Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

April – June 2006

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 with “subscribe” in the subject to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Palmers Island trial

Nestle to remove artificial colours from Smarties in the UK but not Australia

Vets warn of deadly preservatives in pet food

Sugary drinks ban in Victorian schools

School reducing additives


Research Additives in combination


In brief: Benzene in soft drinks, Food additives are big business, Soft drinks and obesity, FSANZ Consumer Liaison Committee


Targeting Get Smarties Campaign

Readers' stories: [410] - [419]

Product updates:detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Hint: toothpaste , Herbed scrambled eggs, Healthy carrot cake


Hello everyone


The big news this month is that giant food corporation Nestle are removing artificial colours from Smarties in the UK, but not here in Australia because Nestles ‘had received no complaints about Smarties’. Please, if you never do anything else about additives, do this for us, and join our Get Smarties campaign now.



Also in this issue, why veterinarians warn of deadly preservatives in pet food but doctors don’t protect our children from the same additives. Plus what’s happening in schools, and reader stories - the tragic account of a nurse who surrendered her son to the state before realizing his violent attacks were food induced, the bizarre story of a sulphite-fuelled cross country race where kids were ‘dropping like flies with asthma attacks’, reader comments on our new DVD, and much more …

Happy failsafe eating - Sue Dengate

The Palmers Island trial


Last year a small school in Northern NSW asked us to help them with a two week additive free trial so we took a professional camera crew with us. Before the trial, we spent a day at the school talking to 120 students, staff and parents about the effects of nasty food additives and teaching them how to read labels. During the trial the students were offered additive free breakfasts at no cost, encouraged to have bottles of water on their desks, and asked to eat additive free foods at school and at home. A few families who had been thinking about doing the full elimination diet took the opportunity to do it and felt much more supported than usually happens. About 70-80 per cent of children joined the trial, and everyone noticed a difference – quieter, calmer, less yelling in class, concentrating better, nicer to each other, less annoying, naughty children less naughty – and no headaches, stomach aches or skin rashes. After the trial, the children were allowed to buy a treat, and the camera caught what some experts claim doesn’t happen – the children became loud, cheeky, annoying, fought with each other again. We’ve already shown the Palmers Island clip to schoolteachers and 2000 schoolchildren from over 25 schools. It’s part of our new DVD, launched this month. Based on Sue Dengate’s ‘Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour’ presentation and filmed in various locations over six months, the DVD includes revealing interviews with parents and children from Cairns to Gippsland illustrating the many aspects of food intolerance. See viewers’ feedback here.


Nestle to remove artificial colours from Smarties in the UK but not Australia

Nestle UK is to remove all artificial colours from their Smarties product amid safety concerns arising from a recent study at Liverpool University which identified a possible harmful cocktail effect on the nervous system of artificial colours and other additives, see below in Research. Two of the colours examined were Brilliant Blue (133) and Quinoline Yellow (104). Like many other artificial colours, these are made from coal tar.

The colours being dropped from the Smarties range include Brilliant Blue and Quinoline Yellow as well as Sunset Yellow (110), Ponceau (124) and Carmoisine (122). As well as behavioural concerns about Brilliant Blue, it is listed as a cancer risk by the US Environment Protection Agency.

The move by Nestle is part of a major shift by the entire industry. The Co-op and Iceland Supermarket chains and Marks & Spencer have already removed artificial colours and additives from own-label products. Last year Birdseye frozen foods giant in the UK removed additives and Nestle have already removed artificial colouring from Fruit Gums, Jelly Tots and Fruit Pastilles.

Nestle UK says it is responding to calls from consumers for more natural ingredients but Nestle Australia has no plans to introduce similar changes. According to a spokeswoman, this is because they have received no consumer complaints.


Vets warn of deadly preservatives in pet food

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has issued a warning that dogs and cats can suffer thiamine deficiency leading to a confused or disoriented state and even death if they are fed exclusively with pet mince or pet meat that is high in sulphites preservatives. Since these preservatives are not always listed in pet food, the vets recommend that pet meat should be purchased from a butcher because sulphites are not permitted in human mince. While this is true, butchers often add sulphites illegally, sulphites are permitted in sausages, and very young children can eat extremely high doses of sulphites through other foods such as dried fruit. So are our children at risk of thiamine deficiency - known to cause irritability and coordination problems - from sulphites? We think they could be

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has issued a warning that dogs and cats can suffer fatal health problems if they are fed exclusively with pet mince, pet meat or pet rolls that are high in sulphites preservatives.

These products often contain high levels of sulphur dioxide (preservative 220-228) which is used to mask the smell and prevent discolouration of pet meat. The high level of sulphur dioxide can effectively switch-off or inactivate the vitamin thiamine, which is vital for brain development.

Animals affected by thiamine deficiency may show a wide range of symptoms consistent with brain damage. Dogs with the condition are known to tilt their heads to one side and may appear to walk around in a confused or disoriented state. Cats can show dilation of the eyes and neck muscle weakness leading to head bobbing. Degeneration of brain function can quickly lead to paralysis, seizures and death.

It is believed that pups, kittens, and pregnant or lactating females may be more vulnerable to the condition than other animals.

President of the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Dr Matthew Retchford, then goes on to recommend that "people who prefer to feed their animals with meat should purchase it from a butcher, because legislation prohibits the use of preservative in meat for human consumption that could lead to a thiamine deficiency".

The Food Intolerance Network would like to add that this is true in the USA where sulphites have been banned in meat since 1959 for this reason. However, in Australia, sulphites are permitted in sausages and some processed meats. As well, surveys show that many butchers will use sulphites in mince meat unless they think they will be caught. A survey by NSW Health found 58% of samples off fresh mince for humans tested in Sydney and the Hunter region contained illegal sulpites. So pet owners need to test for sulphites, too. See http://fedup.com.au/information/fin-campaigns/sulphite-surveys or post 2x50c stamps for each single test strip plus a self-addressed envelope to PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456.

Young children are the most vulnerable to the effects of sulphites – could they also suffer from sulphite-related thiamine deficiency? Although the effects of sulphites on asthmatic children are well recognized, thiamine deficiency due to sulphites has not been considered a possible cause of irritability or Coordination Disorder (CD), a growing concern in Western countries. A young child who was reported to this network diagnosed with vestibular dysfunction - known to be related to thiamine deficiency - had been eating exceedingly high doses of sulphites in dried apricots as a daily snack food but no health professional had questioned her diet.

The World Health Organisation recommends that the use of sulphites preservatives should be minimized and replaced by other preservatives if possible. So far there are few signs this is happening.

More information AVA press release www.ava.com.au/images/news/AVA2006-019%sulfides.pdf

Steel RJ. Thiamine deficiency in a cat associated with the preservation of 'pet meat' with sulphur dioxide. Aust Vet J 1997;75(10):719-21. (available as free full text through www.pubmed.com)

Dangers of Dried Fruit Factsheet

NSW Health survey, sulphites in mince, 2003.


Sugary drinks ban in Victorian schools

As part of the new anti-obesity measures, high-sugar soft drinks are to be phased out of canteens and vending machines in all Victorian government schools by the end of 2006. Low sugar alternatives such as Coke Zero and Pepsi Max will remain available.

The announcement came after a government commissioned survey found that nearly 80 per cent of teenagers drank high sugar drinks at alarming levels, with nearly 10 per cent drinking more than one litre a day. These findings followed research at Boston Children’s Hospital which found that teenagers who drank one can of soft drink per day were likely to be up to 6 kilograms heavier after a year than those who drank unsweetened drinks (see In Brief).

Australian Medical Association president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said although the ban was welcome, low-calorie soft drinks were not the answer. "We think that water has to be the go, because at the end of the day all the other fizzy drinks have problems associated with them,” he said. Dr Haikerwal said he would be seeking an urgent meeting with federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, who recently refused to support the restriction of junk food advertising to children, saying that ‘the only people who are responsible for what goes into kids’ mouths are the parents’.

Ref: State bans sugary drinks from school canteens, Natasha Robinson, 24/4/06, www.theaustralian.news.com.au And see the article Schools reducing additives, below


School reducing additives

Our Cleverest Idea award goes to a primary school we visited during our recent Mornington Peninsula tour, when Sue spoke to over 2000 primary/early high school students from over 25 schools, and over 750 parents. At this school, as part of a Litter Reduction Program, rubbish bins have been removed from the playground, and small waste paper baskets are stationed at the door of each classroom. Students are not permitted to take food with wrappers into the playground, so it is easier for them to carry a sandwich or an apple than the contents of a packet of chips – since the measures were adopted there is no more litter, staff have seen a drastic reduction in the amount of processed food consumed by students and we thought the behaviour by the kids at this school was noticeably better than most.

Water within reach: encouraging sipper bottles of water on desks is the easiest way of discouraging sugary, additive-laden soft drinks and schools usually notice an improvement in behaviour when they implement this.



Additives in combination

It is usual to test food additives singly rather than in combination, yet additives are rarely consumed in isolation. This study examined the neurotoxic effects of four common food additives (artificial colours Quinoline Yellow 104, Brilliant Blue 133, flavour enhancer 621 MSG, and Aspartame artificial sweetener 951) in combinations of two. In laboratory tests on mouse nerve cells, combinations of the additives were found to have a much more potent effect than each additive on its own, suggesting that additives may interact to interfere with the development of the nervous system. This is the study that is making the food industry take concerns about the safety of artificial colours - and their effects on children’s behaviour and learning ability - seriously. Lau K, McLean WG, Williams DP, Howard CV, Synergistic interactions between commonly used food additives in a developmental neurotoxicity test, Toxicol Sci. 2006;90(1):178-87. Epub 2005 Dec 13. Abstract available at www.pubmed.com.

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


* Benzene in soft drinks –benzene, a known cancer-causing agent, has been found in soft drinks all over the world, formed probably by the reaction of the preservative sodium benzoate (210-213) with added or natural Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, 300-303). Overseas, many lawsuits have been launched in the past three months and product recalls ordered. The FSANZ website currently seeks to reassure consumers, claiming that “benzene levels found overseas are well below the WHO limits for benzene in drinking water.” This is not correct. The WHO limit on benzene in drinking water is 10 ug/l or 10 ppb. The Australian limit for drinking water is 1 ppb. The levels of benzene found overseas in soft drinks have been 25-50 ppb (USA 15/2/06), >60ppb (South America 20/2/06), up to 28ppb (UK 31/3/06), up to 88 ppb (Korea 18/4/06). It is up to FSANZ to at least be accurate, even if not willing to take the action needed to protect consumers. If TV is to be believed, the Australian response will be to remove the nutrient (Vitamin C) so that the nasty preservative has nothing to react with!

* Food additives are big business, with global sales estimated in the region of $US 22 billion a year. Sales are estimated to rise by 2-3 per cent per annum taking the market to over $US 25 billion by 2010. Statistics from Leatherhead Food International advertising a talk by the secretary of the Food Additives and Ingredients Association.

* Soft drinks and obesity: a team at Boston Children’s Hospital delivered non-caloric soft drinks to the homes of about 50 teenagers for 25 weeks while allowing another group to continue with sugar sweetened soft drinks. They concluded that a single 330 ml can a day of sweetened drinks could lead teens to put on 1 lb (a bit less than half a kg) every three or four weeks. Ebbeling CB and others, Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study, Pediatrics. 2006;117(3):673-80.

* FSANZ Consumer Liaison Committee: the Network had hoped that FSANZ’s long-awaited Consumer Liaison Committee would provide an essential channel for dialogue given that other avenues had proved fruitless. However FSANZ have decided to exclude from membership the one body and largest organisation by far directly focussed on the safety of food additives for consumers, with over 3500 members. If you’re unhappy about that, tell them: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Now targetting… We team up with Western Australian-based www.additivealert.com.au to target a different additive in each newsletter.

Get Smarties Campaign - Nestle Australia have no plans to remove artificial colours from Smarties because ‘the company has received no consumer complaints’. They want complaints? We’ll give them complaints! You can contact Nestle

By email: www.nestle.com.au click on Contact Us

By phone 1800 025 361

By mail: Consumer Services Department, GPO Box 4320, Sydney NSW 2001

Readers' stories

[419] One-liners (May 2006)

Antioxidant 320 [BHA in oils, margarines and most commercial products containing oils] gives me a terribly flushed red face as well as extreme fatigue and irritability - by email.

Your DVD is great, it convinced my husband that doing the diet properly is the only way to go … before that he thought we could do just bits of it – by email.

After reading your book I realize that salicylates might be the reason my teenage daughter has had terrible bowel problems for the last few years because she had bad eczema as a kid, got a mighty dose of tinea when she overdosed on grapes last year, and our diet for the past few years has been VERY high in all the very high salicylate foods such as dried fruit (in muesli), dates, tomatoes, eggplant, rocket, onions, almonds, avocados, grapes and broccoli - by email.

About five years ago when I was working as a childrens' worker in Victoria I contacted you - by phone in those days - on quite a few occasions prior to and while I was working with young children with behavioural problems. In every case the "Fed Up" regime worked and I was convinced of its success, since then I have recommended to lots of parents that they look very seriously at this program for their child – by email

We have our son on a lot of the readers’ recipes and have noticed a huge improvement in his demeanor – by email.

I love your jam packed website and count myself exceptionally lucky that I stumbled upon it accidentally the other day - I am so impressed with how everything is so well researched and is truly scientific - by email.

The boys were watching some of the DVD with me, with Ashley singing my food’s on the telly, my food’s on the telly, it’s the best in the world, the best in the world when you were showing the failsafe foods. It’s fantastic, you should be very proud. Well done to you and everyone else involved. – Jenny, Melbourne VIC.

I'll be lending my DVD to lots of people, so I think its a great way of spreading information! – Susie, Sydney NSW.

I have just watched the new DVD and I have to say - it was a tremendous job that was well done. The personal comments from parents who have been there are worth listening to. The DVD has enormous integrity as it involves both scientific research and experience. Sue's explanations are very clear and straight to the heart of the matter. I just loved her "nasty food" scenes. This DVD is well worth going to all schools - Cheryl, teacher Coffs Harbour NSW.

The benefits we have derived from your hard work are worth far more than the cost of a video!!!! – Mother, Newcastle NSW.

[418] My son is a state ward (May 2006)

My son 14 is a state ward and has been for 18 months. His behaviour at home was violent, aggressive and surly to such an extent that my safety was threatened. He had damaged property, harmed pets, broken my bones ... He was 12 when he went into care and this behaviour had gone on since the age of 7. He tried to kill himself a number of times, initially playing chicken with cars, starving himself, much self harm behaviour and nearly succeeded last year when he cut an artery in his leg.

I tried to get help for years only to be told that I was a bad mother. I was accused of abusing my son so many times it wasn't funny, even dragged before courts for it. They didn't get it. I was the one with the bruises and broken bones not the kid. He was never diagnosed with any disorder. All behaviour was put down to an incident when he was 6 and a teen tried to molest him. I had seen him lose touch with reality and even respond to voices - at 8 years old. School suspensions started in grade 2. His school had a sign that other children would file out of the classroom on a pre-determined signal ... I could go on and on.

He became a state ward after a particularly bad incident where I ended up with concussion but to get him off me I had to bite him ... therefore proving what a violent mother I am…READ MORE.

[417] Colour 102 tartrazine and anaphylactic shock (May 2006)

My wife is acutely allergic to the orange colour tartrazine (102). The first incident was with "fresh" orange juice. There were no labelling requirements at this time, and the orange juice itself was thought to be the cause.

The second incident was when she was prescribed antihistamines, coloured orange, for a bout of hay fever. She went into anaphylactic shock. Later the doctors at the hospital remarked how interesting it was that the tablet that was keeping her alive was also trying to kill her. It was at this point that 102 was identified as the culprit.

Since then we have attempted to avoid 102 whenever possible but we have been caught several times by undisclosed use of the product. We find local food providers are generally co-operative when they understand the consequences. However, corporations do not care …recently I noted that Marathon was again adding 102 to its products.

As I understand it the pharmaceutical companies are not required to label their products …a recipe for disaster. We have to open the coloured capsules so that the foul tasting contents can be taken with water - reader, Qld

[416] Eczema is so much better (May 2006)

My eldest son suffers terribly from eczema and while we have dabbled in diets in the past they were too difficult and the people who gave them to us seemed to be peddling their own vitamins and supplements! My son’s allergist recently suggested a diet along with the RPA and your books. Boy oh boy even after three days we could see the difference. He has now been on the diet for four weeks and as his eczema is so much better as well as his general skin condition. – reader, NSW

[415] The only good thing to come out of this … we are now absolutely convinced it’s his diet (May 2006)

Since we are going on the diet next week, we let our son have some things that we haven't allowed for a long time including bacon, tomatoes, ham and a doughnut. This morning I had a raging child, who was refusing to go into his classroom and throwing punches at me. Since we have cut a lot of nasties out of his diet he has not been violent at all until this morning! The only good thing to come of this is now we are absolutely convinced it's his diet that's causing the grief. – reader, NT

[414] Gastroscopy results and the failsafe approach (May 2006)

Some years ago now, I remember reading a message from a failsafer who’d had a gastroscopy before he went failsafe, which showed scarring and evidence of reflux, and he was put on strong antacids and told he might eventually need an operation (presumably to repair the gastric sphincter).

Exactly the same happened to me. I get the neurological symptoms (depression, paranoia, neurosis, ADD, and visual discomfort dyslexia - which improves but hasn't been resolved), but I also had years of gastric symptoms and had had two gastroscopies before I discovered failsafe eating. The first one showed no ulcer but that the lining was inflamed. After the second I had exactly the same diagnosis as in the story above. I remember the gastroenterologist telling me that although the symptoms weren't typical, the problem was definitely reflux, and suggesting the operation.

After I had been on the diet for some years, I had another gastroscopy to investigate the possibility of coeliac sprue. This wasn't found (thank heavens) but it did demonstrate that the scarring and inflammation that had previously been there was now gone. The diet had resolved about 10 years of painful gastric symptoms for me.

I'm just wondering whether there might be other adults or children who have had the same experience. As people are so keen on physical evidence, maybe someone could pool the results and put out a paper? - reader, NSW We would love to hear from any others with similar stories: please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[413] Relentless dry cough - I was unaware of the food-asthma connection (May 2006)

Ever since my son - now aged 10 - was a baby he would get a persistent dry cough that would continue relentlessly throughout the day and all through the night of only the winter months every year - at least 6 months every year without fail. The doctors would all say that they couldn't hear wheezing, so stopped short of diagnosing asthma no matter how sick he was. Finally a new local doctor a few years ago suggested asthma and asked me to try a blue puffer with ventolin. It fixed him immediately after 5 months of relentless coughing! He is an extremely active, sporty child, who plays and trains hard every season, but never got the asthma in the summer months.

Ventolin continued to control it, although he was worse after soccer training and games - in recent years accompanied by acute chest pains during games - and often had to come off. Last year, he participated in a school cross country held in May and got into the next level (extremely hilly) in June. After the race he could not stop coughing, had difficulty breathing and was very ill, missing school for some time after, which was when we started to make the exercise connection. We then started to observe and realised the trigger was exercise. Once winter was over he was well again, right up until March this year.

The beginning of March coincided with my reading your books - for other problems, I had forgotten about the asthma as it was controlled with ventolin and seasonal - and the gradual reduction in non failsafe foods in our house in the lead up to going failsafe. During this time he participated in the soccer training and school cross country practices and came first twice - no coughing, no problems. About 90 per cent failsafe, he went to a two day school camp this year – we don’t know what he ate. The next day (Saturday) at soccer he had severe chest pains throughout the game…READ MORE - reader, NSW

[412] Chocolate paranoia (May 2006)

Before going on the diet, I used to get panic attacks at night, where I would be absolutely convinced that there was a gunman just outside my window. When I finally did go on the diet, it was for the sake of my children, not myself, so I thought it was okay at week three to eat an enormous amount of chocolate - I believe it was one Hershey bar, and a massive Cadbury dairy milk block. The next day, I was so paranoid that I convinced myself that my husband was having an affair, and went to the extent of driving to his work to watch him through the window, then following him home on his bike. When he arrived home, I dashed outside and hid in the darkened garden, crying. After about four hours the paranoia episode just finished like that, and I had to explain myself to a perplexed husband - reader, NSW

[411] Within two weeks of altering his diet he has become happy and affectionate (May 2006)

Thanks so much! I'm buying DVDs for all my family members because Sue's book "Fed Up" has turned my family completely around. We have in the past month made every effort to remove additives and preservatives from our diet and the results have been astounding. My 13 year old son has been angry and depressed for most of his life, to the point that we have had him at a psychologist but within two weeks of altering his diet he has become happy and affectionate, constantly telling me he loves me and that he no longer has a foggy head! We are yet to do the elimination diet (I'm waiting for my husband to finish the book) but have already noted that salicylates do seem to be a problem for some of us. The difference has been so enormous that at least three of my friends have gone out and bought Fed Up having seen our improvements. I think I have also singlehandedly cut the sales of Tim Tams in our area quite dramatically since we found out via Sue that the beautiful chocolate colour is not from chocolate! In addition, I've noticed a couple of unexpected benefits: firstly, our taste buds seem to have improved (for example, I have never been able to stomach the richness of lamb before but suddenly can) and secondly, by going back to basics with the cooking we seem to be developing a much closer bond as a family... I'm not sure I can explain it, but it's something to do with putting love and care into everything we cook. A sort of return to old values, I suppose. – reader, Sydney.

[410] Thank you so much for giving us our darling little man to us (May 2006)

I was lucky enough to come and see you talk recently. Our son is nearly 8 years old and I reckon for 7 of those years he has been very hard to handle, episodes involving throwing things at me, chasing me, yelling, getting so upset he would go blue and lose his breath. We have taken him off a lot of foods you recommend not to give your children, and his behaviour improved, episodes consisted of whingeing or crying for 10 minutes instead of hours. Since seeing your talk, we have cut out a lot more foods, and I have stopped using my beloved Red Door perfume, within a week we have seen an amazingly different child, he now sits with us, not hyperactive, yes mum, no mum. I said to my husband I am overwhelmed as for the past 7 years I have known a naughtier child. We both want to thank you so much for giving us our darling little man to us. We have the opportunity to give him a better way of feeling and acting, it is all to you, although I miss my perfume, I have now given it to my mum and my husband and I are enjoying some special days with our child. We now only feed him fresh foods - no processed foods, home made cooking for school lunches. Thank you so very much - parent, Victoria.

MORE READERS' STORIES on the website

Product updates


Rice Bran Oil has been traditionally used in Asian countries such as Japan and is now available in New Zealand and Australian supermarkets under the Alpha One and King brands. It is cold pressed, naturally rich in vitamin E group antioxidants and free of synthetic antioxidants such as BHA (320). Rice Bran Oil is known for its high smoke point, delicate flavour and its beneficial effects on reducing cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases – research shows it is more effective than olive oil - and it appears to be OK for failsafers. We’d love your feedback, please! - thanks to Robin F, Melanie S and Melissa L.

COMMENT ADDED June 2006: “I have tried the Rice Bran Oil by Alpha and I thought it was Ok at first. I had been using it for about two weeks when I noticed that my two kids and myself were unusually more irritable and angry - it was at my husband's suggestion (not fully failsafe but very supportive) that it might be the Rice Bran Oil causing this. He knew we all reacted badly to a switch over to Baker's Delight Wholemeal Bread (instead of White) and said that the "Bran" might be causing the same reaction. At his darling suggestion I stopped using the Rice Bran Oil and within a couple of days we were right as rain again.” Anyone else out there who it intolerant to brans and wholemeal products use extreme caution.

SO GOOD Soymilk no longer so good? So Good regular soymilk in the new packaging with ‘fresh new taste’ now contains added ‘natural flavour’. No adverse reactions have been reported but since natural flavour - even vanilla - can be a problem for failsafers depending on the dose, anyone who drinks a lot of So Good will need to approach this new product cautiously. When choosing a new brand of soymilk, consider both ingredients and nutrients. As well as added flavours, soymilks can contain other non-failsafe ingredients including raw sugar and unlisted antioxidants (319 or 320) in the vegetable oil. Cows’ milk contains more important nutrients (calcium, vitamins) than soymilk so fortified soymilk is a better substitute. Pure Harvest Organic Soymilk is free of nasty additives and enriched (ingredients: water, organic whole soya beans, rice syrup, organic sunflower oil, mineral salts (calcium carbonate, ferrous sulphate) and salt). Australia’s Own malt free Natural Soymilk (organic whole soy bean milk, water, sunflower oil, sea salt, sodium bicarbonate) is OK for people who are gluten free and the sunflower oil is free of unlisted antioxidants but it has no added calcium etc.. Look for organic soymilks in supermarkets where the long-life milk is kept, or in the health foods or organic foods sections. Note that linseed oil previously used in the fresh So Good soymilk product has been removed.

COMMENT ADDED June 2006: We have now received a report of adverse effects from a failsafer who wrote 'I was able to isolate my reaction to this product as I still had some of the earlier formulation and when I used that the symptoms eased or disappeared'.

Nestle Baking Cocoa has no added flavours, for people who don’t react to amines. The only ingredient listed is cocoa - thanks to Diana M

The Pascalls vanilla white marshmallows package change has been accompanied by a recipe change. Cornflour has been dropped and invert syrup has been added, and the ‘flavours’ have changed to ‘flavour’ – still a trade secret. These sweets should be eaten in limited quantities because of the flavour. Are the big ones worse than the small ones? Some people think so – but it could be because reactions are related to the size of the dose - thanks to Kathleen D.

***WARNING**** avoid IGA homebrand canola oil which contains nasty antioxidants 319 and 320.

Furniture free of nasty chemicals from raw recycled blackwood framing and organic cotton upholstery will be available in some month’s time at Organic Cotton Essentials, for people with chemical sensitivities, ph 03 9754 4880 www.blessedearth.com.au. They have a current range of organic cotton bedding. They offer a 10% discount if you mention the Food Intolerance Network!

Eggs are only as good as what is fed to the chickens that produce them. Omega three eggs come from chickens fed large quantities of linseed oil, and some failsafers are affected.

Yoplait Petit Miam simply vanilla yoghurt (ingredients: milk, cream, milk solids nonfat, sugar, vegetable gum (pectin locust bean), natural flavour, milk, mineral complex, citric food acid, live yoghurt cultures, rennet, vitamin D) is OK if you can manage dairy products. Salicylate responders need to limit vanilla intake, so avoid it if the diet isn’t working, see Checklist of Common Mistakes - thanks to Julie M.

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


Your questions:

Q. I am wondering if you can tell me what food groups aggravate arthritis as my father is suffering from arthritis in his feet. He has already noticed that when he eats tomatoes and also dark chocolate, his feet are a lot worse for the next few days.

A. Salicylates, amines, additives, dairy and wheat – any or all can affect arthritics. Suspect salicylates first. Tomatoes contain both salicylates and amines, chocolate contains only amines, so it could be both affecting him or only amines – also in cheese, wine, tinned or frozen fish, broccoli, tomatoes, bananas, mushrooms and many others.

Q. I have read your books, which have been terrific! I have applied your facts to my own children and I am forever getting credit for their good behaviour, many thanks to you!! I was wondering if you have yet got a DVD out. I know a lot of friends that would take the time to watch a DVD rather than sit and read a book!

A. Thanks for asking - yes we have, it was released on 1 May 2006, see some very positive reader comments in One Liners. See www.fedup.com.au (our new easy-to-spell website name).

Q. I was also wondering if you are going to do a talk in Ballina or Lismore soon?

A. No, after Grafton and Coffs Harbour I won't be doing any more talks until next year - I have to stop talking and start writing to get my books back on the shelves. But you can buy the DVD through the website, it is better than the talks in my opinion.

Q. Since we have been buying bread without preservative 282, we have seen a huge difference in our 6 year old son (we have also been avoiding other preservatives). However, up until now, we have only bought Brumby's. Two weeks ago, I noticed that Wonder White was now free of preservatives. Two weeks on and two weeks of absolutely nightmarish behaviour has forced me to change back to Brumbys. Our son has not had Wonder White for three days now, and everything has really calmed down again. What are your thoughts? Other than this bread, there has been no other change to his diet that I believe could explain this. When we switched to preservative free bread last year, within a week my son's behaviour had changed so much we were astounded. The last two weeks felt like we were back where we started - but it took that long to realise what it was! ...

A. Most supermarket breads that advertise “free of artificial preservatives” use vinegar as a preservative instead. Many children whose behaviour is affected by additives are also affected by natural food chemicals called salicylates and amines, and vinegar contains high amounts of these, so you are better off sticking to Brumbys or Bakers Delight breads, or looking for breads with no preservatives, vinegar, antioxidant 320 or whey powder (that’s another source of problems in bread). You would probably find your son would improve even more on a trial of the low chemical elimination diet (free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers).

Q. I’m trying to track the cause of a persistent skin rash in my 2 year old son. Are Brumbys’ sausage rolls OK?

A. No! We recommend ONLY the plain breads and the white iced finger buns at Brumbys – nothing else. Beware: the plain white iced cup cakes that look failsafe are preservative free, but contain sunset yellow (110) artificial colour. And the sausage rolls are a disaster area. In North Queensland, sausage rolls sold in Brumbys contain 8 nasty additives: artificial colours 102 and 124, annatto colour160b, potassium sorbate 202, sodium metabisulphite 223, synthetic antioxidant BHT 321, flavour enhancers 621 and 631. For skin rashes I would suspect 631 first (a nucleotide flavour enhancer, see Ribo Rash factsheet), but any of these could cause a skin rash – or behaviour problems, or asthma.

Q. When my son was getting ready to go failsafe, he ate sausages one time and hot chips another and reacted to both hours later with exercise induced asthma. Do these foods have an additive in common?

A. Sausages and hot chips are classic sources of sulphite preservatives (220-228), the additive most likely to be associated with asthma. See Papazian article below for an FDA article about sulphites in French fries, describing a quick, obvious reaction. It is less well understood that sulphites can cause irritated airways with no obvious symptoms until combined with exposure to an environmental trigger such as exercise – and it can happen hours or even days later. Further reading: Sulfites: Safe for Most, Dangerous for Some by Ruth Papazian (do a google search for free full text), and see the full story in Reader Stories. The child in the question went on to win his school cross country race while failsafe with ‘no asthmatic reactions at all afterwards or during, whilst plenty of kids were, in his words, "dropping like flies with asthma attacks all around him" - some quite seriously so! Of course, as usual, the school had a sausage sizzle going all that day to raise money - bizarre isn't it?’

Q. Is there any research on nitrates entering the food chain through water? I have noticed in intensive farming areas of northern France that they no longer drink the local water because one will become violently ill after three days. This is due to the high nitrate input when producing maize in the area. I have also noticed in the same area that the incidence of teenage problems from suicide to poor exam results to excessive drink and drug problems are a major puzzle for the adults. This is an area where they do not agree with fizzy drinks or sweets and bake their own bread.

A. Contamination of ground water by nitrates from agricultural fertilizers is a common, well documented and increasing problem. Nitrates are transformed into nitrites in the GI tract and can be fatal to infants when the water is used to make up baby formulas. There are also concerns about cancer risks but there has been very little research concerning other health risks and none regarding behavioural effects on children. Yet another reason to drink filtered or bottled water. Further reading: Kumar S and others, Need for revision of nitrates standards for drinking water: a case study of Rajasthan. Indian J Environ Health. 2002;44(2):168-72; Kozliuk AS and others, Immunologic status of children living in a region with an increased level of nitrates in the drinking water, Gig Sanit.1989 ;(3):19-22. Abstracts available at www.pubmed.com

Around the groups: getting in touch


Talking point - which is more difficult to live with - food allergy or food intolerance?

In the last newsletter, we asked readers which is more difficult to live with - food allergy or food intolerance and why, especially for children with anaphylaxis. I have been very surprised by the responses – it seems that food allergy is worst in very young children but as the children grow older, food intolerance is worse, see typical responses for younger and older children below.

My 2 year old daughter is anaphylactic to peanut, highly allergic to egg, allergic to dairy and has multiple food intolerances. Intolerances are very hard as people don’t understand them as much, you cannot test for them (so it is trial and error and a very long process) and the symptoms are generally behaviour so when you get things wrong, you pay for days. Even though intolerances cause her no end of grief (reflux, emotional issues and autistic tendencies) they won’t kill her, I don’t have to carry her epi-pen and medication everywhere I go and allowing her to have a playdate at someone else’s house where I can actually leave would be possible. With an intolerance you have a choice as to whether to eat the food or not - yes if you eat it you pay for it, but it is a choice you can make. With allergies, there is no choice. She cannot have the food or touch the food or touch a trace of the food or she has a reaction and this reaction could mean the end of her life’ … thanks to Cymantha R, UK

‘I am the mother of three young boys, and two of them have anaphylaxis to dairy, egg and peanuts. When one of my boys has a life threatening reaction it is certainly frightening for us all, however I would not say it is difficult to live with. Food intolerance is definitely harder to live with, mainly because it is not as accepted in many people's eyes. For example they know my boys are allergic to dairy and accept this as a no go area, but see nothing wrong with giving them a packet of flavoured chips. Flavoured chips and biscuits keep my oldest son up scratching all night and my other son usually has an asthma attack within 12 hours.’…thanks to Leigh B, Qld


Failsafe Shopping tours in Melbourne and surrounds

These tours are $15 per person for a group tour or $40 for a one-on-one tour. Tours run for approximately 1½ hours. Jenny’s report for May 19th : ‘We took 14 people through Frankston and Mornington Coles supermarkets today - they were thrilled - 11 doing full failsafe/elimination diet, three just avoiding additives and highest salicylates, amines and glutamates. One was a nutritionist.’ Contact Jenny on 03 9544 2804 or Kathleen on 03 9762 8105.


Healthy School Canteen Expo in Perth

The Kids Health Alliance is running a Healthy School Canteen Expo on Saturday 10th June 2006. Speakers include Dr Peter Dingle and Julie Eady of Additive Alert. Venue: Whitfords Church, Scaphella Avenue, Mullaloo, 9 am to 4 pm, cost $10, phone Kieron 0418 927 227 or Julie 0418 955 361.


Can you help?

‘My 12 year old wants to join the Army Cadets but I am worried what he will be able to take out on camp as they tend to eat a lot of canned food as well as dehydrated foods due to lack of eskies and cooling facilities. I don't want him to miss out so can you suggest any solutions.”– send suggestions care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



There are now 70 support contacts in 47 locations in Australia, and in New Zealand and 10 overseas countries - see website.

The failsafeasthma group is now under way. Since effects of food and the environment can be different for asthmatics than other failsafers, we strongly recommend this group for asthmatics.

There have been concerns expressed about the large numbers in failsafe3 group. We now recommend failsafebasic for beginners. It is the smallest of the big general groups, You can join by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with subscribe in the subject line.



MAY 2006

 Grafton NSW Thursday 25 May 7.00-9.00pm: ‘Fed Up With Children’s Behaviour’ by Sue Dengate. South Grafton Ex Serviceman's Club. All welcome: $10 or $15 for a couple. Sue’s new DVD will be available for sale $25 cash or cheque, plus “Fed Up with Asthma” $20. People can purchase tickets beforehand at Bookworld (Grafton Shopping World), Book Warehouse (Prince St), or Grafton Health Foods (Prince St). Contact Jenny Ryder,Crown Early Childhood Consultant, 02 6642 7990 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

Narranga (Coffs Harbour) NSW Wednesday 31 May 7.00-9.00pm: ‘Fed Up With Children’s Behaviour’ by Sue Dengate. Narranga Primary School, Robin St. $5 entry, all welcome. Sue’s new DVD will be available for sale $25 cash or cheque, plus “Fed Up with Asthma” $20. Contact Alison 0418 610569 for bookings.

Sue will not be giving any more talks in 2006.



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


Hint: toothpaste - if Soul Pattinson’s plain toothpaste isn’t available, you can use a wet toothbrush dipped in salt instead – it works better than it sounds.

Herbed scrambled eggs Eggs are a perfect package of vitamins, and the quickest meal ever.

3 eggs

knob of pure butter or Nuttelex

splash of milk (or organic cream for special occasions)

salt to taste

fresh chives, chopped

2 slices sandwich or cob loaf bread, toasted

Beat eggs with milk and add salt. Gently melt the butter in a pan and stir in the eggs, stirring constantly until the eggs are nearly set, sprinkle chives. To serve, spoon the scrambled eggs onto toast. Serves 1-2.

Healthy carrot cake Everyone loves this cake. It’s not suitable for the strict elimination diet but can easily fit into an allowance of moderate salicylates, with only quarter cup of carrots per serve. The gluten free option works well.

1 cup sunflower or rice bran oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 cups of plain flour (for gluten free use Freedom Foods plain gf flour or similar)

1 tsp baking powder (for gluten free, use Wards)

3 cups of grated carrots

1 cup of crushed raw cashews (optional)

icing sugar (for gluten free, use pure icing sugar)

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees. Grease cake tin with failsafe butter or Nuttelex. Pour oil into mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat. Add eggs to mixture one at a time whilst beating - mixture should be quite light and fluffy. Stir in sifted dry indredients then carrots and nuts and pour into prepared cake tin. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool in tin.Top with (pure icing sugar ) icing with citric acid added for lemon taste. Serves 12. - thanks to Sam Tinsley


See more recipes in the Failsafe Booklet under the Recipes button.

The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every three months.

Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter

© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Thanks to Jenny Ravlic, Kathleen Dalmeyer, Brenda Hunting, Darani Cooper, Tina Longfield, Leigh Boggis, Robin Fisher, Linda Beck 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.