Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

September - October 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.




* The bread preservative study

* Worst additive competition results!!

* First do no harm

* New program for under-achievers

* Research Asthma induced by benzoates in asthma medication, Sulphites and CP in very prem infants

* In brief: , Readers' stories:

* Product updates: ***Warning*** All commercial breadcrumbs and crumbed products, USA eggs.


* Around the groups:, getting in touch, talks, brochures

* Cooks Corner: Chicken schnitzel, carob cookies

Hi everyone

The big news this time is the publication of my bread study in a medical journal, see first story. As well, we announce the winners of our Worst Additive competition. Readers tell me they love the stories. With thousands coming in, I can't publish them all, but have selected some which represent a wide range of experiences and there are many more on the website. After many requests, we have started two new discussion groups, failsafe USA and failsafe adults. Don't forget to bookmark our new web address: www.fedup.com.au


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


The bread preservative study


This is the first published study in the world to look at the effects of preservative 282 on children's behaviour.

The story was featured on Today Tonight (if you missed it and you have an up-to-date computer, you can still see it, click on http://mangrove.nswrno.net.au/dist/public/fiji/sd282.wmv ) and attracted a lot of media attention. Since then our website has received more than 10,000 visits and I have been deluged by emails and phone calls. In the media kit on the website, there's information about the study, updated stories about both children and adults, and updated information on where to buy safe bread (more information is welcome).

Most studies have concentrated on the effects of food colours, but parents say that the bread preservative is one of the worst additives (see below). We heard from many people whose children improved dramatically when they switched to preservative-free bread and many who were outraged to learn that there is a harmful additive in our most basic healthy food. Clearly, our health is not protected when consumers have to learn about the health threats from additives through TV programs. Most people were shocked to learn that additives are not tested for their effects on children's behaviour when they are introduced into our foods.

Brumby's and many other bakeries are now advertising preservative free bread, and the use of 282 is on the agenda for discussion by the committee which advises our food authority. Brumby's have organised a petition asking health authorities to review their use of 282 in bread - look for it at your Brumby's bakery. If you wanted to write a letter to your Minister for Health, this would be a good time (addresses are on the website). You might like to quote the CSPI recommendations: "The obvious public health response would be to remove the irritants, if possible, from the foods that children eat." (see website, CSPI recommendations).


Further reading: Dengate S and Ruben A "Controlled trial of cumulative behavioural effects of a common bread preservative" Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (2002) 38(4), 373-376.

** Worst additive Competition Results!!


In your opinion, which is the worst food additive and why?

The big surprise here was that no-one nominated artificial food colours. Most people said that the worst additives are the ones that are hidden. Most often and equally nominated were antioxidants (310-312, 319-321) and the bread preservative (282); followed by MSG, ribonucleotides (635) and sulphites (220-228). See the winning stories below. Congratulations to the winners, you win a book each. Other entries will be displayed on the website over the coming months. Thank you to everyone who entered!


The winners


Congratulations to winners Kathleen Smith and to Jenny Savige from Victoria, and to runner up Arthur McBryan from the UK.

"I believe that the worst food additive is 282. It is hidden in a healthy food (bread and crumpets) and most people don't know about the problems it causes in children. Doctors don't know about it, so therefore it doesn't cause a problem (yeah, right). It turns good kids into screaming, tantrum throwing, horrible children with no idea why. That's why I hate 282 more than all other additives. I don't like the others much either! Bring back additive free foods as standard fare!" - Kathleen Smith


"Antioxidants are secret unless you go to extreme lengths to ask the supplier of the food and then the manufacturer of the contents … what hope have we got if such nasty additives are hidden in our foods?" - Jenny Savige, Warragul, Victoria (full entry on the website)


"In my opinion, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is the worst food additive we have come across. I experience severe mood changes when I ingest this poison. My family have learned to keep out of my way whenever I go through these suicidal and manic behaviour swings. How much more are they affecting our kids when we pack their lunch boxes with junk foods such as crisps, pot noodles and other rubbish that contains this poison?" - Arthur McBryan, UK


First, do no harm


A recent study published in The Journal of The American Medical Association (2000:284:94) by Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, showed that in the U.S. there are:

* 106,000 deaths/year from adverse effects of medications

* 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals

* 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals

* 80,000 deaths/year from hospital infections

* 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery

The total of 225,000 deaths per year makes medical treatment the third leading cause of death in the US, second only to heart disease and cancer. This does not include disabilities and disorders, just deaths in hospitalized patients. More than four times as many people die in one year from doctors' mistakes than died in the entire Vietnam War.

Medical mistakes are not exclusive to the US. The British Medical Journal stated in March 18, 2000 that, "In Australia, medical error results is as many as 18,000 unnecessary deaths, and more than 50,000 patients become disabled every year."

See some examples in Research below. Further reading: Yurko, A." Quarter-million doctor-induced deaths annually: Iatrogenocide?" Journal of Degenerative Disease, 2002; 3(3): 37-38, and full article at http://proliberty.com/observer/


New program for underachievers


In the USA there has been a dramatic rise in child learning disabilities – with more than one in every six suffering from autism, aggression, dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In Australia, one third of Year 5 boys and a quarter of Year 5 girls fail literacy tests.

The ANSUA Learning Centre in Brisbane, recently renamed the Learning Connections Centre, has been offering therapies such as sensory integration programs (similar to the one shown on Today Tonight after the bread study segment but cheaper) and sound therapy since 1976 for pre-school, primary and secondary children with learning, behaviour and attention disorders and developmental delay. (www.learningconnections.com.au)

Director Maureen Hawke has recently released a new program for babies 0-12 months to improve brainpower and prevent learning difficulties. The Bright Start program is based on recent brain research and Maureen’s 25 years of expert experience in helping underachievers. Maureen also strongly recommends failsafe. She says: "We must do all we can to halt the increasing numbers of children with learning disorders". You can download the program parts at www.brightstart.com.au. There is a no-questions-asked money back guarantee.



Asthma induced by benzoates in asthma medication


A girl with a family history of asthma in both parents developed asthma early in life. She was successfully given continuous bronchodilator therapy until the age of 7 years. At that time, she developed more frequent and severe exacerbations (8 within 10 months) despite reinforced continuous treatment. Oral challenges with bisulphite (223) and sodium benzoate (211), both additives abundantly ingested by the patient, revealed sensitivity to sodium benzoate. Avoidance of this additive was followed by complete and prolonged disappearance of coughing and wheezing episodes. Researchers concluded that adverse reactions to benzoate in this patient required avoidance of some drugs, including some of those classically prescribed in the form of syrups in asthma. Petrus M and others. Asthma and intolerance to benzoates Arch Pediatr 1996 Oct;3(10):984-7


Sulphites and CP in very prem infants


Symptoms of cerebral palsy affect about half of all extremely premature infants. Use of dexamethasone, a corticosteroid used in very prem babies to strengthen lungs or treat respiratory problems, has been found to increase the risk of neuromotor deficits or brain lesions. Recent French studies on developing mouse brains suggest that this brain damage may be related to the use of preservative sodium metabisulphite (223) in dexamethasone. Of the two medications commonly used, betamethasone does not contain metabisulphite. Baud and others. Neurotoxic effects of fluorinated glucocorticoid preparations on the developing mouse brain: role of preservatives. Pediatric Research 2001;50(6):706-711.


In brief


Laugh out Loud


The Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) has just changed its name again, this time from ANZFA to FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand). One reader suggests this is because when you key in ANZFA the spell checker says "Unsafe". Try it for yourself!



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."


"They thought they were bad parents"


One of the guys at work has three kids, including one who had major behavioural problems. He and his wife had been to see professionals, including psychologists, to try and find out what the bloody hell was wrong with their son. In the end, they actually thought they were bad parents. When I spoke about Sue's book, they bought it and started giving their kid preservative-free bread instead of supermarket bread. Guess what. The little boy's behaviour changed dramatically for the better. That was nearly a year ago and they no longer seek professional advice on how to bring up their kids. Amazing.

There is no doubt about it, Sue Dengate is definitely on to something. I just wish more people would listen. - email


"wonderful changes"


My son was experiencing behavioural and learning problems. Through diet (eliminating 282, other additives and some salicylates) I have seen some wonderful changes in him, especially in his sleeping. For the first time in his five years of life, he is sleeping 12 hours a day. - email, WA


"A very cruel thing"


I think it is a very cruel thing for parents as well as children to go through. Please send me as many brochures as you can. I would like to leave some with my doctor and also at my child health clinic for them to learn about it and be able to help other mothers identify food intolerance as a problem - email, Qld


Adults too


I would just like to say that preservatives affect adults too. I discovered some years ago that additives in the 200-300 range seem to make me ill even to the point of giving up my job. Two out of three of my children are also affected by preservatives in food. I live on fresh food and for the last 3 years mainly vegetarian. I no longer suffer with the severe headaches that plagued me most of my life. I am just so pleased to see that it is not all in my head. - email


Our Failsafe Home


This week mum has started us on a failsafe diet with foods that have no colours or preservatives in them, I think it's good because I might get less migraines and not feel sick as often and maybe even do better in school. Hopefully this will help my sister who has learning disabilities and maybe she'll be able to read like me.

It's amazing how many colours and preservatives are in food, I checked all the labels when I went shopping with mum and I helped clean out the pantry too. Mum made some sherbert and it tasted like the real thing but without the horrible colours and preservatives in it. The new diet is good, it's fun to try out new things and they taste good as well.

Next week we are going to clean out the bathroom and laundry cupboards and buy more friendly shampoos and toothpaste and it's goodbye and into the garbage bin with all the bad things.

I wish our Prime Minister would realise what these things are doing to us. - Caroline Morrow, aged 9.


"Not as bad as it seemed"


"I will be trying the elimination diet with the whole family. It will be hard to start with, but after reading the shopping list on page 200 of the cookbook, it doesn't look as bad as it seemed at first. The first shop will take a while, but I'm sure it will be worth it." - email, Qld


"A modern Rachel Carson"


Congratulations on the publication of your research on 282! I couldn't help but remark to my wife that Sue Dengate is probably a modern version of Rachel Carson whose book, "The Silent Spring" about the consequences of using DDT, changed the way the world looks at environmental chemicals. Your books and untiring effort are starting to produce, throughout Australia and even the world, a general knowledge of food intolerance and its consequences. Truly a monumental effort. - Bernard Trudgett, Wollongong. [Thanks, Bernard, and thank you to everyone who has written to congratulate me on the study's publication J ]


"Many families in our district"


Congratulations on your fantastic work with the bread preservative research and media presentation. It certainly has a huge amount of people interested in our local towns. Many families in our district have tried avoiding 282 as a result and have had fantastic results, with much happier, easy-going kids. Our local school tuck shop is even considering switching to preservative free bread which I am sure will make a huge difference in the school as it is known to be a particularly bad school with very high teacher assault rate -both verbal and physical - and terrible bullying issues. I have also given their committee a copy of your tuckshop paper - they were very grateful for the info. - email, WA


"I was happy with foods 30-40 years ago …"


I've read many of the stories on your website. It's amazing to me that manufacturers think it is necessary to add so many chemicals. People need to buy food all the time. If no one added colours or flavour enhancers and other chemicals, I'm sure the consumers would be happy to buy what was available, based on price and quality. I was very happy with the foods offered 30-40 years ago, before so many chemicals were added. Thanks for all you and your husband have done in these studies. I can only imagine what a battle it has been for you. - email



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


Product updates


Good news: Three years ago we contacted the makers of FG Roberts gluten free flours to ask for a low-salicylate version. This is now available in supermarkets (see label) and takes the pain out of going gluten free. Use one firmly packed cup of FG Roberts flour instead of wheat flour in recipes. Not suitable if you are sensitive to soy.


Good news: Orgran Crumbs (All purpose Wheat free gluten-free) are made from 100% toasted rice and are preservative 282-free. You can buy Orgran crumbs in most health food stores and supermarket health food sections: www.orgran.com


***Warning*** All commercial breadcrumbs and crumbed products contain preservative 282.


***Warning*** Eggs in the USA. Every year in the US, more than half a million people become ill after eating eggs contaminated with Salmonella and more than 300 people die. Salmonella is a bacteria often found in the ovaries of intensively farmed hens which can contaminate the eggs before the shells are formed. It can cause fever and diarrhea. Since September 2001, residents in the US have been warned to eat only very well cooked eggs. This means no more licking the bowl while making a cake, no soft-boiled eggs, eggs fried sunny-side up, softly scrambled or in omelettes and French toast. Avoid also Caesar salad, mousses, hollandaise sauce, home-made mayonnaise and icecream with eggs. So some of these recipes are not suitable for US eggs. Salmonella has been almost entirely eliminated from Swedish and Dutch eggs. Hopefully, the FDA will be able to get it under control too. CSPI scientists recommend that farmers reduce crowding, increase hygiene and stop starving the hens to increase egg production.

Your questions:


Q. My question is about annatto colour (160b). We get vegetarian sausages (have been vegetarian since birth) from Sanitarium which have annatto and carrageenan (both listed as "natural" additives) in them. When I phoned Sanitarium they said they weren't aware of any negative reactions with either and were, therefore, not prepared to substitute them for something considered safer. I was wondering what annatto is and what reactions to annatto have been reported.

A. Annatto is a yellow colour made from the seed coat of a tropical tree. It is one of 50 additives identified by researchers at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as most likely to cause adverse reactions. American researchers found more people with urticaria reacted to annatto than to any artificial colours. This network receives frequent complaints about effects of annatto including headaches, headbanging in young children, behaviour problems and even arthritis. Beta carotene (160a) is a safe alternative and is used widely in Europe but our national food authority tells food manufacturers that it is too difficult and expensive to use 160a.


Q. My doctor says that if my son's behaviour can be controlled by diet, it's not ADHD.

A. Your doctor's information is out of date. He needs to read "Diet, ADHD and behaviour: a quarter-century review" by the highly regarded and unbiased (that is, not industry-funded) Centre for Science in the Public Interest. You can download the 40-page report from their website (www.cspinet.org) or see my website for a summary.


Q. I was so impressed by the change in my son's behaviour just by going failsafe that I would like to lobby the school where he attends to change the foods sold from the canteen. I am really dedicated to making these changes as I believe that even by changing the breads used you can make a huge difference to kids' behaviour. What is your opinion of how to approach the committee?

A. You might like to print out the tuckshop Factsheet on the website. It includes: CSPI recommendations that schools should minimise their use of behaviourally harmful additives; a story about a school that achieved great success by banning additives; and a suggested low additive tuckshop list with some failsafe options. A school ban on colours, MSG and the bread preservative is achievable and worthwhile.

Check out the Questions and Answers section in the website for many more details.

Around the groups: getting in touch


Support in Perth


We now have more support and failsafe friendly dietitians in Perth, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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:

Wednesday 11th September Palmerston, NT NOTE: 2.45pm, NOT 7.30 pm as previously advertised, Moulden Park School, 103 Bonson Tce, Moulden, enquiries phone 8932 1133, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday 17th September Darwin NT 2pm -4 pm Royal Darwin Hospital, Menzies Training Room, phone Lynette 8945 3721

Saturday 21st September Darwin NT am, School Canteen Association Conference, phone Dimity, 08 8927 9618

Tuesday 19th November Alice Springs NT (to be confirmed), enquiries: Andra 08 8952 8057

Friday 22nd November Sydney NSW Youth off the Streets conference, Bankstown, Sydney, presentation to full conference, 9.30 am, workshop, 11.00-12.30. Enquiries 02 8220 2489, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., website www.youthoffthestreets.com.au




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 save and/or 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 20 or $10 for 45 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."

Cooks' corner


Chicken schnitzel


All commercial breadcrumbs contain preservative 282. You can use Orgran crumbs instead, see product update. or make your own, FS Cookbook, page 162. Schnitzels are delicious hot or cold.

500 gm chicken breast fillets

cornflour for coating

1 egg, beaten

failsafe crumbs

failsafe oil for frying

Cut chicken into the thinnest slices possible. Coat with cornflour, dip into beaten egg, and coat with crumbs. Shallow fry in about 2 mm of oil in a medium-high frypan until chicken is cooked through and coating is crisp and golden. Serve with 'secret' lemon juice (a small jug of cold water with citric acid to taste). - Andra Somerville


Carob cookies


My son's friend said "Your mother should sell these. People would buy them."

125 gm butter or failsafe margarine

1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

1 and 1/3 cup plain flour

1 tsp soda bicarbonate

1 tbsp carob powder

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cream butter, sugar and egg in a mixer until smooth. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Place balls of mixture 5 cms apart on baking paper lined baking trays. Bake 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on tray before transferring to wire rack. These freeze well.


For people who can tolerate amines, or for your amine challenge, make a rich double choc chip cookie by using 1/3 cup cocoa powder instead of carob powder, reduce flour to 1 cup and add 1 cup choc chips. For people who are gluten free, replace flour with gluten free flour. - Andra Somerville



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.

Groups are closed when they have 100 members to maintain a community of support. There are now several groups:

If you are just starting out, we suggest that you join the FAILSAFE2 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/failsafe2). Some experienced failsafers are there to help.

The FAILSAFE USA Discussion Group has just started for USA members. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafeUSA)

The FAILSAFE Adult Discussion Group has just started for adults seeking support. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/failsafeadult )

The FAILSAFE BASIC Discussion Group is currently closed. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafebasic

The original FAILSAFE Discussion 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 Erica Waite, Dani Hewton, Megan Gunn, Brigit Goodman, Bernard Trudgett, Rex Warren and the thousands of people who have emailed or phoned! Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook and Different Kids by Sue Dengate Random House, and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books.