per year. There was no evidence that switching to a low dose or taking a modified release formulation lessened the chance of bleeding. Aspirin is supposed to help people with heart problems because it helps prevent blood clots.


Further reading: British Medical Journal, 7th November, 2000.



Failsafe products


  • Failsafe sausages



Colin and Vikki of Colvik Focus Foods have produced a failsafe line of frozen sausages with our new FAILSAFE logo (red stamp font on a black oval background). One Coles supermarket in Victoria will soon be selling these for a trial period. If you live anywhere nearby, please buy some to show Coles that it is worth the effort selling them. See the Colvik website for details about how, when and where to buy their sausages: (discontinued) or email Vikki at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you don't live nearby, fill out one of those Coles How Can We Help You leaflets, telling them you want failsafe sausages in your supermarket.


  • Failsafe vitamins and medications



Trower Road Night N Day pharmacy, Darwin, is pleased to announce that they stock vitamins and medications recommended by RPA, eg Macro M multivitamins, Caltrate, Polycal energy supplements, sunscreen without PABA.



In brief

  • Ritalin ban for UK children under six. By the year 2007, according to Department of Health research, one in seven British children will be taking prescribed drugs to control their behaviour. The government's medicines watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) recently gave its approval for the use of Ritalin as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), although recommending that the drug should be banned for children under the age of six. Guardian Weekly, 9-15.11.00 p 8.
  • Impaired child development and increasing cancer rates are associated with a group of chemicals known as organochlorines, according to a compelling body of evidence. "Everyone on Earth now eats, drinks and breathes a constantly changing and poorly characterised soup of organochlorines, including dozens of compounds that cause severe health damage at low doses", says author Joe Thornton, a biologist at Columbia University's Centre for Environmental Research and Conservation. Further reading: Pandora's Poison, Joe Thornton, Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press, 2000, ISBN 0262201240.
  • In a recent Townsville, Queensland, study, the organophosphorous pesticide Chlorpyrifos was found in the meconium (first bowel discharge) of newborn babies. This follows a study where Chlorpyrifos and its byproducts were found in the urine of 89% of children tested in the US. As a neurotoxin, Chlorpyrifos can affect a child's intellectual and emotional development. The safe level for children is one tenth of that previously thought. All domestic uses of this pesticide are to be banned in the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced. Chlorpyrifos is one of the most commonly used pesticides in Australia and activist groups are calling for similar controls. - National Toxics Network
  • Kraft foods has recalled millions of Taco Bell taco shells in the US after the Washington branch of Friends of the Earth found they contained traces of genetically modified corn licensed only for animal feed. The corn, which is genetically engineered to kill an insect, is approved for use in animal feed but not in human food because of concerns that it could trigger allergies and because it has been modified in such a way that the human body has difficulty breaking it down. Kraft says it was a mistake. Friends of the Earth argue it shows that genetically engineered foods aren't regulated strictly enough. New Scientist worries that policing of this kind is left to a green activist group. Further reading: New Scientist, 30/9/00, p5, Washington Post, Marc Kaufman, 09/18/00.



Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?


One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the updated list on the website Checklist of common mistakes. Also new guidelines for extra sensitive amine responders, thanks to Alison and Karl from the email discussion group.

Readers tell us this list is very useful.


Readers' comments

'My wife has read "Fed-up" 100 times already and tried almost every recipe -delicious. Now she has started reading "Different Kids" and it is amazing! It's if we are reading our own diary regarding our son '. - reader, email


'I love the cartoons in Fed Up especially the one where the doctor with a perplexed look on his face looks at the slammed door and says something along the lines of "But most patients are pleased when I tell them there is nothing wrong with them". I know that feeling - but from the patient's viewpoint. I would love just one dollar for every doctor I've seen during my course of trying to discover what was/is wrong with me only to be told "there's nothing wrong with you - just get on with your life"!' - reader, email


'Have just seen your website ..... still going through it, but it looks great. Why wasn't there something like this when my son was first diagnosed with ADHD?????' - reader, email


'We just came from the pediatrician today and was told of the diet to put our 'sillycat' three and half year old son on. I've just put salicylates into the computer search and your newsletter came up. I am crying reading it, there are people out there with the same problems. Please please put us on your free email list.' - reader, email


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. My seven-year old son has been on the diet for 4 months. For three years, his doctors told me his sneaky poos weren't caused by what he ate, but within two weeks of starting the diet they'd stopped. He hasn't had asthma since we started the diet, either, except for twice when we went out and he ate ordinary sausages. Both times he had asthma the next morning. What could that be?


A. Sausages are preserved with sodium metabisulphite (223). It is the most likely of all additives to affect asthmatics. It is in many foods and the reaction can be delayed, which is why most people don't identify the effect until they go on the elimination diet.


**** Product Warning ****


Mercury-based preservative in some vaccines


A preservative in vaccines has been identified as a common source of childhood exposure to mercury. Preservative thimerosal (brand name Thiomersal) contains 49.6% ethylmercury by weight. Mercury is known to cause neurological damage even at low doses especially to the developing brain.

In the first half of the 20th century, many infants and young children developed a disease called acrodynia or Pink Disease (restlessness, rocking, handchewing, headbanging, developmental regression) and 10% died. Acrodynia was eventually found to be caused by mercury in teething powders.

Thimerosal has been present in vaccines since the 1930s but exposure rates jumped in 1991 when children started receiving more vaccinations, often multiple vaccinations in a single day, and at younger ages, with newborns receiving Hepatitis B injections before leaving hospital. Infants given multiple thimerosal-preserved vaccines have been exposed to mercury levels that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency safety guidelines by up to 125%.

A recent study sponsored by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found a significant association between exposure to thimerosal in vaccines and subsequent diagnoses of attention deficit disorder, language delay, tic disorder, and neurodevelopmental disorders in general. Parent groups in the USA are particularly concerned about late-onset autism, a relatively new disorder. Children typically develop normally until they receive their DPT or MMR shots then stop talking and interacting with people and develop autistic symptoms such as toe-walking, headbanging and armflapping.

According to the NSW Department of Health, as of July 2000 almost all vaccines currently administered to young children in NSW are now Thiomersal-free. Check with your doctor.


- Further information: www.safeminds.org. Pink Disease support group, PO Box 134, Gilgandra NSW 2827. Thanks to ADDult and Family Association of NSW.


Cooks' corner


Cracked egg pies


6 slices bread

1 tbsp butter or Nuttelex

6 eggs

1 shallot, chopped

Remove crusts from bread and flatten each slice with a rolling pin. Spread both sides of bread with butter and press into muffin tins. Crack an egg in the centre of each bread case. Sprinkle with chopped shallots and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until egg has set. Makes 6. - Margie Turner


Maple cashew butter


2 cups raw cashews

80 g butter, cubed

1/4 cup maple syrup

Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped. Keeping the processor running, add butter, then maple syrup, processing until mixture forms a paste. Pour into sterilised jars, cover, seal and label. Keep refrigerated. Makes 1 1/2 cups - Margie Turner



Email support group


There are now members from over ten countries in our email discussion group, sharing questions, recipes, support, successes, dramas and laughs.


To join, http://fedup.com.au/information/support/email-support-groups You will receive an invitation from Listbot Verifier. You must reply to the Listbot invitation to confirm your place on the list. You will then receive every message posted by group members. To contribute, press reply. See unsubscribe instructions at 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, Jenny Saal, Linda Beck, Robin Fisher, Anne Smith, Bernard Trudgett, Alison Cliff 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.