Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

October – December 2005

The Food Intolerance Network supports people worldwide using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) 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.


Food in cinemas

Asthma and additives

Schools peanut ban

The rise and rise of supermarkets

Food additives and dementia

Inauguration of the Nasty Food Awards


Research Gluten free diets and depression, Reduced sulphite wines, Bagged salads


In brief: Flavours not safe, Spam website, Sunset yellow risk, Another major food chain bans additives, Australian flour not bleached, Demand for preservative, additive free foods, Popcorn flavour damages, Bovine Growth Hormone


Targeting … BHA 320 (synthetic antioxidant)

Readers' stories: [377] - [381]

Product updates:detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Tweedie Pie, PBJ sandwiches, Failsafe trail mix, Max's MEMMs (mini expresso melting moments).


Hi everyone

Apologies for the lateness of this newsletter and thanks to all those who have written regarding my broken arm. It happened while Howard and I were hiking the 19 day, 230 km remote Larapinta Trail from Mt Sonder to Alice Springs in the Central Australian desert. On day 11, during an afternoon side trip by myself into a gorge, I slipped on a boulder and put my hand out to break my fall, instead breaking my arm. Since we would have had to walk three long, difficult days out to a road to hitchhike into town, we decided to keep going and finish the walk. Ten days later, the doctor in Alice Springs hospital was amazed. 'I don't know how you have done this', he said. 'You must have a very high tolerance to pain.' But it really didn't hurt much apart from the first few nights. Others have confirmed improved pain tolerance after going failsafe - evidently yet another benefit of failsafe eating. However, it did slow me down when I couldn't type because of the cast. It's OK now, thanks, but I have a huge backlog of emails, and am preparing my books for reprint as fast as I can, in between talks.

In this newsletter, there's some good news about cinema food as well as yet more confirmation of the importance of additives in asthma, a sad reminder to take peanut allergy seriously as an increasing numbers of young children including failsafers are being diagnosed with this condition, a look at the power of supermarkets, and a thought provoking report about the effects on food chemicals on dementia in the elderly. As usual, there are some startling reader stories about the effects of food chemicals, this time particularly with babies and young children. When does a salad contain more fat than a burger? See our Q & A for answers. For failsafers, there are more groups, contacts and dietitians than ever, so take a look at our failsafe support section. And finally, if you're a teacher looking for a failsafe-friendly part time job, see details of the 1-2-3 Magic trainer courses.

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

Food in cinemas


The Greater Union ban on taking your own food into cinemas has been overturned, due to the large number of submissions from people who need to be on a diet which does not include any of the foods available from a cinema kiosk. Thanks to Anaphylaxis Australia for organising the appeal, we wrote of behalf of failsafers. Now you can take your own food with a clear conscience and no need for baggy cargo pants.


Asthma and additives


For most children - although not all - getting rid of asthma can be as simple as switching to an additive free diet, and we saw this in Jamie's School Dinners. After one month on Jamie's additive-free food, the teacher who supervised asthma medication at Wingfield Primary School reported that none of the asthmatic students had needed their asthma medication since the program began. Sulphites and benzoates are the additives most likely to be associated with asthma and now our food regulators Food Standards Australia New Zealand have confirmed our suspicions. The recently published 21st Australian Total Diet Study (August 2005) showed that a significant proportion of the population takes in more than the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of sulphites and benzoates, particularly for children ages 2-5 yrs who may be taking in up to four times the sulphite ADI. Since these figures are based on food consumption in 1995 (!), before the explosion of dried-fruit based snacks for kids, they seriously underestimate actual consumption. For instance, the Food Intolerance Network has reliable reports of preschoolers who were consuming twenty times the ADI for sulphites. The FSANZ report still manages to conclude that 'there is currently no clinical evidence that high dietary exposure to sulphites and benzoates can cause adverse effects in humans'. I have no idea how they can say this with a straight face when their own newsletter reported several years ago warnings from the World Health Organisation that many more asthmatic children are affected by sulphites than previously thought. For more information see our Factsheets on Asthma and the Dangers of Dried Fruit.


Schools peanut ban


Peanut products have been banned in many schools because of the growing incidence of children with life-threatening nut allergies. Last month, the NSW State Government advised public schools to ‘avoid the use of peanuts, peanut butter or other peanut products’, particularly in lessons such as cooking or science. The ruling came after the deputy state coroner, Jacqueline Milledge, found that 13-year-old schoolboy Hamidur Rahman died of anaphylactic shock in 2002 after eating peanut butter during a trivia night challenge at a school camp, despite a known peanut allergy. Hamidur's parents had told a teacher of his allergy but had not been informed themselves of the potential seriousness of peanut allergy and Hamidur did not have an Epi-pen. An estimated 2 per cent of pre-school-aged children are allergic to peanuts and 80 per cent have the allergy for life. The coroner recommended immediate proper training of all staff and students in the state's schools and childcare centres and correct emergency treatment of acute reactions including the use of Epi-pens. In another tragic incident last year 4 year old Alex Baptist died of anaphylaxis in a Victorian kindergarten, despite carrying an Epi-pen which staff were not properly trained to use. Many schools have now banned peanut butter, Nutella, muesli bars and satay-flavoured noodles and some schools are supervising children so that they do not swap lunches. More information: www.allergyfacts.org.au, phone 1300 728 000.


The rise and rise of supermarkets


Over the last thirty years, a handful of supermarket chains have slowly taken control of about 80 per cent of our food. Consumers are now starting to feel the crunch as supermarkets dictate to us what we can and can't eat.


Did you know:


* bagged salads made from lettuce and other green leaves are washed in chlorine, dried, sorted and packaged in plastic bags with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) where low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide keep it looking fresh for up to ten days or even a month but destroy vital nutrients (see research below).


* in the UK there are more than 6,000 varieties of dessert and cooking apples but many have been lost to production and survive only in the national fruit collection because supermarkets stock only ten varieties.


* growers are pressured to overprune, use more fertiliser and pesticides, and to pick earlier than they want to achieve supermarket imposed standards of shelf life and appearance in fruit and vegetables, accompanied by a decrease in flavour and an increase in salicylates.


* supermarket tomatoes advertised as vine-ripened have been picked at the ‘breaker stage’ - meaning they are a good size and should be ready to turn colour - and ripened artificially with ethylene gas.


* in Australia, over the next two years Woolworths and Coles supermarkets plan to delist familiar brands in favour of own brands in a bid to increase own label brands from 12 per cent of supermarket sales to about 40 per cent. This is mean specialty items may go out of production, we will be less likely to find out about unlisted BHA, and it will be harder to buy plain staples without added colours, flavour sachets and profit margins. We know this because in some US supermarkets it is already impossible to buy plain rolled oats without added colour and sugar or rice other than small packets with flavour sachets; our Woolworths supermarket has already delisted lentils and soy butter; and we rarely receive a satisfactory answer about ingredients in own brands from Coles or Woolworths.


What you can do: buy from your local butchers, bakers and fruit stalls if they haven't already gone out of business; buy from farmers markets www.farmersmarkets.org.au (the 'real food revolution'); and read 'Shopped: the shocking power of British supermarkets' by Joanna Blythman, Fourth Estate, London, 2004 or 'Not on the Label: what really goes into the food on your plate' by Felicity Lawrence, Penguin, London, 2004. Tomato reference: http://www.hydroponics.com.au/back_issues/issue72.html.


Food additives and dementia


The effects of food chemicals on the elderly are generally overlooked although senior citizens become more sensitive to food additives because of the decreasing ability of ageing livers and kidneys to filter out toxic chemicals. We receive frequent reports of irritability in men when they start taking daily doses of aspirin for heart disease. 'We've been married for more than 50 years but the way he is now, I don't want to live with him any more', one woman said sadly. As with children, brain dysfunction will be aggravated by food reactions. A failsafer who is caring for an elderly relative with dementia has reported the following reactions after infractions due to others in the household:


‘After artificial colours such as a finger bun with pink icing or a cheap own-brand cream biscuit with artificial colours and synthetic antioxidant she becomes very oppositional within hours; after tomato sauce at lunchtime, that afternoon she tried to put her used control pants down the toilet, rather than in the nappy bucket, although she was aware she had done something wrong; after iced donuts on both days of the weekend she had a terrible week, introspective, restless, agitated, didn't do what was asked. Ultimately she had a fall and is now very depressed. I can now understand what living with a child with oppositional defiance must be like. I am sure she would have loved to hit me the other day!’


Inauguration of the Nasty Food Awards


The Food Intolerance Network is pleased to announce the opening entries in the Nasty Food Awards, where use of nasty additives or tricky labelling can be put on display for all to see and marvel over. There’s a new button on the website. Your nominations are welcome!


Inaugural winners: Home Brand Tropical Fruit Drink

Devondale Light



Gluten free diets and depression


Gluten free diets can alleviate depression and disruptive behavioural disorders in adolescents with untreated coeliac disease, according to Finnish researchers who found a significant decrease in psychiatric symptoms after 3 months on a gluten-free diet compared to patients' baseline condition. Pynnonen PA and others, Gluten-free diet may alleviate depressive and behavioural symptoms in adolescents with coeliac disease, BMC Psychiatry. 2005;5(1):14.


Reduced sulphite wines


Good news for sulphite-sensitive wine lovers: a simple and inexpensive method for reducing the sulphite content in wines has been developed using wheatgrass to convert potentially harmful sulphites into innocuous sulfates. Sulphites in commercial white wines were reduced from 150 ppm to under 7.5 ppm within 3 hours and a 93% removal of sulphite in commercial red wines was observed within 45 minutes, suggesting that wheatgrass could be used to remove sulphites from beverages prior to consumption. Lin SC and Georgiou G, A biocatalyst for the removal of sulfite from alcoholic beverages. Biotechnol Bioeng, 2005;89(1):123-7. Full text at http://www.eng.uq.edu.au/files/course/files/CHEE4020/reid.pdf.


Bagged salads


Bagged salads are convenient but not nutritious. Researchers tested blood samples of healthy volunteers after eating fresh lettuce and the same lettuce after three days in MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) storage. Plasma levels of healthful antioxidants such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene rose significantly after ingestion of fresh lettuce but there was no change after eating MAP stored lettuce. Serafini M and others, Effect of acute ingestion of fresh and stored lettuce (Lactuca sativa) on plasma total antioxidant capacity and antioxidant levels in human subjects, Br J Nutr. 2002;88(6):615-23.

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


Flavours not safe – despite continuing reassurance from Australian and NZ regulators, Europe’s watchdog continues to wade through the risk assessment of 1000 flavouring substances, concluding that seven out of eight in the latest batch need more data to determine ‘reliable exposure’.



Spam website – a spam website fedupwithfoodadditives.com appears to have just been created by the food industry to draw web traffic away from the Food Intolerance Network and has infringed copyright on the use of the term Failsafe. It seems we have their attention so maybe they’ll soon start taking nasty additives out of our food too!!


Sunset yellow risk – food additive 110 has just been found to contain traces of banned cancer-causing Sudan 1 colour in the UK, whose Food Standards Agency have alerted colour manufacturers. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science/Sunset-yellow-food-colour-holds-sudan-1-risk


Another major food chain bans additives – On top of the UK Iceland chain and the huge Birdseye company in the UK, the Co-op chain has just banned a raft of food additives along with MSG from all its own-brand food products. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Market-Trends/Openings-for-natural-colours-as-Co-op-bans-food-additives


Australian flour not bleached – the Bread Research Institute confirmed that the only use of chlorine in Australian flour is in some commercial high ratio sponge flours and even this use is decreasing. It has been phased out in the UK. Scare stories about bleached flour usually originate in USA, where red bran wheats and bleaching are common.


Meeting the demand for preservative, additive free foods – in the first half of 2005, food processors released 564 products in Europe labelled as without preservatives http://www.foodqualitynews.com


Popcorn flavour damages – IFF has been fined $US15 million for damage to employees caused by butter-flavouring fumes, bring total fines to $US54 million…http://www.foodproductiondaily.com


Bovine growth hormone – BST, a copy of a natural hormone injected into cows to increase milk production with attendant mastitis and other welfare problems is not approved for use in Australia. As seen in the documentary “The Corporation”, the Monsanto hormone product Posilac is widely used in the USA.

Now targeting…BHA 320


This section is for the growing number of people who ask “Can I do anything to help?” These people phone food company hotlines and write letters to politicians and food companies. Judging by the bread preservative reversal, this strategy works. We have agreed to team up with Western Australian-based www.additivealert.com.au to target a different additive in each newsletter.


Thanks to all who have been targeting annatto 160b colours this year by complaining to manufacturers. We can definitely see a difference when do our supermarket surveys. We're also pleased to see that Devondale has taken some of the nastiest additives (635 and 320) out of some of their spreadable butters. We are making an impact! For the next six months, we will be targeting BHA 320, so please phone or email any manufacturers who are using this additive in a product you would otherwise buy. Soy and ricemilk drinkers, especially, please contact Vitasoy about their unlisted BHA: phone 1800 653 303 in Australia, or http://www.soy.com.au/about-vitasoy/get-in-touch/. McCains hot chips and pizza bases would be another good one: 1800 065 521. Note that McDonalds Australia have recently added BHA 320 in their French fries.

Readers' stories


[381] One liners (November 2005)


A big thank you for your recent informative and inspiring seminar, I bought your book ‘Fed Up with Asthma’ that night and have not been able to put it down - Qld


My son was a chronic biter and after seeing several shows on TV about the additive 282 I took him off that bread and he stopped biting. - by email


My little girl child is diagnosed with autism and in the last two weeks I've eliminated all of these numbers from her diet and she's already looking healthier. - WA


I am continuing to stick to low sals vegies and I think it has made a big difference for my son's sneaky poos, his stools are now firm and well formed and he has been going to the toilet everyday (finally!) - failsafer, Vic


Almost all the bread over here has 282 in it. They call it calcium propionate and everyone thinks it's calcium. Trickers!!! - failsafer, UK


Thanks for talking to my 8 yo daughter when she came to your presentation here last year. She still remembers being a ‘Star’ for a day and it helps with her acceptance of what we ask of her with diet. - failsafer, Vic


I got your book ‘fed up’ a few years ago and since then I have tried the diet off and on but never with much success due to a lack of commitment on my part. My sister had real success with her daughter on the diet. Having recently reevaluated how my children react to food chemicals, I am intending to do the diet again. - by email


When I read your book ‘Fed Up’ I wished that I had read it when my children were younger. I spent thousands of dollars and hours at doctors. In the end I worked everything out for myself and some doctors admitted that I knew more than they did (and some doctors did not admit they were wrong). - Qld


Some days my 16 month old daughter was very hyperactive, followed by a horrendous temper. Your books have saved me - she has been on the elimination diet for 3 weeks now, and I have fallen in love with her all over again, she’s the angel I always knew I had. - by email



[380] 635: Lasted two weeks and was agony (November 2005)


Recently I suffered an extremely itchy rash that kept me up at night and became very inflamed and sore from scratching. I consulted the doctor and all he could tell me was that it was a rash, and it could be a virus. That was all he could tell me. That and he asked if I'd ever had chicken pox ... this rash was nothing like a chicken pox rash. The rash itself lasted two weeks and was agony, to say the least. I still bear marks on my arms from scratching. I went through the usual what did you eat routine and nothing out of the ordinary - although I did have Hungry Jack’s in the 30 hour time frame.


(Later) As I tend to avoid most overprocessed foods, I can honestly say that my rash after 3 weeks is much better. The rash I developed was small, intensely itchy bumps over my stomach and back, and my arms. These bumps were constantly itchy, antihistamines helped but did not alleviate much. I couldn't sleep and felt irritable although that had a lot to do with no sleep. However I still have some marks on my arms where I scratched too hard - reader by email.


[379] Behaviour due to hairspray, airfreshener (November 2005)


I stopped wearing hairspray about 6 months ago when we went totally failsafe and saw great results with our children's behaviour. Two weeks ago I was going out without the kids, so after putting them to bed I sprayed on some Sunsilk hairspray and liked the way it looked. So the next day I did it again and within a couple of hours my 3 year old son's behaviour changed. He was overactive, very fidgety, hitting and kicking, and headbutted his sister hard enough to give her a blood nose. As time went on he was crying a lot with loud silly behaviour and wanting demands met immediately. That night he could not get to sleep. I wore the hairspray for three days not putting two and two together then we realized it must be the hairspray as their diet is so failsafe it couldn't be the food he was eating. I stopped wearing hairspray and his behaviour returned to normal. I have also noticed that when I visit my mum who uses airfreshener - lots of air freshener - my son's behaviour deteriorates after a few hours. - Vic


[378] Mr Revolting due to dairy (November 2005)


Thanks for your Fed Up book which was recommended by the allergy clinic - we have been searching for years and getting nowhere but now it seems we have found a large part of the answer to our 6 year old son's behaviour problems. We are still working through the challenges, but to our surprise, the first challenge we did (dairy) was a definite FAIL! We almost didn't even eliminate dairy, because I was sure that was not a problem for him, however I decided to err on the side of caution and I'm glad I did! He became progressively grumpier, looked pale, seemed tired and complained of tummy aches. After a couple of months of beautiful behaviour and no tantrums, we were back to ‘Mr Revolting’. We are now dairy free again, and it has taken about 10 days for him to get back to normal. - NSW


[377] I thought we were low salicylate (breastfed baby) (November 2005)


I cried when I read the stories on breastfeeding babies because that's our world since my son was born 16 months ago - screaming and arching his back until sore big farts release all day and night. I thought we were low salicylate (citrus, broccoli, tomato...) but it turns out it's all the things we were eating - grapes, watermelon, spinach - a difference is already obvious since cutting out high salicylates. - Tasmania


Product updates


Good news from Brumbys - Failsafe white iced finger buns are now to be standard items in all stores. Thanks to all those (especially Kathleen Daalmeyer) who encouraged me to ask for this when speaking at the recent Brumbys conference in Queensland.


***Warning*** the ‘Fail-Safe’ snacks recommended in the 7th November Women's Day are definitely NOT failsafe. Thanks to Sue Black


R&R Bakery (Dutton Park) do wonderful gluten free products, available at many health food shops throughout Australia. Phone them for your nearest supplier on 07 3846 6767 - thanks to Brenda Hunting (and see failsafe supports below for details of Brenda's Brisbane shopping list)


Betta Natural icecream cones. Betta Foods assure us that the vegetable oil used in their Betta Natural cone range does not contain antioxidants and the oil used is sunflower oil.


Yoghurt: Yoplait Petit Miam Simply Vanilla Yoghurt (ingredients: milk, cream, mild solids non fat, sugar, vegetable gum (pectin locust bean), natural flavour, milk mineral complex, citric food acid, live yoghurt cultures, rennet, vitamin D contains soy ) is failsafe. Always check labels especially for annatto extracts (160b). Thanks to Julie Muller. Nestle natural vanilla is also failsafe. Easi-yo premixes are technically failsafe but I find them quite sharp particularly the organic natural. To be failsafe, yoghurts need to be fresh and mild. Vanilla flavours can also be a problem if eaten too frequently, see the Checklist of Common Mistakes on the website.


A2 milk: reports of improvements related to A2 milk continue to come in, like this one, ‘We've switched to the A2 milk. I noticed the difference in Ryan when we didn't bother to get it one week (because it's so expensive) - Ryan was cranky and irritable and both boys woke up with phlegm on the chest’. But it's not for everyone. Another family has reported that A2 doesn't suit them and the children are better on ricemilk. A2 is available in an ever-widening range of locations, see www.a2australia.com.au


Rice and soymilks: So natural rice milk is failsafe (ingredients: water, brown rice, canola oil, calcium phosphate, sea salt, emulsifier (471) mineral salts (501 and 509)) the manufacturers confirm the canola oil is not cold pressed and contains no antioxidants. - thanks to Michelle. Vitasoy rice milk and soymilk are not failsafe due to unlisted BHA.


Beautiful failsafe sausages, all lean meat with very little fat and quite delicious for $5.25 / kg can be made on request, but orders need to be at least 4kg, Eagle Vale meats, Shop 2 Cnr Gould and Eagle Vale Roads, Eagle Vale, NSW. Ph 9820 8330. - Kerry Whalen


Smiths crisps now contain potato, palmoleine, canola and or sunflower oil. The company assures us there are no antioxidants in the oils. The technical people say the oil is actually Sunola. - thanks to Susan Bragg. The plain Smiths Classic Crinkle Cut, Smiths Selections Thinly Cut and Red Rock Deli Chips Original should be failsafe. Please let us know if you have problems. UPDATE 21/1/2006 We have now received so many negative reports, these products are definitely NOT recommended. A typical comment: 'After reading on your website that smiths crisps were failsafe I bought some for my children I just thought I would let you know that they were loud, irritable, extremely hyperactive and aggressive for four days although I have no idea what set them off all I know is that it was those crisps. They only had a small bowl each and the crisps were the only thing different that they had.' Thanks to everyone who wrote with feedback.


Japanese soba noodles are made from buckwheat therefore failsafe and gluten free. Thanks to Louise Baczkow (Shanghai). I managed to find Spiral Foods Japanese Noodles (ingredients: buckwheat flour, water) in a supermarket in Melbourne. Phone 03 9429 8655, www.spiralfoods.com.au


Duck River Soft Salt Reduced Butter does not contain any antioxidants in the canola oil used for this product. Thanks to Mary Anderson (Hobart)


Pampas Puff Pastry currently contains citric acid 330, Vitamin E 306 and betacarotene 160a which are all failsafe. The Filo pastry is not OK because is contains 223 sodium metabisulphite.


***WARNING*** McDonalds French fries again contain BHA 320, but they are not suitable for doing the antioxidant challenge because many children react to the beef flavour.


For sulphite sensitive wine drinkers: Hardy’s now make a range of preservative-free (not failsafe) wines that are available in most bottle shops for around $15 bottle. 'They taste great and no headaches! I won’t drink anything else after trying this wine.' Thanks to Jacqui Vanderzee


Place your Smashi lolly orders with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for Xmas before 25 November!


New failsafe colours in lollipops (and candy canes: orders for Xmas close Friday 11th November) – contact Sam Tinsley 07 3820 8350 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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


Your questions:


Q. Could nausea and vomiting be due to fluoride? Our 3 year old failsafe daughter has been suffering regular, unexplained bouts of nausea since we moved from Brisbane to Canberra 6 months ago. The vomiting has waxed and waned in accordance with other illnesses but became particularly bad after a bout of gastro a few months ago. She was vomiting about once a week for about five weeks after recovering from the gastro. We went to see a paediatrician who could find nothing wrong. Eventually, we remembered that she had reacted with nausea during breastfeeding every time I had taken fluoride tablets. A similar result occurred when we tried to give her fluoride drops in her water after weaning. I tested my theory numerous times during breastfeeding and afterwards with very obvious results and although taking fluoride was recommended by experts, I decided that it was not worth it as it obviously made my daughter ill. My husband noted that Canberra has fluoride in its water while Brisbane does not. Although we have always filtered our water, we have found that carbon filters do not filter fluoride. We put our daughter on to bottled water about 4 weeks ago and she has not had any vomiting since. We have also noted a marked improvement in her health, not just in the areas of nausea, and she is generally a more contented child.

A. It is estimated that most people currently ingest about four times as much fluoride as they did during the early days of water fluoridation, approximately equally divided between drinking water, food, other beverages, and dental products, so fluorosis (illness due to excessive intake of fluoride) is increasing. Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting can be some of the first signs of fluoride toxicity. Small children are more vulnerable than adults. At follow up a year later, the child above was still happy and healthy on fluoride free bottled water and dentists have advised that fluoride is not necessary as long as her diet is good and she has good dental hygiene. Further reading: Das TK and others, Toxic effects of chronic fluoride ingestion on the upper gastrointestinal tract. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1994;18(3):194-9; http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C627523.html.

Q. Just wondering if others have experienced their girls getting sore vaginas? Most afternoons my little darling cries her eyes out, I have been putting it down to not wiping properly or very concentrated urine as she does not drink huge amounts, but could it be connected with salicylates? She only drinks water and nothing else but she adores fruit, especially canteloupe, watermelon, grapes and apples. The doctors are saying it is sensitivity to urine and is common amongst small girls.

A. You're right, sore vaginas in little girls are often related to salicylates and generally improve when families go failsafe.

Q. How healthy are the new 'healthy' choices (salads etc) that McDonalds now offers?

A. In Australia, the garden mixed salad without dressing contains 74 calories and 3.9 grams of fat and one nasty additive (sorbic acid 200) but I couldn't find nutrition details for the dressings which is where most of the fat comes from. Compare this to a cheeseburger at 285 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 5 nasty additives (calcium propionate 282, annatto colour 160b, sorbic acid 200, potassium sorbate 202 and sodium benzoate 211). The American website has more information and most people are surprised to find that a salad can contain more fat than a burger when you add dressing. For example, in the US, a bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken and Cobb dressing contains 380 calories, 18 grams of fat and 5 nasty additives (hydrolysed plant proteins HPP, artificial colour, disodium guanylate 627, disodium inosinate 631 and sodium nitrate 251) compared to a cheeseburger that contains 310 calories, 12 grams of fats and 4 nasty additives (potassium propionate 283, calcium propionate 282, sorbic acid 200, artificial colour ). When buying a salad in any restaurant consider the research on the nutritive value of bagged salads (Failsafe Newsletter 46). All of the meals mentioned contain high amounts of salicylates, amines or natural glutamates. You can buy McDonalds toys at the drive thru ($2). You can buy water. You can use the playground and toilets without having to buy a meal. More at www.mcdonalds.com.au and note that the French fries now contain BHA 320.

Q. My 4 year old daughter is doing well on a low salicylate/amine diet with absolutely no preservatives but sometimes, even when her diet has been constant, she has mood changes, irritability etc. especially after days at kindy although she has none of the food from there. Can she be reacting to environmental chemicals?

A. Most common would be colours from coloured playdough but you also need to consider smells of perfumes, solvents etc. See the playgroup factsheet on the website for suggestions.

Q. Is Massel stock powder failsafe (ingredients: salt, rice, flour, sugar, dextrose, yeast extracts, vegetable flavours, vegetable protein extract (wheat derived), dehydrated onion, pure olive oil, chilli)?

A. The first five ingredients are failsafe; the next three contain natural glutamates (flavour enhancers); the last three contain salicylates.

Q. I recently started my two year old son on an elimination diet as advised by my paediatrician to see what effects foods are having on his behaviour. We were going quite well over the last four weeks until his doctor prescribed antibiotics for an ear infection and his behaviour started to deteriorate. My paediatrician also put my son on an iron supplement Ferro-Liquid (Ferrous Sulfate Oral Liquid Solution 30mb/ml) and Roche Pentavite Liquid which says it has no artificial colours or preservatives but has a citrus fruit flavour. Since his ear infection he has had a cough from a runny nose at night and in the early hours of the morning.

A. Many doctors, paediatrians and pharmacists do not seem to understand that children's flavoured vitamin, antibiotic and other medicinal syrups are never failsafe and will prevent the diet from succeeding. The Ferro liquid is particularly bad because it contains both sulphite and benzoate preservatives that could be causing your son's cough and nasal problems. Plain unflavoured adult tablets instead, using a half dose for children, are more suitable, e.g. Amcal One-a-day multivitamins and FGF tablets for iron. See the vitamins and supplements factsheet on the website for how to get tablets into kids.

Q. My 4.5 year old son has been eating failsafe for 5 months with amazing results. I have read all your books, belong to your discussion groups and have done the PPP program. Thanks to you and only you, when failsafe he is a loving and compliant angel with a dry nose and no physical problems. When he is not failsafe he is aggressive, defiant, never satisfied, loses his temper, discipline is ineffective and he has difficulty falling asleep, along with continual runny nose, recurrent ear infections, bright red ears, sore tummy etc. Our doctor said that so long as I kept my son failsafe, I would keep his behaviour at bay but suggested I would not be able to do this forever (tiring, time consuming, school canteen etc), and because of that, he would probably be diagnosed with ADHD in the long run, where other strategies would be looked at - I'm presuming medication. I would love to hear your opinion.

A. My kids are at university now, living in a hall of residence where they have to cater for themselves. They choose to be failsafe, still with amazing results, so it can be done. Only a few years ago most doctors said diet didn't work, so it is a big step forward to find a doctor admitting that diet is effective. The next step is for doctors and schools to help us with our loving and compliant angels by minimising the use of nasty food additives and supporting failsafe food for those who need it. The more we spread the word, the sooner it will happen.

Q. I was watching Today Tonight on TV last night and a story on Flavours came on. One of the pictures they aired was of a person with a red rash on the body. I have been getting a rash like that, as well as swelling on the eyes and mouth for the past three years and doctors, allergists and skin doctors can not find the problem. Could you please tell me what flavours are most likely to cause this reaction?

A. Flavour enhancers 627, 631 and 635. See the Ribo Rash factsheet on the website for more information.

Q. The list of ingredients in our sunscreen sounds pretty nasty but unfortunately it means nothing to me. What should I be looking for? Sunscreen plays a daily part in our life on the Gold Coast, and I have always been concerned about what I am been putting on our children's skin.

A. Laboratory tests suggest that some of the ingredients especially methoxycinnamate can provoke cancerous growth in test tubes (not necessarily in people), so I try to minimise sunscreen use by sun avoidance and covering up - widebrim hats, sunshirts, long pants. Failsafers also need to be wary of perfumes (salicylates) and benzoate preservatives. However, there are times you have to use sunscreen. It is important to avoid sunscreens based on PABA (Para AminoBenzoic Acid) as they contain large amounts of benzoates similar to what you get in preservative sodium benzoate (211). Hydroxybenzoate preservatives can also affect failsafers through skin absorption especially if you get large doses and continuous exposure but it is not possible to get sunscreen without. Sunscreens for toddlers or sensitive skins are generally best tolerated, e.g. from the Ego sunsense range. We use the Cancer Council Everyday Lite because the smell isn't too bad.

Around the groups: getting in touch



Can you help?



Readers have requested more stories from people with migraines, eczema or sneaky poos who have successfully managed these conditions by going failsafe.



Failsafe Support



It is a good idea to consult a dietitian regarding your child's elimination diet and nutrition but we all know that some dietitians are much better than others, see story below. There are new dietitians joining our list all the time. Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you need a dietitian recommendation.



'I saw a dietitian who is recommended by many ADHD specialists, why I don't know because she was no help to me and didn't explain anything; the dietitian you recommended spent two hours and gave my husband and myself a full understanding of what foods do and explained to us what to do in the diet. My daughter's writing isn't messy anymore and she has improved so much in only a week that the teacher thought she was back on Ritalin. When I said she wasn't, the teacher was shocked that food could change a person so much.'



Need a failsafe-friendly lactation consultant? See our local contact list for details.



New Canberra Group: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



New Rockhampton Group: Renee, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



If you live in the Brisbane area, or ever visit Brisbane, ask Brenda Hunting for the wonderful Kettle Club shopping list about where to access failsafe foods and products in Brisbane: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



1-2-3 Magic resources


Books and DVDs are now much cheaper (about $30 and $60 respectively), and Train-the-Trainer programs are available: next session in Sydney, March 2006. More details from Parentshop phone 1300 738 278, www.parentshop.com.au


Only two more: Sue has addressed over 4,000 people this year in a marathon effort.


ARMIDALE NSW Tuesday 15 November 7.00pm: Sue Dengate, “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Helping Children and Families Association Inc at Armidale Ex-Services Club, Dumaresq St, Armidale. $15, Sue’s books for sale on the evening. Contact Lynne 0408 184 588 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


TAREE NSW Thursday 17 November 7.30pm: Sue Dengate, “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. The Waterfront Room, Exchange Hotel, Manning St, Taree. $15 single, $20 double, Sue’s books for sale. Tickets at CLEVER KIDS TAREE 4 Macquarie Street. 02 6551 3332, limited tickets. Adults only. Organised by CLEVER KIDS Education Centre Taree.





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 failsafeing 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."



Cook’s corner


Tweedie Pie


2 shallots of 1 leek, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 clove or more of garlic, crushed

1 tbsp failsafe oil

500 g preservative free chicken mince

1 tsp chopped parsley

sea salt to taste

2 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 2 cups water


In a heavy-based frypan or large saucepan, stir-fry shallots, celery and garlic in oil, remove from pan. Add mince to pan, stir until cooked. Drain fat if necessary. Add shallots, celery, garlic, parsley, sea salt and cornflour mixture, stir until thickened. Make into a pie in your pie maker or serve on mashed potato with steamed green beans and cabbage. - Sharon Delpol



PBJ The failsafe equivalent of the American PBJ (peanut butter and jelly) sandwich.


2 slices failsafe bread or 2 plain rice cakes

home-made failsafe cashew butter or Freedom Foods soy butter

Birgit's home-made pear jam


Make into a sandwich. This travels and keeps well. - Thanks to 16 year old Daniel from New York whom I met on the Larapinta Trail for this inspiration, it became my favourite gluten-free dairy-free failsafe trail food.



Failsafe trail mix


dried pears from www.begadriedfoods.com.au(discontinued) (you can easily trim the pear peel off with scissors)

raw cashew nuts

Chic nuts (garlic flavoured roasted chickpeas)


Mix together equal quantities of all ingredients and store in a ziploc bag. Limit 3 handfuls per day.



Max's MEMMs (mini expresso melting moments)


1 and a half cups rice flour

1 and a half tbsp soya flour

half cup sugar

1 tsp Ward's (or other gluten free) baking powder

125 g failsafe margarine (e.g. Nuttelex)

up to half a cup of water

more flour as needed


Mix dry ingredients together. Mix in margarine with a fork or rub in lightly, until mixture has a fine texture. Add enough water to form a soft dough. Form into balls the size of marbles, adding more flour if necessary to assist rolling into balls, do not flatten. Place on oven tray and bake for 10-12 minutes at 200°C. Allow to cool and use in lunchbox, or make icing and glue to mini biscuits together to make MEMMs. Dust with icing sugar if desired.



1 cup pure icing sugar

2 tsp failsafe butter, melted

1 heaped tsp Nescafe decaf

1 tbsp hot water


Sift icing sugar and stir in butter. Add decaf coffee to hot water, mix well and add to icing sugar mixture slowly until the required consistency is reached. This can be made easily in a food processor but be sure to add the liquid very slowly. - Thanks to Max (aged 10)


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 Anne Hurman, Brenda Hunting, Andra Somerville, Robin Fisher, Kathleen Daalmeyer, Jenny Ravlic, and the many, many others who 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.