Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

May - August 2004


FAILSAFE supports people worldwide 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 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.




Help us get rid of colours, flavours and preservatives in children’s medication

Junk food advertising ban for children’s TV

Test your own mince with our new sulphite home test kit


A2 milk and children’s behaviour


Research Food additives and young children, Green group speaks out for children


In brief: * Super Size Me * Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is being sued * A study of elderly people * Breastfeeding * A ban on the household use of two common pesticides * Flame retardants.


Lobbying: Letter to FSANZ about flavours being used as a vehicle for undeclared colours.


Readers' stories: [328] - [338]


Product updates: (major revision of website information)


Questions:: (my including about chemicals, alternative therapies and multiple sclerosis)


Cooks Corner: Rebecca’s pizza topping, Pumpkin Pie

Hi everyone

Good news this time – we are noticing a huge increase in awareness of the effects of food chemicals. Many thanks to the failsafers and their children who appeared on television recently: Karyn Langford in Sydney (Today Tonight on behavioural effects of flavours), Moya Connell (Brisbane Extra on sulphites and asthma) and Anne Hurman (Brisbane Extra on behavioural effects of colours).

In a fascinating display, Anne’s young sons were filmed while they ate artificial colours. Within half an hour it was obvious to everyone that they were affected. ‘It’s as if they were drunk’ the presenter whispered as we watched the boys becoming loud, argumentative, making silly noises, spinning and hitting during an outside free play session. When they were asked to stop playing and tidy their toys inside, they responded with full-on oppositional defiance. Yet everything they did was normal child behaviour, there was just more of it, at inappropriate times or inappropriate to the age level. No wonder it is so hard for researchers to demonstrate the effects of food additives. What onlookers can see with their own eyes does not necessarily translate into behaviour rating sheets.

No family should have to live with these behaviours - see the remarkable story of Jessie’s tantrums, below. Health professionals are clearly at a loss, which is why it is so important for us to get our message over on TV. Please, if you live in one of the big cities and are prepared to talk about the effects of foods on your child, see Can You Help, below.

In this newsletter, also see the exciting report of the first failsafe challenge with A2 milk, the results of our sulphite survey and how you can have your own home test kit, and new additive research from the UK. Does failsafe help with MS? Read one failsafer’s extraordinary story. When your child reactions to colours and flavours in medications, report it! (see Adverse Medication Event hotline). For all those asthmatics who say ‘I’d love to try the diet but I’m not prepared to give up wine’, we may have found you a failsafe wine, see product updates. And see Jenny Saal’s great description (with instructions and some yummy recipes) of a cooking-free failsafe weekend get together.

I love to receive your emails, but I am currently being deluged. If I don’t reply, please try again. Sometimes I delete emails accidentally or they get swamped in my overloaded inbox. Also, apologies for the delay in getting the very popular Eating To Win factsheet up on the website – it’s there now.


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


Help us get rid of colours, flavours and preservatives in children’s medication


It is extremely difficult to buy children’s medications without additives and we constantly receive reports of children reacting to colours or flavours, like the little boy who is ‘a different child on Ceclor – hyperactive, aggressive, speaks rubbish, won’t keep his hands and feet to himself, no self control’. Worse still, these additives can actually cause the conditions they are meant to stop, such as with epilepsy medication. You are supposed to ask your doctor for plain white tablets or capsules you can empty out but often there is no alternative.

Now there is a chance to change all that. Staff at the new Adverse Medications Event hotline (1300 134 237) have indicated that they are willing to take reports regarding behavioural effects such as hyperactivity. If there are enough they will be able to report these to ADRAC (Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee). Please use this hotline. It is our best chance of getting children’s medications failsafed and applies to both prescription and nonprescription medication. For more details, see www.safetyandquality.org (4th point down on the home page).


Junk food advertising ban for children’s TV


The Australian Labor party announced last month a proposal to ban all food and drink advertising during children’s TV programs in a bid to curb childhood obesity. Prime Minister John Howard, however, says that children’s diets are the responsibility of parents.

In Australia, junk food advertisers spend $100 million per year promoting their products. The typical child sees about 40,000 ads a year on TV, and the majority of ads targeting kids are for sweets, cereal, soft drinks and fast food. A February review of more than 40 studies on the role of media in childhood obesity concluded that children who spend a lot of time watching TV are fatter than those who don’t. But contrary to what most people think, it is not because the others are out there doing physical exercise. Instead, it seems to be because TV watchers are exposed to ‘billions of dollars worth of food advertising and marketing’.

The marketing industry uses sophisticated techniques specifically designed to appeal to young children. As explained in the McDonald’s Corporation's secret 'Operations Manual', the instruction book for every local store manager: ‘children exert a phenomenal influence when it comes to restaurant selection. This means you should do everything you can to appeal to children's love for Ronald and McDonald's'. It adds that offering toys is ‘one of the best things...to make them loyal supporters’. In the witness box during the McLibel trial David Green, the Corporation's Head of Marketing, from Chicago, recognised that McDonald’s ‘could change people’s eating habits’, and said that children were 'virgin ground as far as marketing is concerned'.

In a society increasingly dominated by commercial values, children’s welfare is overshadowed by the need for corporate profits. We failsafers know just how difficult it is to raise happy, healthy children against the mainstream culture promoted by multinational food companies. A junk food advertising ban would be great for us. Can Labor leader Mark Latham really influence the giant commercial television and food industries?

More information: Kaiser Family Foundation http://kff.org/, McLibel court case http://www.mcspotlight.org/campaigns/current/itcadban_99.html


Test your own mince with our new sulphite home test kit


Kids love mince but sulphite preservatives (220-228) used to keep meat looking red and fresh for days have been associated with the full range of food intolerance reactions including asthma, headaches, stomach aches, eczema and children’s problem behaviours. Sulphites also destroy thiamine (vitamin B1) in the body leading to thiamine deficiency when eaten in large quantities. In the USA, sulphites have been banned in meats in the since 1959. In other English-speaking countries, sulphites are permitted in sausages but have been illegal in mince for many decades.

Some butchers defy the law, so we advise asking if your mince is preservative free. After several butchers admitted their mince was sulphited but they could provide preservative-free mince when ordered in advance, we started to wonder just what the law was worth!

Over the last six months, failsafers have been conducting a survey of sulphites in mince using home test kits. So far, results show that that 22% of mince around Australia contains illegal sulphites and of the first four samples tested in New Zealand, 100% contained sulphites. We were so alarmed by these results that we are now providing sulphite test-kits to failsafers at cost. The kit contains four single-use test strips, instructions and a colour chart for reading your results. The test can only tell you whether sulphites are present or not and will not tell accurately how many sulphites are present.

You might want to test your pet’s fresh meat too. After reporting several cases of thiamine deficiency including the death of a cat due to unlabelled sulphites in pet meat, the Australian Veterinarians Association has been lobbying for better labeling (see their website www.ava.org search for sulphur dioxide).

For a sulphite home test kit, send a self-addressed envelope with two 50c stamps for each one-use test strip plus one 50c stamp for postage to the Food Intolerance Network, PO Box 718, Woolgoolga NSW 2456. Thanks to all those failsafers who have pioneered the use of these kits.


A2 milk and children’s behaviour


Thousands of years ago, the ancestor of the modern dairy cow lived mostly in the Middle East and Asia. During the period that cattle were domesticated and introduced into Europe, a natural mutation occurred which produced a protein variant in milk called A1 beta casein. Today, most herds in Western countries contain some cows that produce milk with a1 beta casein, some that produce milk with A2 beta casein and some that produce a mixture. A1 beta casein has been linked to heart disease, diabetes type 1, autism and schizophrenia. The A2 Corporation in New Zealand has developed techniques for identifying which cows produce milk with negligible A1 beta casein content, the way it was thousands of years ago. In Australia, A2 milk is now available in Queensland and Adelaide, and should be widely available by the end of the year. In NZ, A2 Corporation chief executive Dr Corran McLachlan claimed that some farmers wanted to supply A2 milk but the dairy corporation Fonterra was stopping them. An editorial in the NZ Medical Association commented that it would be reasonably straightforward to change New Zealand dairy herds to produce only A2 milk if that was necessary. ‘The intervention would require no change in behaviour by New Zealanders and could be implemented with little personal difficulty for substantial health gain.’

A failsafe-friendly dietitian reports the use of A2 milk during an elimination diet for a boy with autistic type behaviour: ‘I placed him on a milk free elimination diet, but allowed A2 milk. He consumed several cups of this per day whilst on the diet. His behaviour, concentration and sense of humour all improved. However, when we challenged with normal milk, concentration etc deteriorated. So it is back to the A2 milk whilst we go through other challenges.’

To check if A2 milk is available near you, see http://www.a2milk.com.au/ or phone 1800 777 083.

See the scientific research at the A2 website: www.a2corporation.com



Food additives and young children


The first ever population-based study to examine the prevalence of hyperactivity related to food additive intolerance was published in June. Results suggest that significant changes in children's hyperactive behaviour could be produced by the removal of these artificial colourings and sodium benzoate preservative from the children's diets, whether the children are hyperactive or not. Potential long term public health benefits may arise from removing these additives from the diets of preschool children, say researchers.

Further reading: Bateman B and others, The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children, Arch Dis Child. 2004;89(6):506-11. Full free text at :



Green group speaks out for children


A global environmental network better known for their support of whales and pandas is now campaigning for the future of our children. Alarmed by the effects of chemicals on wildlife and children, the WWF has joined with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in the UK to call for hazardous chemicals to be replaced where safer alternatives exist, or banned where necessary.

Released in June, their report Compromising our children: chemical impacts on children’s intelligence and behaviour examines the effects of chemicals on learning, and behaviour especially ADHD and autism and presents evidence that ADHD is a ‘real, biologically-based phenomenon, and not just a disorder conjured up by ‘neurotic’ parents’. Describing the environmental component of these disorders, the report says ‘It seems that genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger’.

Toxics policy advisor Gwynne Lyons agrees that proof of harm is difficult to produce but says: ‘Children and wildlife have the right not to be contaminated; parents have a right to expect that [home] products are as safe as possible.’ The very readable 34 page report is available free at www.panda.org/downloads/toxics/children.pdf also viewable in html.


Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?


One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the Checklist of common mistakes. Readers tell us this list is very useful.


In brief


* Super Size Me , the award winning documentary that basically says that eating too much McDonald’s is bad for your health, took $US10 million at the US box office in its first weekend and is already one of the highest grossing documentaries in Australian cinema history, collecting $1.1m in its first fortnight. The film cost $US65,000 to make.


* Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is being sued in the US for ‘repeated and persistent fraud’. The New York state attorney-general alleges the company suppressed research findings indicating that its antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Aropax) is not only ineffective in adolescents and children but also increases the risk of suicide. Paroxetine was banned in June last year in Britain as a treatment for depression in under-18s. New Scientist vol 182 issue 2451 - 12 June 2004, page 4. For more information, see the depression factsheet on our website.


* A study of elderly people showed that they ate more when foods contained added MSG. The Glutamate Association lobby group says eating more benefits the elderly, but what does it do everyone else? Could MSG be related to the obesity epidemic? More details at http://www.rense.com/general52/msg.htm or do a google search for: MSG fat rodents.


* Breastfeeding appears to reduce significantly the chances that babies will die in their first year of life. An analysis of a nationally representative sample of about 9,000 US babies found that breastfeeding decreased the risk of dying from any cause by about 20 percent. The reason for the decrease is not clear. Chen and Rogan, May online edition of Pediatrics. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001918336_babies03.html


* A ban on the household use of two common pesticides imposed in the USA in 2000-2001 has been associated with a significant increase in birth weight and length of babies born after January 1, 2001. ‘The differences in fetal growth seen here are comparable to the differences between babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy,’ commented author Dr. Whyatt from Columbia University in New York. Both chlorpyrifos and diazinon pesticides are still permitted in Australia but you can choose to avoid them in household products. Environmental Health Perspectives online , March 2004.


* Flame retardants. Scientists have raised concerns about a class of household chemicals called brominated flame retardants. In particular, Deca brominated dipheny ether (Deca-BDE) is accumulating in humans and breastmilk in a similar way to the now banned PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Research from European studies published this year showed that mothers with high levels of PCBs in their blood had no ill effects themselves, but their children had lower intelligence levels. Deca-BDE is used in many plastics in computers and televisions as well as fabrics and furnishings.



Flavours used as vehicles for undeclared colours


A letter has been sent to FSANZ about the presence of added flavours apparently being used to include colours in foods without putting them on the label. Secret food company information was leaked to Channel 7's "Today Tonight". No response yet. See lobbying letters.

Readers' stories


[338] ONE LINERS (July 2004)


* Your book saved my son but it was too late for my marriage, which really suffered from having a child like this.

* We gave up 282 preservatives in bread after reading your book ‘Fed up’ about two years ago – within a week my wife was free of urinary incontinence and over a period of about three months I was able to give up all asthma medications. – readers aged 60 and 56


* We have been weaning ourselves off non-failsafe stuff for over a week and my autistic son and I are already seeing and feeling the benefits.

* It just hit me like a brick that my sons have gone to sleep well since we started the failsafe diet a month ago, instead of getting up every 5 mins for 2 hours every night. A miracle!

* We have bought your book and are noticing FANTASTIC changes in our children (even their teachers are noticing).

* My son is just turning the corner with his severe eczema thanks to a new allergist and your food!

* Our school principal has borrowed my copy of ‘Fed Up’ based solely on seeing the results I am achieving.

* My husband suffers from severe hayfever/rhinitis but not when he eliminates dairy from his diet - quite an incredible change for him -he is very good at avoiding dairy now.

* My failsafe son has gone from distracting others to being named student of the week for great work habits!

* I have just stumbled across your site and I wish to thank you for it and applaud and recognise the effort you have devoted to help so many.

* I have been asthmatic for 34 years and in the first 20 pages of your asthma book I learnt so much.

* we have pretty much cut out preservatives, colours and flavours and cut back on the amount of fruit they were eating - WOW!!! what a difference - my girls still argue but the ‘volcanic activity’ is gone.

* my son has dyslexia but it is increased by stress and food – thanks for the guidance and help that you are giving us all.

* I realise now that it is better to do the hard yards in the first place with the diet than to suffer the tantrums and bad behaviour.

* The website is so useful with all the recipes and stories - people just so resourceful and clever -I really admire the way they adapt and come up with strategies.

* The issue of unlabelled antioxidants in oil ticks me right off - I know the labelling laws have improved things a lot but to have to call the company before you eat a product is crazy.

* Our amine challenge was ‘contaminated’ on the last day of school by well-meaning people feeding all sorts of marvellous stuff (without notice!!!) to the kiddies like fizzy drinks, pizza and chips - I felt like a scientist whose petri dishes had been upset all over the floor by the lab cleaner - it's so frustrating and it's like, bang! all that work down the drain.

* I never knew mince could contain sulphites until I read your asthma book and then I realized why my asthma got bad the week we lived on our butcher’s cut-price mince.

* I tell everyone I meet about our diet because there are so many kids who could be helped.

* What you have achieved for all of us suffering families is nothing less than amazing, you will certainly be welcomed with open arms at the pearly gates - for the first time I actually feel as if there is some hope for my son to be happy and understood.

[337] Jessie’s tantrums (July 2004)


My daughter Jessie is three and a half now and from the moment she was born we have had nothing but problems.

In the first three months she was always crying, not able to sleep, she was given medicine for reflux and colic and her formula was changed on a weekly basis. At 6 months she threw her first tantrum, I remember it well as it was over a set of car keys. She was chewing on them and then decided to ram them into the back of her mouth, so I took the keys from her. She turned around and grabbed at my face, screaming and trying to bite. That was the start.

As she grew older she stopped her daytime sleeps well before she was one and moved into bed with me. I didn’t mind because she slept so much better. She was never able to amuse herself and would rather sit and scream than do something for herself. She often had ear infections and colds. Before she was two her sister was born, much to her annoyance.

My second daughter was and still is breastfed so both girls were in my bed. Jessie’s night terrors were getting worse, and even though she loved her sister she didn't like her one little bit. Once again, I believed the nurses and doctors putting it down to terrible two's and a new sister.

Her behaviour got worse as she got older and it was nothing for her to headbutt the cement from one end of town to the other end till her head was blue, for no reason but a toy put in a plastic bag so that she could carry it. When she was three she hit the peak period.

A typical day would start off with her wanting the light on in the morning, so I would turn it on. "Get it off", she would say, so I would turn it off, trying so stop the tantrum. "No, turn it back on", so I would turn it on, and then she would start, "Get her away from me, I don’t want her any more" (that’s her sister), then the screaming would start and the kicking and the biting and this was from the moment she opened her eyes! She would scream and yell until she wet herself and then just lie in it and scream some more.

When she was finished in the bedroom she would go and destroy the next room. She was so loud that in the middle of summer with the aircon on and all the doors and windows shut the neighbours three doors up could still hear her. After an hour of morning tantrums then it was time for the next one usually over something stupid. The tantrums could last up two hours with her hitting, screaming and biting herself and me. When she was so angry there was nothing I could do to help her, timeout didn’t work, smacking made it worse and holding her was pointless. She would be screaming out for me "mummy mummy I need you" but if I dared go near her "get away from me, I don’t want you" and she would hurt me with what ever was closest. Not a day would go by that she was not like that all day, in fact out of a whole 12 hour day I would say that she would be calm for about 3 hours.

I turned to the doctors and nurses for help but all they could say was go to parenting classes. I knew that there was something else wrong. When a friend recommended Fed Up with ADHD, I almost cried.

We started the diet in a month ago and within 3 days her behaviour had changed, no more kicking, hitting and biting and the look of pure hatred that she would give you before she started the tantrum had gone. We removed colourings and preservatives first and then went on the elimination diet. She got better and better. Everyone noticed! When we made a mistake, like kindy giving her chocolate, she would wake the next morning complaining of sore eyes, and then the LOOK would start and I knew we were in trouble!

Suddenly I had my little girl back, the one that I spent three years looking for. She is nice to her sister and even nicer to me! I can not thank you enough. You helped when no one else could. -reader, Qld


[336] 635: from school tuckshop (July 2004)


Last year one of my children had a cottage pie from the school tuckshop and when she arrived home she complained of a headache, stomach cramps and had a skin rash. The next day I read the ingredients of the cottage pies in the tuckshop. They contained preservative, MSG and flavour enhancer 635. When I read about 635 on your web site I was stunned that a tuckshop would give this stuff to children. - reader, Qld


[335] I thought my child was not a "foodie" (July 2004)


When my 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD late last year the doctor suggested I read Dr Green’s book, which I did, and she also suggested that I cut out some artificial colours, flavours and salicylates. She told me that salicylates are in cheese. I did this for about a week. Most of the food I had in my home was "no artificial colours" etc and avoiding cheese made no difference. The doctor didn’t tell me that salicylates are mainly in fruit, she didn’t tell me about 282, and she didn’t give me any reference to your work or that of the RPAH diet. Therefore, I thought my child was not a "foodie" (as I call her!) and gave it no further thought. My husband is dead against ADHD medication and basically my daughter got worse over the next six months until I was at breaking point with her behaviour at home, socially, and at school.

About 3 months ago, I went into a bookstore in desperation one day just looking for anything that would help me. I had been in tears for a week not knowing what else to do with her. I bought a copy of "Fed Up With ADHD" and I admit I didn’t place much hope in it because of my previous experience. I read your book in a day and a half. The third page got my attention when you mentioned all the things food intolerance can be responsible for - handwriting, co-ordination, bowel control etc which are all things my daughter has been struggling with for years. She has never finished a task at school and she is in year 3. She is currently having occupational therapy for her co-ordination and she has always had bowel problems which are ongoing.

That week I took all my children off commercial bread and bought Bakers Delight which is the only bread I have bought since. I thought about two days later that my home was slightly calmer, but told myself that I was just looking for something. After three days I started my children on the diet, much to their total disgust! Within another three days I could see a difference in my daughter.

Since then, I have been having daily communication with her teachers and frequently the Principal, and although she is still quite slow and disorganised, her attitude is much better and she is not anywhere near as emotional as she was. She has gone from crying hysterically ten times a day to only having hysterics if she has eaten something wrong. I’ve established, unfortunately, that she is severely sensitive to salicylates, and even pears seem to make her a bit vague. While I am still struggling with this (I mean after all, how can a child not eat any fruit!!), I am learning what I can give her and when.

Basically, it is very hard work (which I realise you of all people know!), and a very big learning curve, but we’re getting there. Everywhere I go now and mention it someone says something along the lines of "Oh yes, my friend has a sister who’s done that and apparently the kid is like a different person". Sue, the word is spreading! I just wanted to say thank you for all the work and time and effort you have put in to this. Without your advice I would probably be on antidepressants by now. - Tracy, NSW


[334] I made so many errors (July 2004)


I tried the diet with my son after seeing a dietitian and using the RPA booklets but it didn’t work. It wasn’t until I found your cookbook that I realized I had made so many errors. Your book is chock full of little bits of info I didn’t get from the booklets or dietitian – and the recipes are invaluable. As soon as I read the checklist of mistakes I made some changes and the results were amazing. - reader, NSW


[333] ‘Nil by mouth’ (July 2004)


At the back of the food section in "Fed up" it has the story about the family who went to the Kimberleys with failsafe, and I read that and thought wow, how dedicated and marvellous etc. After doing this for 5-6 weeks now, I reckon the easiest way would have been to pack up the family and head for the Kimberleys with NO birthday parties, kid's clubs, school, end of term things, playing at someone else's house, grandparents, church suppers, well-meaning people bearing treats, etc. My friend and I are going to make big signs saying "NIL BY MOUTH" and string them around the children's necks!! (Only joking - but it is totally devastating to have your vital research wrecked by a nice person.) - reader, NSW


[332] I realize how depressed I was about the constant battles (July 2004)


I just want to give you my personal thanks for everything you have done, with the website and the books. I have only come across this 8 wks ago and we have had some significant changes already.

We've always been a "really healthy" family with me doing heaps of home cooking (baking biscuits, all wholefood type ingredients, homemade casseroles and everything). Everyone commented on it. But they also noticed my two boys who have become increasingly unbearable to live with. Thank heavens that I have two other children who are near-perfect, otherwise I think I would have sunk into a deep depression over my "obviously inadequate" parenting skills!! As it was, I've gotten pretty depressed about living with these dreadful boys and their seemingly illogical, self-destructive behaviour and foolish choices. They are both so different with their problems but the results are so similar - my stress levels have just climbed over the past couple of years.

Anyway we started the failsafe diet 5 weeks ago. I am really organised and exact when I am strongly motivated and I can swear I did it perfectly from day one. Your book was my constant companion and the website was invaluable for product updates etc.

Results so far? What a change in one child (8yrs). From a monster that we (almost) hated to a lovely pleasant human. And without having to be horrible disciplinarian parents! The other child (10yrs) is a lot more canny about what we were looking for, and incredibly stubborn. He has worked out that a positive result could spell disaster for some of his favourite foodstuffs so he has been playing dead, claiming headaches, stomach aches etc and being totally miserable, despite rewards etc.

Then we did the salicylate challenge. The child I did not suspect for salicylates reacted so strongly, I couldn't believe it ... so did the other one, but I suspected him. Then the amines - again, reactions but different ones - I can actually link specific mood types to these substances. I am a normally suspicious and sceptical person but this is incredible. I feel so stupid that I didn't think of this before ... but it seems everyone says that, so I don't feel alone.

We still have more challenges to do, but I didn't want to wait any longer before saying "thank you" so very much for your work. I cannot say how much this means to me - I was expecting the 8 year old to be in remand school by the time he is 12, and now I know I can change his whole outlook on life! I'm not depressed about my family situation anymore but feeling really positive and hopeful even though it means a lot of hard work. Only looking back do I realise how depressed I was about the constant battles with the boys. - Sue, NSW


[331] Excessive sweating due to food intolerance (July 2004)


I usually drink Long Life Skim Milk but when I was trying to lose a bit of weight, I switched to black coffee instead of white. I had previously been to the doctor on a few occasions regarding a problem I had with excessive sweating. I would hop out of the shower and dry only to be literally dripping with sweat. It didn't matter what I did, I couldn't find any relief from the sweating. The doctor advised me to use a very strong anti-perspirant, but I have enough problems with supermarket products!

When I went onto black coffee I noticed a gradual decline in the amount of excessive sweating. I went back to white coffee and lo and behold: excessive sweating again! I have also noticed that since going to rice milk, my cravings for cheese, etc, have reduced. - reader, SA


[330] Effects of carpet cleaner (July 2004)


I made a bad choice on Monday by having our carpet cleaned. I had never used the company before so I quizzed the man about his detergent and how well he would rinse and remove the detergent. However, when I got home the detergent smell was really strong! Yesterday my son’s teacher asked me if my son was still doing the diet. She said his concentration and handwriting had been really good but it had all fallen apart the last two days. - reader, NSW


[329] 282: Two years of underachieving with 282 (calcium propionate) (July 2004)


When our 8-year-old daughter was a toddler she was on a gluten free diet for some months after reacting to antibiotics. She had biopsies to rule out coeliac disease and at that time I bought a bread maker which I used almost exclusively until about 2 years ago.

During the time she was eating almost 100% home made bread, she had a great attention span. Due to other Issues, our kindy recommended testing with the WPPSI – R, which we agreed to. I do not wish to go into the results here, only to say that this assessment now gives us a good indication that her later performance while on preserved bread was really poor.

We started using purchased bread over two years ago when I was having a very difficult pregnancy and needed to reduce my workload. Now I wish I had given up totally on the housework instead! The introduction of preservative 282 in purchased bread coincided with a decline in our daughter’s abilities. Her bread intake increased until she was eating about 8 or more slices/day and her performance decreased until we were able to get very little work out of her as she was unable to concentrate for more than about one minute at a time.

In desperation I called her teacher who mentioned the television report on 282. I did further investigation on the net, and read your site. The result was that we returned to using our bread maker after not having used it for nearly two years. After about ten days, we had a different child. She started concentrating! She finished in 10 minutes what she previously couldn’t finish in 4 hours. Her spelling started to improve as did her handwriting. She also finally learned to ride a two-wheeled bike!

As you can imagine, we were thrilled. After two years of under achieving and barely being grade level, our daughter is finally starting to accelerate and achieve some of that potential. I am grateful we had the assessment as it shows how much she was behind.

We have become very angry that this preservative is allowed. Even if it is just anecdotal evidence, I believe it validates the need for further research and a ban on 282. Our recent experience with [a particular supermarket] bread has shown how little we can trust labels. I also believe this could partly explain the increased rate of ADHD among lower income families. When Bilo bread is 1/3rd the price of Bakers Delight, what are most families going to use?

We are grateful for the work that you have done in researching this. I only wish we had known earlier. It makes us rather angry and frustrated at the lost potential and the damage it has done to our daughter. - reader, SA


[328] Multiple sclerosis and the failsafe diet (July 2004)


The MS symptoms I experience day to day are mostly sensory symptoms plus fatigue. The sensory changes mostly relate to feelings of cold particularly in my legs (not cold to touch but I perceive them to feel like ice blocks). This sensation changes from being really noticeable (both my legs feel cold – 8 on a scale of 1-10) to not much at all (limited to the smallest spot on one leg but hardly noticeable - 2 out of 10). Early last year I went 100% failsafe after a period of not being so strict and after 4 weeks my cold sensations had reduced dramatically to about 1- 2 out of 10.

See the rest of this fascinating story on our new Multiple Sclerosis factsheet.

MORE READERS' STORIES on the website


Product updates


For failsafe wine lovers - a preservative-free and failsafe wine Unlike fruit juice which concentrates fruit and therefore salicylates, fruit wine dilutes the fruit pulp and reduces salicylates. After testing the Lonely Palate persimmon wine from Bellingen, we agree this wine appears to be failsafe. It is a complex, medium-dry wine with an alcohol content of 14% costing $25 for a 750ml bottle. We didn’t test other Lonely Palate wines such as mango because bananas are used in the recipe. Vintner David Scott says ‘the high alcohol content of our wines allows us to use minimum amounts of preservatives – we prefer to use copious quantities of boiling water to clean bottles and fermentation vats rather than chemicals’. Available from June 04 until sold out from the Good Food Shop in Bellingen or by mailorder from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone 02 6655 1714 (you have to pay for postage).


Failsafe butcher in Adelaide The Adelaide discussion group is doing bulk orders of failsafe sausages from Burnside Butchers, see FinAD on the website.


Chicken skins in chicken sausages My son awoke this morning very moody and obviously affected by food intolerance. The only thing different since yesterday that I could pin point was that I picked up his failsafe chicken sausages from Rode Meats in West Chermside Brisbane. I made sausage roles out of them last night for his dinner (skins removed).

I rang the butcher this morning and asked if there has been a change to the recipe or if there was a possibility that there was chicken skin added, to which they replied definitely, if you don t ask for no skin then you will get it. This certainly explains Tyler's reaction as he is very sensitive to amines.

They also advised me that the cost would be increased for no skin to $12.99 per kilo (normally $8.99) and that I would have to purchase the whole 4kg as rarely does anyone ask for no skin.

We are now going to make our own sausages, my Aunt has purchased for us an old fashioned mincer ($50) which works a treat and we will be ordering the nozzle that attaches to make sausages today. Thanks to Robyn in Brisbane


Rice flour McKenzies Rice flour with expiry of Jan 05 is now made from Thailand rice and may contain jasmine rice (salicylates). We now recommend Lotus rice flour from health food stores. Thanks to Jenny Saal


New failsafe snacks Chic Nuts brand Roasted Chickpeas. Ingredients: chick peas, vegetable oil, garlic, salt are available in Coles supermarkets.


Failsafe dairy free icecream substitutes in NZ Vanilla lite licks is soy-based and rated ‘use with caution on an occasional basis and cut out if you're not getting there.’ by the NZ groups. It has fructose in it but the great thing is it's coloured with beta-carotene. Thanks to Robin Fisher


Bakers Delight finger buns Bakers Delight put a spice wash on their iced finger buns after cooking and before adding the icing. You can order plain white icing with no spice wash.


New Nuttelex Still failsafe, and now with no soy. Failsafers are very pleased!

Your questions:


Q. The new 'Explogo' dairy snack contains colour 160c, listed as not permitted in Australia. Is it a bad colour?

A. The Food Standards Code has changed recently to allow many more additives including colours in Australian foods. Colour 160c is Capsanthin, a natural extract from red peppers. Since food additives are not tested by authorities for their effects on children’s behaviour and learning (or indeed, on asthmatics, people with eczema, irritable bowel symptoms or headaches), we do not know yet whether this additive is good or bad. It might be safe (such as 160a, betacarotene) or not (like 160b annatto). When it is added to a product which is otherwise failsafe (Explogo is not), failsafers on their elimination diet will be able to do a challenge with it to see whether we can use it or not.


Q. I’d like to do the diet for my asthma but I’m not prepared to give up wine.

A. If you only have to avoid sulphites there are good preservative-free wine such as the 1999 Happs PF Red from Margaret River (www.happs.com.au). If you need to avoid salicylates etc as well, see the new Product Updates section – we think we have discovered a completely failsafe fruit wine.


Q. I have an overactive bladder with urinary urgency and frequency. I am on Detrusitol but find that it has unwanted side effects and is very expensive. I heard that some foods may cause this condition.

A. Everyone is different, and basically any food chemical can cause different symptoms in susceptible individuals. In my experience, the food chemicals and foods most likely to be related to urinary urgency, incontinence (and bedwetting in children) are salicylates, amines, propionate bread preservatives (280-282), other additives, and dairy products. You could try switching to preservative-free bread and drinking only water. This works for some people. Or you could try the elimination diet with challenges to find out exactly which components of your diet might be affecting you.


Q. I had an annoying reaction to Pampas Puff Pastry with Canola. I only had a small amount - about 1/6 of a piece - and was awake at night for a few hours around 2am or 3am. I tried a few times with the same result. Very annoying because the pastry is delicious!

A. My apologies. The last information on the website was reversed. The Pampas Butter Puff Pasty is failsafe, the Puff Pastry with Canola now contains listed preservatives.


Q. We are taking our 5-year-old failsafe son on an overseas holiday. Are additive numbers the same globally?

A. Additive numbers in Europe are the same as Australia with an E before the number, so tartrazine yellow colouring (102) is E102. Additives do not have numbers in the USA, so you will have to learn names. For example, for 200, it might say ‘sorbic acid as a preservative’, or for 319 ‘TBHQ (to preserve freshness)’, for 282 ‘calcium propionate (preservative)’. There is a different classification for artificial colours so tartrazine is Yellow 5, more details in the Failsafe Cookbook page 16.


Q. To the person who enquired about failsafe travel in Norway, I accidentally deleted your email.

A. Our Swedish contact is a failsafe Australian family living in Sweden and will be able to help you: ‘Faye’ <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


Q. I noticed that some of the symptoms listed on your site are also related to chemicals, especially in the home.

A. We recommend avoiding a wide range of household chemicals (see the Factsheet on fumes and perfumes). For home cleaning, we recommend soda bicarbonate, hand dishwashing liquid, automatic dishwasher powder, vinegar, microfibre cloths and steam mops. See the virtual house at www.checnet.org for a room by room explanation of toxic chemicals.


Q. Have you had any reports from people with multiple sclerosis who have responded to the elimination diet?

A. Yes, see our new ‘Multiple Sclerosis and diet’ factsheet.


Q. I have been on the failsafe for one month. Yesterday I took 2 Ibuprofen for menstrual cramps. Last night I woke up with my heart pounding and little muscle tics and twitches all over my body. I felt agitated and depressed, and have felt bad all day. I am trying to figure out what caused this reaction. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, not aspirin, and it doesn’t have salicylates in it. What caused the reaction?

A. People who are sensitive to aspirin (which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and salicylates generally react to other NSAIDs as well. Although Ibuprofen doesn't list salicylates as an ingredient, you need to avoid this and any medication which says ‘if you have an allergy to aspirin you should tell your doctor’ on the CMI (Consumer Medicine Information) sheet. If you don’t have a CMI, you can look it up on www.drugs.com.


Q. In Brisbane (and Sydney) there is a clinic called ‘Advanced Allergy' using kinesiology (for diagnostic reasons) and while the patient holds a vial of the offending substance, they use a treatment to strengthen the body so that it associates the offending substance as something good. I was wondering if you knew of any other families who had used this and if they found it helpful.

A. There are numerous alternative therapies which claim to improve tolerance. None of them are scientifically proven. In my experience the failsafe diet helps by far the greatest number of people and the more strictly it is done, the better the results. Alternative therapies can actually stop the failsafe diet from working properly either by encouraging people not to follow it strictly, or by using supplements which are not failsafe. Children will continue to improve for at least nine months after you get the diet right so it is worth giving the failsafe diet a really good try for about 12 months – it takes many families that long to really settle into it. Usually alternative therapies help some people but not others and they can be extremely expensive. Therapies which are not intrusive and do not interfere with failsafe include AAE, NAET, No Phenol, osteopathy and chiropractic. Enzymes therapies are nearly but not fully failsafe. Therapies which can actually interfere with failsafe include supplements such as Effalex fish oil capsules and other vitamin and mineral supplements. There is more scientific evidence for Effalex capsules (available from pharmacists) than for other supplements but they definitely make some children better and some worse. You need to test them as a challenge. We have received numerous complaints about the aggressive marketing techniques associated with some expensive supplements that are additive free but not failsafe. I am always extremely suspicious of any product that has to be purchased through from a distributor who make money by signing up other distributors (Multi Level Marketing).

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

Around the groups: getting in touch


A failsafe weekend


In May, Melbourne group leader Jenny Saul organized a childfree, coooking-free failsafe weekend at her house in Sunbury with most of the Melbourne failsafers that have attended meetings coming for all or part of the weekend as well as members of the new East Melbourne group and four failsafers from interstate who only knew everyone from cyberspace. The idea was that no one had to cook anything for the whole weekend. Jenny organized two of the local restaurants to cater Friday and Saturday night for a failsafe meal and also a local cafe to do failsafe afternoon tea of the Saturday afternoon. For all the menus, recipes, instructions and more description, see the new Factsheet – A Failsafe Weekend.


Getting together


Teresa is starting a discussion/support group in Albert Park South Australia. Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Can you help? (reply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

* In Australia – we’d like to hear from failsafers who would be prepared to go on a media list to talk to press or TV about their experiences with various additives and/or the elimination diet. We especially need anyone who can talk about the effects of sulphites (not only asthma), 282, or 635 (either rashes or anaphylactoid) on themselves or their children.

* In the UK, are there any failsafers who would be prepared to talk on TV about flavours, and other additives? (see the new flavour Factsheet on the website)

* I would like to talk to any failsafers whose depression is related to additives, salicylates, amines, dairy foods or gluten.

* Does anyone know of a publicly available copy of the 123 Magic video in the Newcastle area (eg libraries, preschools etc)?

Many thanks for the help with Spanish translation from the last newsletter!


Talking point


Should mothers of failsafe autistic children take their children off-diet for assessments? The unanimous response was Yes! See below for a typical response. Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas.


I have a 10 year old who is autistic and was only diagnosed at the age of 7, so therefore missed out on all the early intervention programs and aide time that would have made our lives and his so much better. I would recommend that you take your son off his diet (my son is on a chemical/preservative etc. free diet too) so that the doctors can get a true picture of what he is like living in a so called normal world. This is also important as getting the aide time early intervention is such a hard struggle anyway that you should present a picture of him at his worst if you are to have any hope of getting the support. I know this sounds terrible but presenting the worst case scenario is the only way you will get help for him through the system!


New email groups


There are two new email groups just starting: a discussion group for health professionals - email "subscribe" to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a discussion group for Failsafe support leaders (all those with known email addresses have already been invited) - email "subscribe" to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Email discussion groups


Email support groups are immensely popular and have over 800 members in total. There are now three big general groups and an increasing number of special interest or regional groups. Failsafebaby (to subscribe, email 'subscribe' in the subject-line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is very useful and includes toddlers and children of any age who still need Neocate. Regional groups include finb (Brisbane), finAd (Adelaide and South Australia), finNT (Northern Territory) and finCant (Canterbury NZ).

If you want to join, email 'subscribe' to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Support contacts


There are now 70 support contacts in 47 locations in Australia, and in New Zealand and 7 overseas countries - see website.


Talks and television



BACCHUS MARSH VIC Friday 23rd July 2004: Jenny Saal at 10am onwards at Maria's house about 40 minutes West from Melbourne airport. Details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Children welcome, Please no perfumes, Bring a plate of food that you or your child tolerates to share with recipe is handy if you have time, Please no products with nuts as we have one child coming who has a nut allergy.

SUNBURY VIC Thursday 29 July 2004: Jenny Saal at the Sunbury Baptist Church, 207 Gap Rd, Sunbury. Gold coin donation - no need to book just come on the night. Enquiries to Jenny 03 9740 5645 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



LISMORE NSW Tuesday 3 August 2004 6-9pm: Sue Dengate at the Lismore Workers Club. $5. All welcome. Bookings Kim Patch 02 6622 5799 or Rhonda Robb 6625 1498. Numulgi Public School P&C and Parents of the Autistic Spectrum Support Inc, with assistance from Brumby's and The Book Warehouse.


ALBURY -WODONGA NSW Tuesday 10 August 2004: Sue Dengate 10-12am "Fed Up with Asthma" workshop, 7.30-9.30pm "Understanding Food Additives" workshop. All welcome. Bookings Sue Pringle 02 6056 4844. Cooinda Family Support.


MOE in GIPPSLAND NSW Thursday 12 August 2004: Sue Dengate 7.30-9.30pm "Kids, Food, Behaviour: What's the link?". All welcome. Bookings Pat Wells or Christine Weatherall 03 5128 5629, 5128 5656. Parentzone Gippsland.


BURNIE TAS Friday 13 August 2004: Sue Dengate. Details to be confirmed.


ADELAIDE SA Monday 23 August, time to be confirmed: Sue Dengate "Fed Up with Children's Behaviour: learn how foods affect behaviour" All welcome. Bookings Jackie Daniel (Tue & Fri) 08 8271 4299. St John's Lutheran Primary School.


CANBERRA ACT Tuesday 24 August 2004: Sue Dengate. Details to be confirmed.




Printable trifold brochures on food intolerance and oppositional defiance are available. We'll post one of each for free that you can copy, or you can buy bulk copies at cost. See instructions on the website for accessing pdf versions. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with enquiries.

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."


Failsafe Hints


* The 'Neocate Weaning Guide' has great recipes, some suitable for failsafers, available from Nutricia on 1800 060 051. – thanks to Jenny Saal

* Melrose Everyday Shampoo makes a fantastic colour and scent free bubble bath - thanks to Katherine

* Half a teaspoon of beetroot juice makes an almost safe pink icing

Cooks' corner


Rebecca’s pizza topping (to go on 2 pizza bases as per Failsafe Cookbook).


First layer (tomato paste substitute): 3 tbsp cream cheese and 3 tbsp pear ketchup, mixed well.

Meat layer: (500 g mince, half a leek, one clove of garlic, failsafe oil for frying, 1 big can of kidney beans) cooked as per garlic mince in the Failsafe Cookbook

Topping: grated mozzarella cheese (optional)

Spread paste substitute on pizza base, cover with meat mixture and top with grated cheese. Bake in a hot oven (220 degrees C) for 15-20 min.


Pumpkin Pie (moderate in salicylates).


Peel and steam enough pumpkin for four people.

Sweet short pastry: 1.5 cups self-raising flour, 2 tbspn sugar, 4 tbspn butter. Rub in butter, mix to a firm dough with minimum water. Roll into 24 cm (10") pie dish, bake 15 min at 220'C, cool.

Filling: 6 tbspn sugar, 2 tsp citric acid, 2 tbspn cornflour. Mash thoroughly with steamed pumpkin. Pour into baked pie crust, bake 15 min at 220'C. Delicious with cream, yoghurt or icecream if tolerated.


The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every three months. 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 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Thanks to Jenny Saal, Robin Fisher, Rex Warren, Tania Cannons, Jenny Ravlic and many others who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter. Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up, Fed Up with Asthma, Fed Up with ADHD and the Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate Random House, and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books.