Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

April - May 2002


FAILSAFE supports people using the low-chemical elimination diet recommended by the Australian Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers - for health, behaviour and learning problems.

The FAILSAFE Newsletter 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.




* Brochures


* Register of adverse experiences

* Research Miracle water

* In brief: Sick auto syndrome, need to know, trade secrets, salicylates in organic veges, mean cuisine, the health of school-age children in the ACT

* Readers' stories: Dani's diary, Rita's baby, insomnia, taking back control

* Around the groups:, getting in touch: talks

* Cooks Corner: lamb and swede sausages, pear tapioca


Hi everyone

This month, there is exciting news from NSW, with a new policy regarding MSG in restaurants, increasing official recognition of food intolerance and the establishment of a Register of adverse food reactions, see stories below. We will all benefit from these initiatives.


- cheers, Sue Dengate (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)




Printable trifold brochures on food intolerance and oppositional defiance are now available.

Collect from the Yahoo website if you are a member (which is free). Access http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter then click on "File" on the left. Select blueleafletfinal.pdf or oddleaflet.pdf and doubleclick. Your Acrobat Reader should open it in a form you can print.

Or, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. requesting the brochure and we'll email you a pdf file that you can print in colour or black and white and which you are free to copy.

Or, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for mailed copies of our new glossy paper, two colour versions. We'll send you one of each for free (and you are welcome to photocopy them), or $5.00 for 15 or $10 for 35 including postage. This is only to cover costs. Cheques payable to Darwin ADD Support Group.

We loved this comment from one satisfied failsafer:

"Ah, the answer to my prayers. I had no idea the brochure even existed, but thanks so much for directing me to it. I am not very Internet savvy, however I found it easy enough. Regarding possible opposition to failsafing within the child care setting ... now all I have to do is hand over a copy of this and let them ask questions! Thanks again. I highly recommend everyone print this out if you don't already have a copy, it sure cuts out the "but WHY can't your kid have (insert food here)?" questions. Great for grandparents too."




Eating out in NSW will be a little safer after the Minister for Health, Craig Knowles, announced a policy for restaurants to inform patrons of monosodium glutamate in food. Mr Knowles said that advice from the Allergy Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hosptial is that between 5 and 10 per cent of the population can experience a powerful negative effect from various food additives, requiring a visit to a doctor.

"Of the 2000 new patients seen at the unit each year, up to 500 test positive for MSG intolerance. And these are just the people presenting at this one clinic," Mr. Knowles said. "In the light of this, we think it's reasonable to ask restaurants to tell customers if they are adding MSG to the food they serve."

Monosodium glutamate is a powerful flavour enhancer which can cause a severe reaction in some people. Symptoms can include severe headache, migraine, and nausea; numbness in the neck, arms and back; irritable bowel; itchy rashes like hives; asthma-like symptoms; mood changes, heart palpitations; and disturbed sleep and dreams.

MSG occurs naturally in many common foods but in very small quantities. It is also present in some sauces and food bases used by restaurants. The new disclosure requirement will not extend to these products, where the MSG is added at manufacture.

"The problems appear to arise when additional quantities are added during cooking to enhance flavours".

"In packaged foods, labelling carries a full list of ingredients. This type of information is not available to patrons of restaurants where MSG incorporated into meals is creating the risk of a serious reaction in some people who consume the food".

Chinese restaurants conceded that they would have to cut the amount of MSG in their food in the face of customers' fears about the additive.

Robert Ho, the owner of BBQ King restaurant and a Sydney City councillor, said he would be willing to reduce the MSG used in his dishes by two thirds. He said that "if the chef is a bit heavy handed, it can cause people to get thirsty and short of breath".

"I will be advising the chefs that whatever they normally use they are to cut down to one third. But it's like smoking - a way of life that people accept ... and still brave the warning and enjoy their cigarettes. MSG is the same."

The manager of the Golden Century Seafood Restaurant in Sussex Street, Stephen Wong, said MSG was a vital ingredient in every dish the restaurant served, except for vegetables and fresh seafood. "Any Chinese restaurant that says it does not use MSG at all is telling a lie."

Restaurants will face fines if they fail to tell diners they have used MSG.


Register of adverse reactions


The NSW Government also proposes to establish a serious adverse reaction to food Register at the RPA Allergy Unit. It will collect data about reactions to particular food types. People who suffer adverse reactions to food will be able to ring a 1-800 number or go on-line to give details. The register will assist with research into food intolerance.

The Register will also be available for doctors, pharmacists, school teachers and child care workers to report any incidents of adverse reactions to food. Data will be collected on a broad range of allergies and adverse reactions including MSG, peanuts, milk, eggs, prawns, and other seafoods.




Miracle water


Australian scientist Russell Beckett has patented a product called Unique Water, based on mineral rich natural water in the Monaro area where farmers have noticed sheep and cattle live far longer than they should. It is claimed to be a cure for arthritis, osteoporosis and crippling auto-immune diseases. The only sales outlet is Bert's Soft Drinks in Taren Point, South Sydney. Readers ask, does it work? You have to drink two bottles of unique water a day - this alone would be a benefit by replacing tea, fruit juice, soft drinks etc. The magic ingredient is magnesium bicarbonate. We recommend carbonates (soda bicarb, potassium bicarb and calcium carbonate) as antidotes for food reactions and they have long been known to help with osteoporosis but daily doses of sodium (in soda bicarb) are not a good idea. Calcium carbonate is a lot milder than magnesium carbonate. Magnesium carbonate is midway and may cause mild diarrhoea. (Magnesium sulphate is Epsom's Salts, used as a laxative). Magnesium bicarbonate is more alkaline and should therefore work better than calcium carbonate without side effects. Our conclusion, it's worth a try. More details at www.nonpharmaceutical.com

In brief


Sick auto syndrome


A new car could be bad for your health. The interior of a new car can give off high levels of toxic chemicals for up to six months, an Australian study has found. In three cars studied, levels of volatile organic compounds were up to 128 times as high as the recommended Australian exposure limit. "That's much higher than the levels we've seen in new buildings, including buildings where people get sick," says Steve Brown of the CSIRO, Australia's national research organisation. New Scientist 12/1/02, p11


Ketchup maker adds a little mystery


In the US, pink, orange and teal ketchup are about to follow purple and green ketchup already on the shelves from the giant food multinational Heinz. To add mystery the colours will be concealed within plastic squirt bottles. The big mystery is, how are parents going to put up with their kids' behaviour?


Need to know


You have no right to know where the food you eat comes from. That's the ruling of an international body of food experts. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a UN panel that rules on issues about international food trade, threw out calls from the European Union to allow governments to demand full genetic traceability of GM foods. Disclosure of genetic ancestors will only be necessary "when a risk to human health has been identified". New Scientist, 16/3/02, p12. To our disgust, Australia - along with the US - was one of the countries that supported this ruling.


Trade secrets


Four years ago, while on a course of an antidepressant called paroxetine (Aropax in Australia), Don Schell got up one night and shot dead three members of his family before turning a gun on himself. He was a retired worker from Wyoming with no history of violence. The family blamed the medication and won $8 million in compensation from its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, in a US court case last summer. Expert witness psychiatrist Dr David Healey was granted access to company documents about the drug trials. He claims the trials revealed unusually large numbers of healthy volunteers becoming agitated while taking the drug, or experiencing marked withdrawal effects afterwards. Some volunteers, he claims, even went on to attempt suicide. When the manufacturer was asked why they hadn't published all this data, they replied that it was "confidential". - New Scientist, 16/3/02, p16.


Salicylates in organic veges


Six times more salicylic acid was found in commercial organic vegetable soups than non-organic vegetable soups in a recent Scottish study. Salicylic acid is produced naturally in plants as a defence against stress and disease. Researchers from the University of Strathclyde suggest that organic plants might produce more salicylates because they are grown without pesticides. (New Scientist, 16/3/2002, p10). Other causes of stress in developed countries might include lack of diversity, growing out of climate and growing out of area. It is possible that plants growing naturally in their own comfort zone are lower in salicylates - which would explain why my family can tolerate tomatoes and citrus fruits in countries like Nepal (see newsletter #25). The University of Strathclyde group says that salicylic acid is good for you because it is responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of aspirin. Here's hoping the food industry doesn't jump on the bandwagon and decide that supermarkets should be stocked with GM vegies full of salicylic acid.


Mean cuisine


Military scientists in the United States have developed a battlefield sandwich which can stay fresh for up to three years, even in tropical conditions. It is expected to end up on supermarket shelves. So far, only pepperoni and barbecued chicken varieties have been developed. Humectants to stop sogginess are added to the fillings then the sandwiches are sealed in laminated plastic pouches that contain sachets of chemicals to prevent the growth of yeast, mould and bacteria. The Telegraph, London, 12/4/02


The health of school-age children in the ACT


If you would like to make a submission regarding food intolerance in school age children in the ACT, more details from our contact in the ACT, Sheryl, phone 02 6294 1720


Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?


One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the list on the website Checklist of common mistakes. With new guidelines for extra sensitive salicylate responders, thanks to Robin from the email discussion group.

Readers tell us this list is very useful.


Readers' stories


Thank you to readers who tell their often heart wrenching stories and give permission to display them on the website. Nearly everyone says the same as Dani Hewton from WA, "I would love you to include my story - anything to prevent others going through such hell for such a long time." See Dani's compelling story on the website under Restless Babies. Here is an excerpt:

Dani's diary


"14 months: Chris goes off all carrots and pumpkin - makes it really hard for me to find foods to get him to eat as he eats a huge amount of each of these. We notice a big change in Chris - he stops grizzling altogether and is suddenly really easy to manage. He is a lot more agreeable! Have a look through my books and discover that pumpkin and carrot are moderate in salicylates - I thought they were low. No wonder he wasn't 100%. He was obviously getting too many salicylates"


Rita's baby


"From birth, our daughter never slept more than 40 minutes at a time, day or night, and by the second week she screamed most of the time. Nobody understood why she wouldn't "just fall alseep" in her pram or her crib or the car. She was seen by a quite a few doctors, midwives and early childcare nurses but no one did much except to label it reflux and say it would correct itself …. she was totally out of sorts, crying all the time and inconsolable! Then an early childcare nurse lent me a copy of Fed Up and sent me to a dietitian. I immediately started on the elimination diet. My baby calmed down in the beginning, but it wasn't a cure all" … full story on the website, under Restless Babies, and see getting in touch.




"I have been an insomniac since I was 16. From my mid 20s it has been a major issue in my life. I have lived on a maximum of approximately four hours sleep a day. I have spent thousands of dollars in trying to find the answer. I have seen naturopaths, homeopaths, medical doctors, Chinese herbalists, acupuncturists. I have been to a sleep centre where they tried to teach me to sleep. I have tried every imaginable trick to try to sleep. For three years, I stopped drinking or eating anything with caffeine. I would drink warm milk before bed. I would take a run before bed. I would read a book before bed. Have a bath before bed. You name it, I have probably tried it. By the time I turned 30, I decided that I had to learn to accept my insomnia - 'this is as good as it gets' sort of thing. In the worst scenario I would read till all hours of the morning. Having said that, I had to also accept the fact that I was tired most of the time …

Then I stumbled on your book at a health shop and bought it. The next day I eliminated a range of foods … and I suddenly found myself able to fall asleep in ten minutes.

Day six was the day that I cried. I have spent the better part of my adult life wanting to sleep and feeling tired. I have wasted years of my youth thinking about sleep. I am at times angry and at times relieved to just get out of the woods. I just can not believe that I no longer have to describe myself as an insomniac". - Ingrid, Melbourne, full story on the website, under Readers Stories


Taking back control


"I came across your book by accident and decided to do the elimination diet before considering drugs for our son, as I have been on drugs for years myself for ADD associated with Tourette's Syndrome. As it turns out, I react VERY strongly to amines. We've only tested salicylates and amines so far. I have been able to reduce my medication by half. It's early days yet, as we've only been on the diet for 32 days and I daren't get my hopes up too much. My son didn't react to salicylates or amines. He is much calmer on the diet; certainly not in need of medication. We already know he can't tolerate gluten, as he has had a lifetime of diarrhea until he went off it. It's exciting to be able to take back some control of one's life through diet." - by email, full story on the website, under Readers' Stories


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

Your questions:

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


Q. Why is pear the only fruit on your list?

A. Peeled pears are the only fruit which do not contain salicylates. Nearly 75% of children with behaviour problems react to salicylates. Salicylates are naturally occurring pesticides in most fruits and some vegetables.


Q. But fruit and vegetables are healthy, natural foods. How can they cause problems?

A. We aren't certain but one possibility is the more than 70,000 man-made chemicals registered for use, most of which weren't even invented in our grandmothers' day. Virtually all children in developed societies show signs of exposure to some of these toxic chemicals in their urine. Some of these chemicals are "sensitisers", that is, exposure to them can make some children and adults more sensitive to other chemicals - probably including food additives and salicylates.


Q. But we don't use chemicals. How can my child be affected?

A. Think household cleaners (how many different ones do you use? - many are toxic), pesticides on pets (eg flea collars), pesticides in lice shampoos, household insecticides for flies, mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches plus whatever the pest control people routinely spray on houses. Then there are sprays for lawns and gardens at home and in public places - these are carried in on shoes and pets' paws and reside on your carpet. Because they are volatile they can drift around and land again on other surfaces like toys ... and there are compounds used in building and renovating, synthetic materials, carpets, glues and solvents. As well as perfumed toiletries and air fresheners that weren't around in grandmother's day. And agricultural sprays. We can't change past exposure. That's the bad news. The good news is that we can overcome some of the effects of past chemical exposure by avoiding unnecessary chemicals and changing what our children eat.

Around the groups: getting in touch




We would like to hear from more Failsafe Friendly dietitians like the one below. Please put "dietitian" and your location in the subject line of your email.

"I would like to be added to your list of Failsafe Friendly dietitians. After a few years of being a dietitian and many years of battling CFS I decided to trial the RPAH Elimination diet, with surprising (to me!) success. I have now also worked with a number of other clients with food chemical intolerances with a variety of symptoms, and would love to further my work in this area."




"I am a GP in Perth. I would like to make contact with any doctors experienced in failsafe in Perth." - Please email to us and we will forward your message.


Neocate babies


Rita would like to get in touch with failsafe mothers in Armidale, NSW, with a view to starting a failsafe playgroup. She would also like to hear from other mothers of Neocate babies, see our Support list on the website.


Support contacts


There are now over 40 support contacts in Australia, New Zealand and overseas - see website.




Sue Dengate will be giving talks as follows:



Friday 19 April MELBOURNE: 7.30PM Kismet Park Primary School, McEwan Drive, SUNBURY. Bookings to Jenny: 9740 5645 Admission will be $4 to cover gymnasium hire, with proceeds to the school.


Saturday 20 April MELBOURNE: 8.30AM Registration joint ALCA/ABA seminar: "Current Clinical Challenges" , Yvonne Bowden Auditorium, Royal Women’s Hospital, Grattan St, CARLTON 3053. 11.45 Fed up with restless babies – Sue Dengate. Contact Australian Lactation Consultants’ Association (ALCA) Victoria Branch Ph/Fx 03 9509 5867 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Lisa 03 9753 6879, Brenda 03 9509 5867, Maureen 03 5221 2021, Karen 03 9337 5647.




Monday 13 May CANBERRA: 7.00PM-9.00PM LECTURE: "Fed Up – food effects on Children’s health and behaviour" at Canberra Institute of Technology, Southside Campus, Music Industry Centre, Cnr Hindmarsh and Ainsworth Sts, Phillip ACT. Ph 02 6295 3800 Fx 02 6295 0955.


Tuesday 14 May CANBERRA: 9.30-12.30AM WORKSHOP: "Food effects on Children’s health and behaviour" Queensland Playgroup Association, Barbara Creaser Training Room, Children’s Services Resource and Advisory Program, ACT Inc, 255 Goyder St, Narrabundah ACT. Ph 02 6295 3800 Fx 02 6295 0955.


Wednesday 15 May IPSWICH: 7.00-9.00pm GUEST SPEAKER: "Challenging behaviours associated with ADHD and diet" Childcare Access and Equity Resource Support Unit, Ipswich Campus of the University of Queensland, Room 116, Building 12, 11 Salisbury Rd, Ipswich. BOOKING ESSENTIAL $10.00, PLACES LIMITED TO 100. Phone 07.3372 7979, Fax 07.3372 9688, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thursday 16 May BRISBANE: 9.30AM-1.00PM Playgroup Association "The breeding, feeding and reading speakers tour" (Sue Dengate is the "feeding" speaker), Bardon Conference Centre, 390 Simpsons Rd, BARDON Ph 07 3368 2622 Robyn Devine, 1300 362 552 country caller.

Cooks' corner


Lamb and swede sausages


2 kg lamb mince

1 and 1/2 cups of cooked swede

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tbsp sea salt

2 shallots chopped fine

1/2 cup rice flour

Allow swede to cool. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Make up as per the Failsafe Cookbook - Megan Gunn, Tas.

Variation: use lamb mince and mashed swede to make rissoles - Caroline Robertson, Melbourne


Pear Tapioca


1/2 cup tapioca

3 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste

3 cups fresh or canned peeled pears, sliced

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp citric acid

2 tbsp water

Soak tapioca overnight in water. Add salt and boil, stirring until clear (about 30 minutes). Layer pears into a greased baking dish. Mix citric acid with water. Spoon over sugar and citric acid mix. Pour tapioca over and bake in a moderate oven about 45 minutes. Cool and allow to set. Serve with icecream. - Howard Dengate



The FAILSAFE Discussion Groups : On-going support is the key to success with FAILSAFE eating. Access the wealth of experience and information in this free email group and share recipes and stories with people from around the world, particularly from Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and USA. You will receive a daily digest of all emails, or choose individual emails if you want, and can respond to individuals or the group by email or over the web. There is also an on-line chat facility.

We recommend that you have the diet booklets from the hospital or have read one of the following books: Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook, or Friendly Food before joining the group.

There are now two groups: If you are just starting out, we suggest that you join the FAILSAFE BASIC Discussion Group by sending an email with subscribe in the subject line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafebasic). Due to overcrowding, the other group is now limited to existing members or those with extra needs such as severe food intolerance or gluten intolerance (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe).


The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every two months, and also see it on this website. Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter


© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804, Australia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Thanks to thanks to Cathy Bannister, Susan Bull, Susan Bridgman, Dani Hewton, Rita Mallet, Roberta Ivers, Birgit Setiawan, Clare Affleck, Sheryl Sibley and everyone who contributed stories and recipes. Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate Random House, and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books.