Fedup Newsletters



Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

September - December 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.



 Australian schools join low additive trend

New enrolments needed at low chemical school

Research RPAH autism study, Probiotics and eczema, Depression and illness linked to air fresheners and aerosols

In brief: New version of RPAH book, Sulphite test strips, Oats in a gluten free diet, Gas heating and asthma, Antidepressant warning, Free Medication Effectiveness Tests, Education of doctors

Lobbying: Thanks to FSANZ for action on labelling of flavours, Consumers’ Association: additives need clearer labeling.


Readers' stories: [345] - [356]


Product updates:detailed help and information.


Questions: detailed help and information.


Cooks Corner: Beanz meanz health, Hints, Darani’s hearty chicken noodle soup, Howard’s bean spread, Dominic's Pop-Rocks, Ethan’s Menu


Hi everyone


It’s now eleven years since the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital elimination diet made such a miraculous difference to my family. At the time I decided ‘everyone should know about this’, so it is disappointing that there are still children suffering unnecessarily from the effects of what they eat. The good news is that in the last six months we have seen an explosion in awareness of the effects of food additives and other food chemicals, thanks to the many failsafers who have been spreading the word, especially group leaders who have bought up to a thousand brochures to distribute in schools and to the family who letterboxed 600 houses around their school. You can read below a few of the avalanche of emails in response by grateful parents who are relieved to finally find the answers to their children’s problems. It was wonderful to meet so many of you on my recent 5-state lecture tour. Owing to increasing numbers, I’m sorry to say that I can no longer answer all your emails personally. I’ll give priority to people who are having problems with their failsafe diet, but please read the Checklist of Common Mistakes first. Help is also available from the increasing number of failsafe contacts, support groups and email discussion groups throughout the world - a special welcome to new UK members. Thank you to everyone out there working to reverse the profit-at-all-cost madness that has made our food supply so unsafe for our children.


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


Australian schools join low additive trend


Acton Primary School in Burnie has become the first school in Tasmania to declare itself an “additive-free zone” in a bid to reduce behaviour problems among students. An additive code-breaker card and a list of additive-free supermarket products are available for students and parents, and the school is overhauling the canteen to ensure all its food is free of 50 identified ‘nasty’ additives including the bread preservative calcium propionate (282). One father told a food and behaviour workshop (pictured) at the school that his son improved within a day of switching to 282-free bread. School principal Kay Foster said staff had already noticed a great improvement in the behaviour of Acton students, “Suspensions are well down this year and many of our challenging children have settled to good learning habits in the classroom”.


Rosemeadow Public School in NSW recently obtained similar results after removing preservatives, coloured cordials and fizzy soft drinks. Children were encouraged to drink water or milk. Within six weeks, there was a “40 to 60% drop in certain types of behaviour that children were exhibiting in the classroom, and an increase of 30 to 40% in the length of time they could concentrate on a task,” said school principal Michael Young.


Numerous schools in the UK and USA have reported similar successes with additive reduction, see the Schools Low Additive Factsheet on our website.


Full stories: Acton school adopts additive-free food policy, Gill Vowles, The Advocate, 8/10/2004; Undernourished, Catalyst, 25/3/2004, http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1073786.htm


 New enrolments needed at low chemical school


A low chemical environment for children put tiny Numulgi Public School in the news recently. With only six students, the school held a public talk with Sue Dengate which was attended by more than 350 people and raised $1200 for the school. Pesticides and toxic chemicals are banned, teachers use eco-friendly cleaning products, the children drink fresh rainwater and even the air in the classrooms is filtered. Kim Patch says the difference in her son Jesse’s attitude and schoolwork is nothing short of miraculous since he started at the school, which is ten minutes from Lismore, NSW. Jesse has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and even the slightest chemical residue to his food, water or air can affect his behaviour and learning ability. “There’s been a 100 per cent improvement in all aspects of his life”, Kim said. But the school faces closure unless enrolments increase. For information or enrolment, phone the school on 02 6628 2264 or Kim on 02 6622 5799. From Northern Rivers Echo, 23/11/04, http://www.rehame.com/printclips/P3753080.pdf




RPAH autism study

We hear that the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Clinic’s study of diet and Autistic Spectrum Disorder is achieving great success. Darani Cooper from Newcastle joined the study when conventional medicine failed to provide a solution for her three year old son Ethan, who was diagnosed with autism and severe communication disorder (‘basically just a few words’) last year.

After five months on his new diet, Ethan’s frequent tantrums have disappeared, he makes good eye contact and best of all, his language is now age appropriate. ‘It was much easier than I expected,’ said Darani, ‘and the improvements in Ethan have been huge. He’s a completely different child’.

Darani was particularly pleased with a nutritional analysis of her son’s new diet. It showed that Ethan’s daily intakes of calcium, iron, A, B and C vitamins and other nutrients were all above the recommended intake, especially his folate intake which was more than four times the recommended level (see what Ethan ate in Cooks’ Corner below).

Darani is a new failsafe contact in Newcastle and is organizing the failsafe talk on November 17th: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To join the RPAH study, phone 02 9515 5026, fax 02 9519 8420, or see http://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/default.html.

Probiotics and eczema

At Perth’s Princess Margaret Hospital, a study of 56 toddlers ranging in age from six months to 18 months found that 92% of those given a probiotic supplement experienced an improvement in eczema compared to 63% of the control group. The probiotic was Protract, a freeze dried, dairy free brand given twice a day. Belinda Hickman, Bacteria clue in battling eczema, The Australian 25/8/2004, online.

Depression and illness linked to air fresheners and aerosols

Mothers are more likely to experience headaches and depression in homes where air fresheners and aerosols such as deodorants, hairsprays or polishes are used daily, according to a new study. Babies in high use homes are at significantly higher risk of earache and stomach ache, diarrhoea and vomiting. Researchers led by Dr Alexandra Farrow from the University of Bristol’s ongoing Children of the 90s project believe the problems may be a result of exposure to VOCs (volatile organic compounds) used in aerosols. The study will be published in the Archives of Environmental Health. Daily Mail, London, 20/10/04, online.



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


* New version of RPAH book - A new version of RPAH’s Friendly Food with many revisions to recipes and food tables – for example, pumpkin has been upgraded to high in salicylates except for butternut – is now in the bookstores, published by Murdoch books. A good Christmas present for any failsafer. For more details, see www.cs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/allergy.

* Sulphite test strips – the Food Intolerance Network has been distributing these at cost within Australia, Sweden and New Zealand to allow people to test minced meat for the illegal presence of sulphites. Of 65 results returned in the last year, 28 (43%) contained sulphites at >200ppm. The legal limit is zero! The illegal results state-by-state are ACT 86% (of 7 samples, including equal highest in the survey at 640ppm), NSW 22% (of 23 samples), NT 33% (of 9 samples), NZ 67% (of 6 samples), QLD 50% (of 6 samples), SA 100% (1 sample only), TAS 0% (1 sample only), VIC 0% (3 samples), WA 50% (of 6 samples) and in Sweden 100% in non-imported meat including equal highest at 640ppm (3 samples only). While people are most likely to report positive rather than negative results to the Network, the illegal presence of these known causes of asthma is a real concern. The detailed results will be provided to FSANZ again.

Oats in a gluten free diet - Oats are now considered to be gluten free and members of the Coeliac Society in Finland have been encouraged to eat oats since 1997. A five-year follow up found that 70 per cent of coeliacs studied and 55 per cent of patients with Dermatitis Herpetiformis (an intensely itchy blistery rash associated with gluten) were eating oats. Those who had stopped were afraid of contamination by wheat. Peraaho M and others, J Am Diet Assoc, 2004.

Gas heating and asthma - A study of schoolchildren aged 8-11 in Belmont NSW found that having been exposed to fume emitting heaters during the first year of life was associated with an increased risk of having airway hyperresponsiveness. There was no association between current use of such heaters and asthma outcomes. Phoa LL and others, Thorax. 2004;59(9):741-5.

Antidepressant warning - All antidepressants sold in the US will soon be required to carry a ‘black box’ warning on the packet, as well as a reader-friendly insert, alerting people to the increased risk of suicidal tendencies in young patients, the FDA announced last week. Evidence shows that children taking antidepressants are twice as likely to have suicidal tendencies as those on a placebo, and that for children, antidepressants are barely more effective than a placebo. New Scientist, ‘Heed the Label’, 23/10/04, p4.

Free Medication Effectiveness Tests - Many children with ADHD are receiving no benefit from their medication and may be better off using alternative treatments, according to a recent University of Queensland study which showed medication was ineffective for about half of the children tested. The university’s Centre for General Practice is currently offering free Individualised Medication Effectiveness Tests (IMETs) to ADHD children to determine whether a child’s medication is really working for them. The service is available by post and telephone to patients throughout Australia. Further information: IMET unit, phone 1800 038 464, fax 07 3365 5130, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., web: www.sph.uq.edu.au.

Education of doctors - “The [medical] education system does not even mention nutrition, let alone food intolerance. We do not have a body of doctors who have learned about the role of food and diet in health.” Professor Jonathan Brostoff in ‘Doctors “allergic to truth about food”’, bbcnews.com



Flavour labelling: thank you to FSANZ

Australia and New Zealand’s food regulatory agency FSANZ responded quickly and positively to concerns raised by the Food Intolerance Network about flavours being used as vehicles for un-labelled colours and preservatives. FSANZ reminded all food manufacturers of the legal requirements for labelling of flavours used in foods. See letter


Consumers’ Association: additives need clearer labeling

According to a recent article in Which? Magazine (2/10/2004), the UK Consumers’ Association’s publication, the quantity of additives used should be indicated on labeling. Which? says that hundreds of additives are approved for use in foods, but that the average consumer is unaware of the health risks associated with the ingredients. The Aassociation is calling for the actual quantities to be provided on the labels so that people know what their daily intake is. As they say, “discerning consumers prefer to have as few additives as possible in their food”.

Readers' stories


[356] One-liners (Nov 2004)


I didn't even think that my son's behaviour and symptoms could be caused by food and now I've been eliminating, I can see why - most of his reactions (eg to colours) are delayed by at least a day, if not two.- by email.


When I was little I was told to take antihistamines every day for the rest of my life for a persistent itchy throat, but after months of failsafe I have finally worked out that even minute amounts of salicylates are the problem. - WA


The possibility of missing out on the wonderful information I receive through your newsletter is just unthinkable - it has saved my life ... not just my sanity! – by email


Logan Farm Guilt Free (oven) Fries are such a great item ... my take-away ... LOL - Vic


I have just read your book "Fed Up" after it was recommended by my son's childcare teacher - I was in tears after reading the first page of your first chapter, as it was like looking in to a mirror.- SA


The closest restaurant to our hotel in LA was a Denny’s, but we had to stop eating there when I developed a rash all over my body half an hour after our meal – and they actually provide children with artificial colour sachets to change the colour of their lemonade … WHAT THE ??? - Failsafer visiting the USA


Discovering the failsafe diet has changed our lives: we have read Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook, most, if not all, of the newsletters, and we are on the Failsafe USA list and Failsafe 3 - we have had our mistakes and struggles, but we have had so much success with our very difficult 4 year old son that we continually strive to get it right. - USA


Thank you for coming to our town and pointing us in the right direction - we now have a dairy-free happy child who has not seen a doctor in about month except the paediatrician - it was the best he had ever seen her, even her speech has improved. – NSW


First let me tell you how impressed and grateful I am: I work with children with autism, ADD and learning difficulties and the best way to tell people about the effects of what their children eat is to lend them one of your books. – WA


We're on day 2 of the elimination diet today, and all is going well - your Failsafe Cookbook is fantastic with bits of info all through which seem to answer questions as they come into your mind. – NZ


Our son is such a fussy eater that we didn’t give him enough salicylates during the salicylate challenge – we concluded he could tolerate moderate to high salicylates and it has taken us months to recognise that he is noticeably better on low salicylates - Vic


My dreadful rash has almost cleared up as long as I avoid ‘the 600 numbers’ [flavour enhancers 621, 627, 631 and 635] - I have found that one of the worst things if I happen to be dining out is soup. - SA


Our yellow colouring (102) challenge was like going back to the dark ages – my daughter was moody, angry, cried for nothing eg. being told to move, stop screaming etc, she was aggressive, confrontational, "raaahed" at me and her sister, spat and threw things at us, cut off her 2 year old sister’s hair and woke next morning still in a bad mood. - WA


My 18 month old son is generally a quiet little guy, until the last two afternoons when I gave him chicken in a biscuit – both days his behaviour changed after about half an hour, he was running around the house yelling loudly, his breathing was very intense and he was a totally different child - I am amazed that it is legal to use additives that can do this to children.- by email


We gave our 5 year old failsafe daughter a mandarin as a treat – there were no behavioural changes, but the next day she was unable do read properly and all her numbers were written back to front – it really makes you appreciate what some of these kids go through on a daily basis. - NSW


Our three and a half year old son is a lovely child with a few difficulties when on failsafe food but before diet, he had enough symptoms to class him as autistic: little or no eye contact, spent hours alone fixated with various objects ie string, sand, wouldn't accept hugs or show affection, constant tantrums, his development regressed a lot from about 18 months or 2 years with regard to loss of speech, and for quite a while he said only one word repetitively, as well as severe reflux, diarrhoea, eczema and sleep disturbance. - Qld


I have often thought that my children’s academic success [three teenagers] has something to do with the fact that they just don't consume the same amount of daily junk compared to the average kid. – Vic


Our Beagle dog’s seizures are related to ribonucleotides (flavour enhancer 635). – SA


My four year old autistic son’s pain threshold seems to have decreased on the diet – he used to be barely aware of pain if he injured himself, but now responds as any "normal" child would. - NSW


I just wish I had done this YEARS ago! It is a delight to see my two kids cooperating and playing nicely with each other as long as they are eating properly! – by email



[355] Six slices of bread a day (Nov 2004)


I removed the bread preservative 282 from my 7 year old son's diet after coming across your website and recognising many of the behavioural problems we were experiencing with him. He was extremely defiant, flatly refusing to do the simplest thing asked of him - homework was torture for all involved. He was loud, argumentative, talked non-stop, very anxious, had frequent bad dreams and was prone to angry outbursts. Much of this we had grown to live with since he was identified as a preschooler as being highly gifted but I was increasingly concerned about our family dynamics as we spent most of our time yelling at him and wondering how much longer we could survive, and how he was going to cope as he grew older - and therefore stronger and possibly dangerously violent.


He has always loved bread and, being a vegetarian, eats a lot of it, averaging six slices a day. The difference once we started making our own bread was astounding. He immediately became so much calmer and quieter that my husband asked if he was still in the house while he was getting ready for school in the mornings. He became much less defiant and argumentative, was able to stay still while I put his school tie on, much more polite and affectionate.


It was a lovely change to have him come home from school and give me a spontaneous hug, which is a very rare event as he is so sensitive to touch. He also seems to be able to think more clearly. I removed 282 a few days before the end of term 3 so was able to monitor changes over the holidays, which were the most pleasant we've ever had. In the first week of the new term he came home with a merit award for “staying cool, calm and collected" when faced with a situation which usually would have had him in tears. That same week he gained a further stamp towards a different award, and the following week another one for his homework!


As a visual-spatial learner with a central auditory processing disorder and an IQ in the top 2% he was probably always going to have trouble fitting into a mainstream school, however the difference the removal of 282 has made is so marked we are all going to attempt the failsafe diet.- reader, NSW



[354] Argument from 160b and a history of headbanging (Nov 2004)


After only one week (and this was my getting ready to start the diet week) I noticed a definite calmness about my 7 year old son. Then he finished off some icecream and within an hour we had a horrible argument which was like his behaviour from the previous week. I sat and cried this morning as I read the failsafers’ stories and the annatto 160b factsheet on the website. My son used to head bang since about 2 years of age – and we still have dents in the walls! I have tried for 5/6 years to track his' diet reactions but they had no rhyme or reason. I just had a psychopath in training. I had always cooked and used behaviour management but there are always those telling stares from other parents and friends - I wasn't tough enough, he was out of control, obviously a single mother working full time produces this "type' of child etc. I didn’t make the food intolerance connection until I read your book. - reader, NSW



[353] Sensitivity to perfumes, jasmine and basmati rice (Nov 2004)


Have just discovered your website and it's a great relief to find out that I am not the only adult in the world to have sensitivities (specifically fumes and especially perfumes - solved by getting off buses, changing carriages or seats in trains, changing seats in cinemas and theatres; food additives – and the ubiquitous jasmine and basmati rice - solved by avoiding all Thai/Indian and some other Asian eateries and even some coffee shops and restaurants.) It's been too long a time whereby non-sufferers usually laugh at my "discomfort" and disbelieve: "you're making it up - it's your imagination!" Thank you. - by email



[352] ‘So much calmer’ (Nov 2004)


First of all let me tell you how wonderful it was to find your website and help our 4 1/2 year old son (and the rest of us) lead a much more ‘normal’ life. He's had horrible symptoms of terrible mood swings, off and on stuttering, biting, spitting, banging his head against the wall, excessive bedwetting, an extremely loud voice that he couldn't control, big ‘saucer’ eyes with clenched teeth while running at me to kick and bite me, would go into hysterics when I would ask him to do the simplest of tasks such as dressing himself, pulling his hair hard enough to yank it out of head (and his 14 month old sister's), screaming every name at me he knew, running behind me from across the room gaining momentum to head butt me as hard as he could in the back and spine and as we give him a much needed nap during the day he can't fall asleep until 11:00 pm or midnight!


I’ve ordered your book but until it arrives I've been making some really wonderful meals and snacks for my son just from the info on your website… Since introducing the new diet, he's been basically a new, happier little boy and the mood around the house is SO MUCH CALMER. - USA



[351] ‘I cried the whole way through’ (Nov 2004)


I’d like to thank you for sharing your life and family with the rest of us. I sat and read the book Fed Up with ADHD from beginning to end and cried the whole way through it. All I kept thinking was that this was a book about my child (although I didn't have the baby or sleeping problems) and how I was feeling. It was a relief to know that it's all normal - for ADHD sufferers. Thanks to you, I can finally feel free. - SA



[350] Hearing loss and tinnitus from salicylates (Nov 2004)


I've known for 30 years that I am salicylate sensitive since suffering temporary hearing loss - and the top of my head felt numb - after taking one regular full day’s dosage of aspirin (8 tablets in 24 hours) prescribed by my doctor. My symptoms cleared up in several days after I stopped the aspirin. But it is only recently that I put two and two together and got four - food salicylates may have played a big role in my steady hearing loss and increasing tinnitus over the years. I discovered this when I started taking noni this year and my hearing loss accelerated, I got terrible tinnitus, and my head felt "funny". Then I discovered noni may be high in salicylates. - by email



[349] Sneaky poos (Nov 2004)


Last night I was "surfing the web" looking for information on sneaky poos (my 6 year old daughter has had a lifetime of tummy upsets, with sneaky poos being just one symptom). I typed in sneaky poos into the search engine and found some pages. As I opened up a few pages, I found they were all about our family, from the behavior problems my 7 year old son has, to the physical problems the rest of us have ... and there was another common link with the pages ... they were ALL from your website!! I spent the next few hours reading reading reading! I know it will be difficult to change our way of eating so drastically, but you have convinced me it's worth a shot. - Tas



[348] Hated every day of kindy (Nov 2004)


My son Luke went to kindy for five terms and hated every day. He escaped quite a few times by jumping the gates and fences. He wouldn't interact with other children, had a small attention span and if his teachers said day he would say night. His kindy teachers asked me to have him assessed so that they could get to have someone to work with him one. I went along to a paediatrician but I didn't really get a lot of help. Luke acted like a quiet little angel, so the paediatrician probably thought I was just some over-reacting mother. My own doctor had said there was no need to feed Luke bad foods to show the paediatrician what he becomes like or how bad his skin gets (he has chronic eczema) as the paediatrician would believe me, but I didn't feel that at all.


Luke has just started at school this term. A friend gave me your book and it has been a godsend, my husband said that your book has helped us more than any doctor ever has. Thankyou so very much for being there for all us lost and desperate parents. - SA



[347] Beyond gluten free/casein free (Nov 2004)


My entire family previously responded well to the Gluten Free/Casein Free diet for about 3 weeks, and then began to backslide. I was *so* frustrated until I read about amines and salicylates. Of course, when we went GF/CF we loaded up on fruit, and all the other "bad foods"! No wonder it seemed to have failed. – reader, New Zealand



[346] Nearly failsafe in Norway (Nov 2004)


I grew up on nearly "failsafe" food in Norway 20 years ago: homemade bread, oat porridge with sugar, dinner with potatoes every day, meat and fish and a few vegetables. We ate just half or one piece of fruit every day because fruit was very expensive then, and we only drank fruit juice or fizzy drinks for Christmas or birthdays. When I was around 10 years old and got my own pocket money I started buying sweets with my friends and often felt sad and depressed. My Mum told us all about how bad junk was, so I stopped eating sweets and felt much better, and have never touched junk foods again. reader, UK



[345] Additives affect dogs too (Nov 2004)


On a recent veterinary talkback radio program, a caller had tried all kinds of prescribed medication for her dog’s constantly itchy skin. When it didn't help she changed vets. The new vet suggested avoiding foods with preservatives and colouring and to add fish to the diet. Within a month the condition had improved and the dog had also lost three kilograms - it was a breed that is prone to put on weight. - Tom Olthoff, Adelaide

MORE READERS' STORIES on the website


Product updates


Bakers Delight Finger Buns once again are free from Additives 320, 310 & 160b. Due to individual bakery usage and delivery dates, you may want to confirm with your bakery that they have received the new formula shortening prior to purchase. The new ingredient content of this shortening is: vegetable fats and oils, emulsifier(435), antioxidants [306, from Soy Bean, (200mg/kg)], flavour and colour (160a). The flavour is not failsafe – you can order them in advance, asking for the spicewash flavour to be left off. Thanks to Jenny Saal

*** WARNING*** Arnott’s French Fries - a failsafer reports: I allowed my son to have the Arnott's French Fries which claim to be additive free. Well, he was very hyper the next day. Other failsafers have had similar problems and the Hotline gives conflicting reports so they must contain antioxidants.- Karen H


***WARNING*** Nabsico mini Ritz contain BHA (320) as well as good antioxidants 304 and 406 – not failsafe. Thanks to Tania St Cannon.


* See new list of UK failsafe foods


* Due to consumer demand, Birdseye have introduced an additive-free range of six products in Australia under the Captains Catch label. But read the label! Li’l Fishies contain annatto 160b.


* Great Lakes tinned Pear Halves in Light Syrup from China are soft and ripe, unlike the local brands of unripe little rocks. Available from Woolworths/Safeways.


* Dried whole preservative-free bananas are ideal for lunchboxes and snacks, but only if you have passed your amine challenge. Available from Carobana along with additive-free honeycomb, carob coated honeycomb, honeycomb chips (suitable for mixing with icecream), carob coated whole dried bananas, carob coated banana pieces and raw cashew nut brittle, on the highway north of Coffs Harbour or by mail order from www.carobana.com.au.


* Dried pears from Bega Dried foods, 5 Beach St, Tathra NSW 2550, Phone/Fax 02 6494 1995, (discontinued). The pear has skin on but slices are across the fruit so it is possible to remove the skin. It is dried in an air tunnel without preservative so looks more like it has been freeze dried. Cheaper in bulk - $14 for a 200g packet, $32 per kilogram of dried pears plus freight. Thanks to Julie Pegrum. Remember that pears are limited to 2 per day, including dried pears.

* Feedback: the persimmon wine mentioned in the last newsletter has been very popular. The ‘extremely low residual amount of sulphur dioxide’ mentioned on the label refers to sulphited corks, currently being phased out in favour of plastic reusable stoppers. Our testing shows no detectable sulphites at all (<10ppm). Failsafers say: ‘it’s not like grape wine, but it’s nice to have a bottle of wine on the table – whisky’s not the same’; ‘it doesn’t make me feel awful the next morning, like wine normally does’; ‘great to make a stirfry more tasty’; ‘I like it diluted with soda water’. Some stock left 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).


* Kiwifruit: NZ failsafers report that the new yellow species ‘kiwifruit gold’ seem to be milder and lower (but not low) in salicylates than the familiar green variety - thanks to Robin Fisher.


* Peaches: the low chill peaches grown around Coffs Harbour and sold locally are small, soft, ripe, sweet and juicy, and appear to be lower in salicylates than supermarket varieties.


* Doongara rice cooks in 12 minutes and has a considerably lower Glycemic Index than other brands, meaning it is filling for longer and assists with weight loss. An unflavoured, unperfumed white rice, it also appears to be low in salicylates.


* Xylitol - A failsafer reports: ‘Just to let you know my son is tolerating the Xylitol fine. I use it instead of sugar to make the magic cordial. It's expensive though...’ PP


* Pure Harvest rice cakes - Pure Harvest assure us that the vegetable oil used in these rice cakes is refined sunflower oil with no antioxidants. – Louise R. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further enquiries.


* Preservative-free (not failsafe) wine - a failsafer reports: there is a little winery in Cowangerup in southern WA, called Settlers, selling preservative free wine. - Simone Jenkins


* Omo sensitive now have a liquid for top loading washing machines. Thanks to Jenny H.


* Gluten free flours: McKenzies assure us that their rice flour is not contaminated with salicylates in jasmine rice. Lotus Organic potato flour and Lotus Arrowroot that are supposedly sulphite free - Lotus info: 03 9584 2245, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


* White cotton underwear for children with eczema is available from Target stores, thanks to Llewellyn W.


* A butcher in WA will make biodynamic meat into sausages in 5kg batches. He usually makes beef sausages containing meat, organic rice flour, salt, pepper and spice mix (ingredients unknown) but was happy to substitute failsafe spices or vegies. He now sells more of these sausages than so-called normal ones. The price is $10.99 per kg. Adrian Shelley, Dalkeith Village Butcher, Shop 7, 81 Waratah Ave, Dalkeith WA, Telephone and fax: 08 9386 2535 – Julie Pegrum


Gluten free baking - In Adelaide, Kylie of Kylie’s gluten free baking and specialty cakes (at the Tea House at Goodwood) would love to add some failsafe items to her list, phone/fax 08 8172 1166.


Lansinoh preservative-free moisturiser and lip balm - Ingredients: ‘100% Lansinoh - hypoallergenic ultra pure anhydrous lanolin (USP Modified Lonolin). No preservatives.' Marketed for breastfeeding mothers for the treatment of sore nipples, it is also recommended for use on dry or cracked skin, on chapped lips etc. Available in pharmacies. It is fairly expensive but a failsafer says a 56 gram tube has lasted her for over two years. - Thanks to Alison White


Check out the Failsafe shopping list on the website for latest information.

Your questions:


Q. How does the recent link between macular degeneration (blindness) and certain fats affect the failsafe diet?


A. Trans fats are created when manufacturers make liquid oils into the more solid partially hydrogenated oils used in margarines, shortening and thousands of processed foods. Twenty years ago, scientist through that these trans fats were safe but in the 1990s scientists found that trans fats raise LDL (bad cholesterol) as much as saturated fat does. Now new evidence indicates that trans fats also lower HDL (good cholesterol) and studies in the US - where trans fat consumption is four times greater than in Australia - have associated trans fats with macular degeneration. The makers of Nuttelex have advised us that they are very close to production of a low (less than 1%) trans fat Nuttelex and hope to have it in stores by Xmas. Since macular degeneration is also linked with overweight and smoking, consumers are advised to maintain a healthy weight, choose healthy fats in moderation (fish and nuts are protective), stop smoking, and eat lots of vegetables and fruit. More details: http://searchext.csiro.au/search/search.cgi?query=fat+and+molecule+degeneration&collection=CSIROau_All&form=csiro


Q. My son’s teacher and I had a verbal agreement that he would not give my son any food or drink. Well, last Friday he gave my son a piece of chocolate cake and said ‘don't tell your mum’ but my son told me, ‘I'm not going to bother lying to you mum, because I know you can tell when I've had something just by looking at my eyes’.


A. One failsafer achieved a high level of cooperation from her school by telling her story in the school newsletter, see our new factsheet “Please Don’t Feed My Child”. Perhaps you could tell your own story in your newsletter in a similar way, or ask your school to reprint our factsheet.


Q. Just wanted to know if you can eat Subway on the failsafe diet?


A. As you can see from the Subway ingredients list, most items contain non-failsafe additives. The safest choice would be roast beef and lettuce on Italian bread, no pickles, no dressing, although we are not sure about azodicarbamide (927) bread improver, which has only recently been approved in Australia. Perhaps you could take your own failsafe ketchup or mayonnaise. If you don’t care about salicylates and amines you could also have fresh cucumbers, yellow mustard and tuna, see 




Q. Do sulfites mainly affect asthmatics or are they mood altering?


A. Like other food chemicals, sulfites (or sulphites) can be associated with any of the symptoms of food intolerance including irritable bowel, headaches, itchy skin rashes and mood. This is particularly concerning as sulfites are the most commonly used preservative, present in nearly all processed foods.


Q. When my ADHD son eats kiwi fruit, his behaviour doesn’t change. Since kiwi fruit is very high in salicylates, does this mean he isn’t affected by salicylates?


A. Very few parents ever notice a reaction to salicylates in foods because salicylates are eaten many times a day, every day. Most children don’t react to a few serves of fruit, but the effects build up slowly. You will only see the difference when you avoid salicylates then do a challenge -note that failing to eat six good serves of high salicylates per day during the challenge can cause confusing results. If in doubt, it’s a good idea to repeat the challenge.

Q. I bought a black winter coat labelled ‘made in China’, and didn’t realise until I got it home that its horrible tar or creosote-type smell gives me a nasty headache.


A. A failsafer with exactly the same problem reported that airing and drycleaning had no effect. Despite the ‘dryclean only’ label, he achieved a wearable garment by soaking his coat in Lux flakes for three days, running it through the washing machine at least six times, and storing it in a drying room for months. Surprisingly, the coat did not shrink.


Q. Chic Nuts roasted chickpeas are so delicious, are you sure they are failsafe?


A. According to the manufacturer, Chic Nuts are made from locally grown chickpeas soaked in pure spring water overnight before being roasted in Monola oil (a more monounsaturated and therefore healthier version of Canola). Then they are tossed in natural seasonings to give them various flavours – the ones we can eat are pure garlic powder and sea salt. There are no anti-oxidants in the Monola oil. The sodium is low compared with popular salty snacks (480mg per 100g) and the GI is 37. More information from www.partnerfoods.com.au Chic Nuts are available from Safeways and Woolworths, in the Naytura aisle. Information about Monola oil: http://www.csiro.au


Q. My husband’s gout has improved since our family went failsafe. He’s not really on the diet but eats a lot of our failsafe food. Is the failsafe diet for gout?


A. People with gout are affected by food chemicals called purines. Many high-purine foods such as wine, beer, tea, anchovies, gravy, meat extracts and sardines are avoided on the failsafe diet because they are also high in salicylates or amines. However, some failsafe foods such as dried beans and lentils contain moderate amounts of purines. For more information, see http://dialadietitian.org/resources/handouts/goutdiet.html


Q. I bought normal white Panadol tablets and the children’s chewable Panadol for my 5 year old son because the lady in the chemist’s thought it was ok. I’m confused as it says on the packet 'no added colours or flavours' but also says pleasant tasting.


A. I was unable to find the inactive ingredients in chewable Panadol (unfortunately they don’t have to be listed on medications), but pleasant tasting chewable tablets obviously contain flavour. The dose recommended on the children’s packet for 3 - 6 year olds is 2 tablets, which are 120mg paracetamol each, so 240mg in total, in which case 1/2 plain white tablet is the same. You can crush it and mix with golden syrup etc, see the Supplements Factsheet. Please, anyone whose child has reacted to flavoured tablets, tell the AME hotline (Adverse Medications Event - 1300 134 237). It is only by complaining that we can get authorities to realize that unlisted ingredients in medications can affect our children.

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

Around the groups: getting in touch


Talking point – eating out


‘Can you give me some suggestions on what you can eat when out and about that won't affect my son overly?’ asked a reader. Now that McDonalds have removed gallates (310) from their oil, some failsafers are reporting that their children can manage chicken nuggets and fries with a cup of water or ice, although another failsafer wrote: ‘I tried my kids with MacDonalds nuggets and fries and no soft drink to see if it was any better. Well, we won’t be doing that again for a long time - it will only be if there is a birthday party we can't get out of. Perhaps people who think their kids are OK don't wait long enough for the reaction.’


In Adelaide, Tania Cannons from the finAD group recommends meals such as Chicken and cashews with carrots and celery at the Pagoda restaurant in Frewville (8379 6248), which advertises: ‘Promoting Healthier Eating, No MSG, No Preservatives, No Colouring, No Fat or Lard Used, Fresh Vegetables, Natural Sauce Used, Quality Lean Meat’. Staff are prepared to be flexible with orders and water bottles are regularly replaced on tables. Note that you would have to skip the sauces – natural soy sauce with no additives is still high in salicylates, amines and natural glutamates.


Also see the website factsheetA failsafe weekend” from Jenny Saal for how to eat failsafe in restaurants and cafés.New support and email groups


Welcome to Susannah and Jan, our new contacts in the UK. There are two new email groups just starting: in the UK (Email "subscribe" to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and for those using the Failsafe diet for asthma (Email “subscribe” to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Email support groups are immensely popular and have over 1000 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). To join a general group now, email 'subscribe' to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Can you help?

1) ‘I am a wound care nurse in an aged care unit. We use sorbolene cream for moisture retention below knees and elbows. Some brands appear to be less pure than others. We have a lady who is extremely sensitive to most, I have noticed that additives are increasing, causing this lady’s skin to itch and burn. Please have you any advice on which one to use?’ Please send recommendations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2) I would like to hear from anyone who is prepared to talk to the media about the effects of the bread preservative (282) on their child or themselves, contact Sue on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Q. Is there anything I can do to help?

A. Right now it would be great to have more people on the following:

1) Email Qantas regarding additive free or failsafe meals, at: www.qantas.com.au (under 'contacts' 'feedback and comments' or 'Your experience with Qantas')

2) A failsafer wrote to Sanitarium ‘the health food company’ expressing disappointment that they use annatto 160b and artificial colours. Their reply, in part, said: 'Thankyou for your comments regarding the use of Annatto and other colours in Sanitarium products. I have passed these on to our marketing team for their consideration. The colours used in Strawberry So Good and strawberry Up&Go help to improve the appearance of the product. The colours used in the strawberry products are 122 (Azorubine), a synthetic food colouring, and 124 (Ponceau), a synthetic food colouring.’ You can email Sanitarium (www.sanitarium.com.au under ’contact us’) to tell them politely you are disappointed that they use annatto 160b colour and artificial colours in their products because (… up to you).


Support contacts


There are now 70 support contacts in 47 locations in Australia, and in New Zealand and 8 overseas countries - see website.





NEWCASTLE NSW Wednesday 17 November 6.30-8.30pm at Phoenix Club, Mayfield: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. $12 per person. Enquiries to Darani 02 4948 0008 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Lara, Autism Association 02 4955 6266.


CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND Tuesday 18 January 2005: Sue Dengate, venue to be confirmed. Enquiries to Robin 03 312 8824.

MARCH 2005

BRISBANE QLD Wednesday 16 March 2005: Sue Dengate. Enquiries to Anne 07 3216 8742.

MELBOURNE VIC Thursday 17 March 2005: Sue Dengate. Enquiries Jenny R. 03 9544 2804, 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 available. We'll post two free that you can copy, or you can buy bulk copies at cost $A0.22 each plus postage. 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."

Cooks' corner


Beanz meanz health


People who eat beans and other legumes at least four times a week have a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who eat legumes less than once a week, and legumes are the most important dietary predictor of survival among the elderly. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney, soy and other dried beans are a good source of protein, fibre and iron and have a low Glycemic Index. Most cooked pulses are a source of minerals and vitamins including B vitamins, folate and sometimes Vitamin C or E. All legumes are failsafe except broadbeans. They can be eaten in the form of roasted chickpeas, lentil soup, Howard’s bean spread (see below), failsafe hummus, failsafe mince with kidney beans, kidney or butter beans on toast (great tossed with 1 tbsp of Birgit’s pear chutney) and bean mix in salads and stews, canned or home-cooked.


* While on a camping trip I discovered that UHT cream makes great potato casserole, luscious quiche, gluten free pastry, pancakes with no need for melted butter and heaps of other uses. – Julie Pegrum

* Make savoury muffins from your usual muffin recipe by using 1/2 tsp salt instead of the sugar and add finely diced safe veggies (choko, brussels sprouts, potato, green beans, etc). It’s a good way to get vegetables into children. – Susie Moen

Darani’s hearty chicken noodle soup

This highly nutritious meal was 3 year old Ethan’s favourite during his elimination diet in the RPAH autism study. See Ethan’s Menu, the last entry in Cooks Corner, for the rest of his diet.

1 whole free-range chicken

1 leek (halved lengthways)

1 tsp salt

1 cup red lentils

12 brussel sprouts or approx 1/2 cabbage

1 swede

4-6 sticks celery

4-6 shallots

1 cup frozen green beans

375g pkt Orgran rice and corn (5%) spaghetti noodles or Fantastic rice noodles

Place chicken in pot with leek and enough water to cover, add salt, bring to the boil and simmer until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken and allow to cool a little. Strain stock, return to pot and add red lentils, then washed and finely chopped vegetables. Gently simmer until well cooked, about one hour. Meanwhile, remove skin and bones from chicken, finely chop or process and return to pot with vegetables. Add noodles and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. This usually makes enough to fill about 8 rectangular chinese take-away containers (2 serves in each for my son) which I then freeze and use as needed. Soup is very thick, more like stew really, and can be watered down a little if preferred.- Darani Cooper


Howard’s bean spread

Use red kidney beans from a can or soak dried beans overnight, pressure-cook 12 mins or simmer for 60 mins. Drain.

1 cup cooked red kidney beans

2 tsp failsafe oil

pinch salt

¼ tsp citric acid

crushed clove of garlic optional

2 tblspn water


Mix in blender to a thick paste, keep in fridge. Great in sandwiches, wraps, as a dip, and on pizza.


Dominic's Pop-Rocks

2 cups water

1/2 cup regular white sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons nuttelex (butter)

1 packet of Sunrice Plain Rice Cakes, crumbled

On low heat, put the first three ingredients into a saucepan in the order listed above. DO NOT STIR. Allow to come to a slow rolling boil. At first, there will be lots of bubbles as the mixture boils, but after 5 to 10 minutes the bubbles will slow down or diminish - the butterscotch is now starting to go through its final stages and you will need to watch it carefully from here. While it is cooking, you can be crushing the rice cakes. You don’t have to make these too small, as they will get smaller when being stirred or shaken in the airtight container later. Allow the butterscotch mixture to become golden. Turn off the heat but do not remove the pan from the hotplate. Using a clean wooden spoon (plastic might melt!) stir the crushed ricecakes into the butterscotch. Mix well until all the rice cake crumbs are covered - leaving the pan on the hotplate allows you the time to mix everything without it starting to go hard too quickly. When thoroughly mixed, pour the pop-rock mixture into a baking-paper lined slab tin and spread out.When cool, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Similar to candied popcorn, these are my kids favourite sweet treats - they share them with friends at teeball and soccer and their friends love them so my kids feel on top of the world, and not quite so 'different' for a while. They are cheap to make and great for parties - everyone can eat them! - Sheryl Sibley


Ethan’s Menu

Breakfast: Soy smoothie with soymilk, carob powder, pear and egg or gf toasted bread or rice flake porridge with pear puree and soymilk

Lunch at school: 4 rice cakes, home-made hummus or chickpeas and cashew with carob or gluten free sandwich with rissoles

Morning /afternoon tea: soy yoghurt or pear muffin (Margie's lunchbox muffins) or baked muesli slice or pureed pear icypole or packet plain crisps (only on treat days)

Dinner: hearty chicken noodle soup (see recipe above) or spaghetti with failsafe topping or baked dinner or rice crumbed chicken nuggets and chips or mince and potato casserole with hidden green vegies


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 Julie Pegrum, Helen Williams, Jenny Saal, Robin Fisher, Tania Cannons and her father, Kim and David Patch, Darani Cooper, Sheryl Sibley, Anne Hurman and the 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.