Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

October - December 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.


2006 Lobbying report

Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour – the DVD

Research Mothers’ diet during breastfeeding can affect babies, Propionic acid in rats can cause autistic symptoms,

In brief: Perfume sensitivity, Asthma increase at school start

TargetingKraft Foods Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Readers' stories: [459] - [474]

Product updates:detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Evil bean bruschetta, Sam’s Barra Cakes, Nell’s cake (with egg-free option), Birthday bombe


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Hello everyone

A few years ago when a mother reported her two-year-old’s seizures had stopped on switching to preservative-free bread, I thought ‘how will anyone believe this?’ Now overseas research has shown a link not only between propionates and seizures in rats, but also with autistic symptoms. New research also confirms the link between colic in babies and what their mothers eat. On the lobbying front, there’s continuing good news. And thanks to all who have contributed fascinating reader stories, as well as helpful insights on the particularly important talking point about punishment. Coping with Christmas parties? Nell’s cake makes an easy party plate, and for those after indulgence, see the amazing Birthday Bombe.

I wish you a happy and safe festive season.

Sue Dengate

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2006 Lobbying report

Many thanks to everyone who has written and phoned food manufacturers this year, we are pleased to see that at least two of the products on our Nasty Food Awards list are now additive-free! A failsafer who has just returned from the UK tells us that labelling is better there and there are more additive-free foods available, so this is what we are aiming for – manufacturers won’t make the change unless we tell them what we want. Thanks also to all those who have joined the subscription list for this newsletter (email "subscribe" in the subject line to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - we now have nearly 4,500 members, enough for food companies to take notice of us as a lobbying organisation, and we look forward to a successful 2007. As this newsletter goes out, Howard is meeting FSANZ in Canberra for a review of their activities in relation to food intolerance and food additives, and also to hear the next step in our submission to have all synthetic antioxidants shown on labels.


Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour – the DVD

Thanks to everyone who has emailed to say how useful and entertaining Sue’s new DVD has proven. Many people are buying it for their schools as a resource, daycare centres lend it to parents, schools use it to teach children and lend it to parents, parents lend it to educate their doctor, mothers lend it to less-than-supportive ex- spouses and grandparents, kids enjoy it more than a book….you can buy it through the website, or order from any Angus & Robertson’s bookstore, or Australia Online Bookstore http://www.bookworm.com.au, Capers Bookstore http://www.capersbookstore.com.au, some Dymocks Bookstores, Learning Connections http://www.learningconnections.com.au, and many more places. An NTSC version (for USA, Canada, Japan and South America) is available – check the website.


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Mothers’ diet during breastfeeding can affect babies

A Melbourne study has shown that colic in babies is associated with the mother’s diet. Mothers of 90 breastfed babies aged less than 6 weeks were asked to chart the times their baby cried/fussed while changing their diets for one week. All of the mothers were asked to avoid food additives; as well, half of the mothers were asked to avoid common allergens (cows milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy and fish) while the other half deliberately ate these foods. At the end of the study, researchers found that nearly 40% of the additive free group and 75% of the additive and allergen free group had improved significantly, although two thirds of the babies still had colic. Hill DJ and others, Effect of a low-allergen maternal diet on colic among breastfed infants, Pediatrics,2005;116(5):e709-15, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/116/5/e709.pdf. A previous study found that rates of colic were higher on days when mothers had eaten fruit or chocolate (Evans RW and others, Maternal diet and infantile colic in breast-fed infants, Lancet 1981;1(8234):1340-2) but we couldn’t find any studies that specifically looked at an additive free, low salicylate, low amine diet despite numerous positive reports from breastfeeding failsafers.


Propionic acid in rats can cause autistic symptoms

A study from the University of Western Ontario is being hailed as further confirmation of the link between food and autism. Researchers focused on propionic acid, one of the propionate group (280-283) commonly used as a bread preservative. Interest in propionates has arisen from the neurological symptoms suffered by children with a build up of propionates due to a metabolic disorder called propionic acidaemia. When propionic acid was injected into the brains of lab rats, they showed reversible repetitive behaviours, hyperactivity, turning behaviour, seizures and signs of social impairment resembling that in autistic patients. Brain analyses showed an inflammatory response closely resembling those found in a recent study on autistic brain material. From Food link to autism found by Jennifer O’Brien, Sun Media, October 18, 2006; Derrick F MacFabe et al, Neurobiological effects of intraventricular propionic acid in rats: Possible role of short chain fatty acids on the pathogenesis and characteristics of autism spectrum disorders. Behavioural Brain Research (2006), doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2006.07.025, full free text available under publications at http://psychology.uwo.ca. At the same time, another study found that propionic acid can cause seizures in laboratory rats - Rigo FK and others, Propionic acid induces convulsions and protein carbonylation in rats, Neurosci Lett 2006;408(2):151-4 (abstract at www.pubmed.com); and German biochemists investigating how propionate can inhibit the growth of mould concluded that despite the different metabolism in fungi and humans, ‘the accumulation of propionyl Co-A [propionate metabolite] might show severe effects not only on fungal but also on human cells …’ See Brock M and Buckel W, On the mechanism of action of the antifungal agent propionate, Eur J Biochem 2004;271(15):3227-41, free very technical text at http://content.febsjournal.org/cgi/content/full/271/15/3227.


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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.

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In brief


Perfume sensitivity - Powerful synthetic perfume formulations that can be used at higher levels have been blamed for the increase in fragrance sensitivity and MCS cases since the 1980s. See Hell’s Smells by Elisabeth King, The Age, 9/7/04, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/07/08/1089000294168.html?oneclick=true and more on chemical sensitivity at www.asehaqld.org.au

Asthma increase at school start – research shows there is a significant jump in asthma each year when school starts. Cases in hospital emergency departments can jump from about 300 in January to as high as 1600 in February, although doctors have no idea why. Parents are warned to monitor their asthmatic children at this time. From Parents warned to watch for asthma attacks as school returns, http://www.abc.net.au .While the National Asthma Council tells doctors that asthma is not related to food, our experience, WHO recommendations and research disagree, see the first item in One-liners, below.

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


Now targeting: Kraft Foods have added preservative 200 (sorbic acid) to all their tub-style Philadelphia cream cheese but not to the blocks.

Thanks to Sonia who wrote: ‘I sent a "please explain" email querying why on earth they would do this, when I really thought the message was getting through that preservatives are bad … I told them all the reasons they shouldn't - that adults and children alike suffer can suffer an endless list of physical and psychological/behavioural disturbances from the use of preservatives, and that I for one would have to seek out an alternative brand.

And thanks to Lyn who wrote: ‘Deanne from Kraft customer relations suggested that if there were enough complaints lodged they may revert to having no preservatives. She said they had added the preservative because they had complaints about mould growth in the tubs (never an issue in our house!) Please encourage all failsafers to get onto this one either by emailing Kraft or ringing them.

Kraft Foods Limited
187 Todd Road
Fishermans Bend VIC 3207
Tel: (03) 9676 5555


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Readers' stories

The first story is the Courage Award for the best story in this Newsletter, with the prize being a copy of the DVD “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. If you have some helpful comments on this issue, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

[459] Dealing with ex-husbands (November 2006)

Hi. I can already give you some feedback, as my 3 children and I have been on the elimination diet for 3 days. My eldest child is 14 (depression, asthma, sleeplessness, fatigue, restless legs, easily irritated, unmotivated etc): this morning she got out of bed without being nagged, had a shower without being told, all while smiling! I stopped taking antidepressants 2 weeks ago, and today for the first time since, I am not feeling my normal symptoms of depression. My youngest, 3, is hyperactive and today has been a lot calmer. He also normally wakes about 6am, and today slept in till 9:30!!! My elder son, 6, who has a learning delay, woke up teary and temperamental, as he was before bed last night, but he was at out-of-hours schoolcare yesterday and ate apple, cheese and yoghurt... One thing the book 'Fed up with children's behaviour' doesn't address is what to do when in a situation where I do not live with my ex-husband and he only sees the kids once a week, how do I get him to understand that the kids need to try this? He sees their issues as being 'normal' and although none of my kids are extreme in any way I want to give them the best life they can have, now and in the future. How do you convince people that relatively 'normal' kids still can benefit?

(later) thank you thank you! Despite all of my best efforts, my ex-husband is aggressively sabotaging my efforts with my children, constantly telling them that failsafe foods are 'silly' and if they ask for failsafe foods he gets cross at them. They spent one night at his house (Day 11 of the elim.diet) and he gave them everything he could think of that was on the list of 'Don'ts'. Consequently they came home silly. Neither of the boys (6 and 3) could get to sleep that night, the littlest one crying and rolling around in bed sobbing 'I can't stop, I can't stop'. In desperation I gave them both a half teaspoon of bi carb, thinking 'this isn't going to do anything' (I should know better!). As it tasted so awful I let them chase it with a Werther's. Within 10 minutes they were both asleep....- by email. See also Talking point, below.

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[474] One-liners (November 2006)

After seeing your DVD, we immediately cut out all dried fruit and muesli bars from our two-year-old’s diet and were absolutely stunned to see that her persistent cough that usually kicks in around 11pm each night, and has for the last four or five months, suddenly ceased!

I first read Fed Up seven years ago when my then 3-year-old was suffering severe eczema. I started eliminating additives and colours and her eczema went in a week and has not returned.

We solved my father-in-law’s severe eczema after visiting your website. He was using Wintergreen and Deep Heat to relieve joint pain symptoms and dermatologist couldn't cure his problem at all. Since following the low salicylate diet, he is 100%. He can not believe that the stiffness, aching joints and bad eczema have all disappeared.

We are attempting to do this in a split family. When I first started my son’s dad was not on board, however, he is now seeing the amazing changes and is slowly becoming more failsafe as time go on.

My three-year-old son has been on the diet for three months now and it has been a miracle for our family. He has no eczema, his behaviour is fantastic (the sweet gentle caring child I knew was hiding in there somewhere), his faeces are back to normal, he has not had a runny nose since starting the diet, no abdominal pain and he goes to sleep and sleeps all night with no night terrors (we were dealing with three or four a night). WOW, what a difference. We have found he is sensitive to amines and salicylates.

Thank you for providing such an informative website without requiring payment to view the information - it shows that you all really care about helping these kids and their families.

My 10-year-old daughter recently started becoming tearful and depressed sometimes - I was amazed when she worked out it was a reaction to sharing her Dad's chips - 'It's the flavour enhancers Mum, they just make me want to cry for no reason'.

You were right about salicylates! My six year old son has improved so much more now that we are avoiding them.

My hayfever has completely disappeared and my two children have become angels on this diet - my 2 year old has stopped her temper tantrums and is sleeping better and my 5 yr old son is like a new boy, happily playing on his own for hours, drawing, building blocks. He realises that "food with colours and chemicals make me silly" - I can't believe he is actively trying to avoid those foods because he feels so much better!

Your information has helped me overnight. After 36 years of difficulties and the last 5 years of stomach problems I am in a state of euphoric bliss. I have read so much on health over the years but have felt I was fighting a losing battle, I can’t believe how simple this has been to fix. Thank you for it is an amazing journey this life which I am sure I will (permanently) no longer feel like ending. I’m off for failsafe toad in the hole now with a big smile on my face.

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[473] Two weeks of hell from coloured antibiotics (November 2006)

‘Middle ear infections suck!’ Words from my own son’s lips - he is suffering today, poor darling. So of course it was off to the doctor for some antibiotics and of course they are in an attractive bright yellow capsule. I painstakingly undid all the yellow caps one by one and repackaged them in clear caps. Took me almost 30 min to do 21 caps but well worth the effort in not having diet issues together with illness. Had that issue before and it's not fun. It took my son almost two weeks to get over the "junk" hit the last time he was sick, it was hell. Just thought it might be a good tip for others, providing their children can swallow capsules. Finding pre packaged anti B's in clear or white caps is hard (see Surgi Pack clear gelatin capsules under product updates). – Michelle, by email

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[472] ‘Years of difficult days, tears of frustration and questioning myself as a mother’ (November 2006)

Two years ago I made the link between certain breads and my then two-year-old’s out-of-control behaviour. He had been born with reflux, and at 8 months we found he was allergic to wheat, which later became an intolerance. I have endured countless judgements from people regarding my "theories" that even preservative free breads from the supermarket still affected his behaviour considerably. Making my own bread has had a major impact on improving his behaviour, he is like a different child, but I have been struggling to find compassionate people to help me take the next step in assessing his diet further. He is a great child, but is "more excitable", "over active", "emotional". Many words have been used to describe him but I've always been told that I lack parenting skills and I am hiding behind excuses to explain his behaviour. In your website I have found people that understand me and him. In other people's stories I read my own, countless times. After years of difficult days, tears of frustration and questioning myself as a mother, I feel I've finally found people who are "on my side". I feel validated. – by email, Tasmania

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[471] Chronic tic disorder from synthetic antioxidants (November 2006)

My three boys have been avoiding a number of additives for many years now because of obvious affects on their behaviour and health. Last year my oldest son – then 8 years old - was diagnosed with Chronic Tic Disorder which is one step before Tourettes Syndrome. He could not sit still, having tics in his face, neck, shoulders and arms. After a period of time, I realised that this behaviour coincided with an increase in eating hot chips. I stopped my son eating hot chips and the tics went away. I have since tried him on hot chips and the same thing happens. The culprit is the synthetic antioxidant 320 (and/or 319) that appears in most chips and oil used for deep frying. However, manufacturers of frozen chips, and other products such as packet chips/crisps and dry biscuits do not need to list the additive on the label if the oil is less than 5% of the product. Not good enough! How can I help my son be “tic free” if we don’t know when these nasty additives are in certain foods? – by email

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[470] Overcoming resistance (November 2006)

I purchased Sue's book "Fed Up" 8 years ago and tried to implement it into the family but met with resistance. The one thing that all in the family agreed was that our daughter was food colouring intolerant. Now after viewing the DVD the entire family and grandparents agree that she needs further help. We removed preservatives also from her diet and have seen some amazing results. Not only has she calmed down, but so have her brother and sister. Thank you both for all you are trying to do. We do need to encourage more people about the dreaded inclusions in our diet. I am a primary school teacher and I see too often the detrimental effects of additives on children’s behaviour. Our children are screaming out for help, if only the officials would open their minds and hearts to listen – by email

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[469] ‘Old fashioned butcher is safer’ - asthma from amines in meat (November 2006)

My amine-sensitive asthmatic daughter has been back on Ventolin daily for the past five weeks. The only amines she gets are from lamb from our local butcher who I know well. When I rang him he said that he changed lamb supplier five weeks ago (the same time my daughter’s asthma commenced) as our local abattoir closed down, and this is complicated by the drought as the butcher will only buy large carcasses and these are not always available in the drought.

I have located another butcher who tells me his lamb is at local saleyards on Wednesday, slaughtered Thursday and they get delivery late Friday. My daughter is better today after nearly a week off lamb and hasn’t required Ventolin for the first time in five weeks. I worry as to how new failsafers would pick up things like their meat not being entirely fresh as it appears harder and harder to get. The safest butchers appear to be the 'one man' butcher i.e. small business operator who runs the old fashioned butcher shop. I have found failsafe eating harder and harder to achieve and I am experienced with the diet. This makes me very sad as I know it is the answer, just hard to achieve! – Susan, NSW

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[468] Lots of mistakes at first (November 2006)

My daughter Samantha is now eight and has been failsafe for about two years. To begin with we were making a number of errors with the diet and it wasn't until I started referring to your web pages that I was able to better refine the diet and start to work through some of the possible reasons why the diet didn't always seem to be working.

Samantha was always a fairly demanding baby but as she was our first we didn't really know any different. As a toddler she was not the sort of child that was easy to take out to a café for lunch - sitting still wasn't something that she could do, frustrating but I could cope with that and didn't really worry about it.

The first signs that started us thinking were a little eczema after eating dried fruit and complaining of her skin burning after urinating, which seemed to be much worse after eating oranges and tomatoes. At about the same time that we started taking note of these I met someone whose child was failsafe and I started reading about food intolerances. It all started to make sense. Pity that we didn't find your material straight away however we fiddled around eliminating some of the very high foods from her diet. Some improvement on the skin irritations but her behaviour although not extreme was becoming noticeable at times

When Samantha went to school she was displaying some behaviours that were inappropriate. We could never really put our finger on the type of behaviour that she was displaying it was just silly inappropriate behaviour, silly noises, crawling under the desks etc. As she is a bright child we were perplexed about why she couldn't seem to understand and learn how to behave at school. It was at about this time that we discovered your material although it was not a total success straight away. When Samantha eats food that is not failsafe it seems she displays symptoms of oppositional defiance. It took time to realise just how sensitive Samantha is and to sort out some of the common errors we were making.

We are extremely lucky as Samantha is absolutely wonderful about sticking to the diet. I grew up on a farm where my mother did all the cooking so I guess I have learnt pretty good cooking skills. As I now cook just about everything, it does seem to be a bit of a bonus. – by email, Tasmania

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[467] 635: Ribo rash and increased sensitivity (November 2006)

I suspect my daughter has an intolerance to flavour enhancer 635 because we have noticed reactions to the noodle flavour sachet and since then she has had a few reactions (itchy rash) to other snack-food products containing 635. A recent bout seemed likely to have been set off by eating sour cream and onion flavoured Pringles. Although the tiny print on the box does not list 635 or ribonucleotide, it lists the two other flavour enhancers which 635 is made from (627 and 631). We had let our guard down as she had not had a reaction for some time and begged on the school holidays to have the Pringles. Her rash seems to also flare up when she goes in the swimming pool, so obviously it is more complicated than I thought ... once a few years ago she got an insect bite which swelled, and then for about a week she'd get a rash when going in the school pool or our pool at home. It eventually went away, and she's been fine swimming for years, until now. But the cross reactivity (is that what you call it?) in the past with the insect bite, and now with the 635 (if that is indeed what it is) and the pool water shows how allergy/intolerance ain't that simple. Has anyone else noticed subsequent problems with rash flaring up when going in a swimming pool? – by email

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[466] Swimming pool chlorine triggers oppositional defiance (November 2006)

Part one: In the last five weeks our son’s ODD behaviour has been getting steadily worse. A lot of the time he is fine (with flashes of naughtiness), and then BANG, major, violent tantrum. I have just gone over the diary fairly meticulously and noticed that exactly five weeks ago he started swimming lessons in the local swimming school. The very next day after his first lesson, I noted that he seemed to be a bit irritated, and was a bit irritated on a couple of other days that week.

The following Saturday, after the lesson, I noted that he seemed grumpy, but it was short lived and reappeared off and on a couple of days later. By the Tuesday we had a screaming tantrum (unheard of for weeks and weeks). From there on the irritation was there much more often, and every couple of days he would be in timeout, mouthing off (ODD raising it's ugly head).

The last three weeks have been not good for him (or us) and this morning, I could see it coming on before school and sure enough we had a huge tantrum, where he was threatening to hit me with the toilet brush (he was timing out in the bathroom), he was being really nasty calling me names etc and was out to hurt me. When I got him to school (he had calmed down and was really sorry by then), I had to warn his teacher. I was thinking of taking him out of school until he calms down again, or at least until we find what is causing this.

Could this all be coming from chlorine? Usually after the swimming lesson we would take him to the local pool next day to practice so there's a double dose. He has always swum in our spa and his cousin's pool with no ill effects, however is it possible the swimming school and public pools would be more heavily chlorinated than the normal backyard one?

(Sue: It is common for ODD kids to react badly to chlorine, and yes, the chlorine level in public pools is usually much heavier than home pools. Some people get around it by having the child wear goggles -you can easily absorb toxic chemicals through your eyes - and shower immediately after leaving the pool. Others prefer to swim in fresh water swimming holes, the sea, salt water pools, or low chlorine pools.)

Part two: another look at the diary shows that for the last three weeks we have had a major tantrum on the afternoon following the lesson and then again the next day after the local pool - the reason for the behaviour was staring me in the face, and I didn't see it as I was looking for food triggers.

I have looked back further in the diary, where it showed the last real tantrum was during the last school holidays. I had noted that he had been at the local pool that morning, and lost the plot in the afternoon, so I don't think I need any more proof than that! I wish I had twigged earlier, I kept looking for food reasons. I'm really pleased it wasn't food. – by email, NT

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[465] Trip report: food in Ireland (November 2006) (November 2006)

We are just back from a 5 week trip around Ireland with our three children and my mother. From my experiences there in 2001 and 2003, I must say that it is getting a lot more difficult to find failsafe food in the supermarkets and markets in 2006. I found their labelling to be informative, but you must know the names of the additives as they only print those, not the numbers. My children often picked something up and, because they are used to scanning for numbers, thought the product was safe for us. I am glad that I was familiar with the names for the nasties or we would have been caught out many times. Fresh food is in glorious abundance, but unfortunately a bit on the expensive side. We could only find one brand of bread that was acceptable, with no 282 or whey or vinegar, of course it was the most expensive to buy. There were no crisps that we could find that were failsafe, or biscuits. Cakes were all heavily coloured and decorated, with the results that we ended up cooking our own snacks. Fast food is expensive and very colourful, with virtually no safe choices available - well, for us anyway. I am very glad that we rented a house with a great kitchen. If we were not able to self-cater, I don't think we would have had such great behaviour from the children - can you imagine 5 weeks of being their only companions and not one single argument!! – Sharon, Melbourne

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[464] Food intolerance developed in an adult (November 2006)

Seven years ago at the age of 55 I had a very nasty gastro-intestinal virus which led to CFS and IBS. Because of the severity of the IBS, I had many tests - some nasty, with scary implications. Finally, a very helpful dietitian (who works closely with the RPAH allergy unit) put me onto the elimination diet nearly 2 years ago. We have found that I have numerous intolerances: lactose, gluten, salicylates, amines, soy, MSG, sorbitol, sulphites, benzoates, annatto - to name a few.... – by email

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[463] “Tell Sue I’m not a cranky pants anymore” (November 2006)

I am a primary teacher and thought I had done everything 'right' to prepare my daughter for school. I was surprised and shocked when the teacher was less than enthusiastic about her first day. Despite her apparent high intelligence, Amelia has progressed slowly and her teacher describes her as inattentive and unaware of what is going on in the classroom.

After three terms of this I finally relented and took Amelia to see a paediatrician. She was diagnosed with ADHD (it is also suspected that my husband had ADHD as a child and has leant to channel his energy into work and sport). I was very reluctant to give Amelia the prescribed dose of Ritalin, particularly as her behaviour wasn't unmanageable at home. (After reading your book, perhaps I have been an 'immersion' mother and have fooled myself by thinking 'my child isn't a bad as that'.)

After much discussion my husband and I decided to trial Ritalin. I only lasted two days before maternal guilt, severe anxiety (particularly after looking at www.Ritalindeath.com) and Amelia's racing heartbeat helped us to make the decision to stop the medication. It was after my husband talked about our experiences at work, that one of his colleagues suggested we look at your website.

That was a significant day in our household. The next day, with the help of my children we emptied out the cupboards and started failsafe. The changes that your suggestions have made to my family are impressive. After 11 days on the diet, I received my first unsolicited positive comment from Amelia's teacher about her work and she also got two awards in the same week.

My 2 1/2 year old son has demonstrated even more dramatic improvement. Even though we didn't think there was a specific need for him to be on the diet, we are doing it as a family. Behaviours that I put down to being a boy – climbing on everything, running everywhere, talking loudly - have all stopped and he is now a gentle, quiet little boy. His day care teacher is amazed by the changes in him.

As for me, the headaches that I have experienced every few days have stopped and the psoriasis on my arms is starting to heal. I have read three of your books and it is if I have woken from a dream. Your description of your daughter in year 1 and husband could be about my family. When I read p38 "She'll grow out of it" Fed up with ADHD I was astounded - that is Amelia!!!! She is also very good at drawing and is a creative, lateral thinker (not that these qualities have been recognised at school).

Sue, I thank you for the years of trial and error that you have gone through to make this so much easier for all the families who are experiencing problems now. Amelia asked me to say thank you from her in this letter. 'Tell Sue I'm not a cranky pants anymore' she said. – email, NSW

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[462] Failsafe homeschooling (November 2006)

My daughter is nine years old now and I intend to keep her home schooled for the rest of her school years. Not only is she behaving better because she eats only failsafe food but her concentration has improved, she enjoys learning and is learning more and is a far happier child as a result. I'd strongly recommend home schooling for parents of kids with ADHD. Before we started home schooling, my daughter exhibited strongly ODD behaviour patterns and was becoming a very unhappy and unsettled little girl. It's so good to see her playing happily with the others and being able to hold a conversation instead of fighting and tormenting.

Socialisation is no problem for us. We are already a large family, however, we organise outside activities as well. Our kids do a horsemanship course (their choice) as well as other activities that bring them into contact with others. Last year we tried our daughter with ballet for a while but would have been better with all-in wrestling. This year she's doing trampolining. It's more her style. Largely, I think that kids in schools get too much of the one kind of socialisation. I personally think they develop better if they learn to socialise with people across all age groups.

To get permission to home school is easy, in NSW you download the application forms from the Board of Studies website, fill them in and send them, but there are a few things that need to be in place.

Firstly, you need to develop a plan of what you are going to teach. To help with this, the website of the Board of Studies has a site that tells what subjects have to be taught and what sort of components in each subject you need to address. It's the normal school curriculum that has to be followed. I found this a bit worrying at first but it ended up being fairly easy. I am a trained primary school teacher which did of course make things much easier, but I found the greatest amount of help from other home schooling parents on the internet. You do not have to be a teacher to home school but you do need to develop a pretty good program. I'm pleased to say that the Board of Studies has approved the programs that I've written for my girls and has asked if I would help other homeschooling parents in my area, which I do and I'd be happy to help 'failsafers' with theirs if they need it.- Chris (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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[461] At 8 my daughter was a horrible bully suspended from school (November 2006)

My story started with an uncontrollable daughter who at 8 years of age was already getting suspended from school and was a horrible bully. The school wrote me a referral to a paediatrician. At the time I thought would only mean having her medicated to control her which I was dead set against.

I have two older boys that were very well behaved so I wanted to find the cause of the problem and not just cover it up with medication. Three days after Christmas 2002 my daughter went off to such a degree that all I could do was hold on to her while she bit, kicked and screamed until she was physically exhausted. That was when I knew there was something seriously wrong so I went to see a child psychologist who fortunately for me recommended your book Fed Up.

Within a month I went from thinking my daughter was destined for jail to thinking what a lovely young girl she is turning into. The results were noticeable that quickly. And from my daughter’s point of view she felt better within herself. She was no longer on an emotional roller coaster every day. Because of how she felt on the diet it made it easy to keep her on it. She was feeling a whole lot more in control of herself.

Since cleaning out our cupboards I noticed that my eldest boy no longer suffered migraines and no longer took so long with gut aches on the toilet. So obviously he also was affected by these chemicals but in a different manner than my uncontrollable daughter.

Now in our family two of my nephews and a niece have also gone on the diet with the same excellent results. One of my nephews went from struggling to get through one reader a week to reading one a night almost instantly.

My daughter is now twelve with her full potential being realised and is the biggest advocate of all for the failsafe diet. We laugh now about what we refer to as her "psychotic episodes" (which thankfully we haven't seen in a few years now). I used to think "what did I do so wrong with my daughter. My boys are good boys where did I go wrong." It was good to learn that it wasn't anything I did wrong as such. It was the food I was feeding her. – email, NT

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[460] Severe egg allergy in a 3 year old discovered through the elimination diet (November 2006)

Our 3 year old always had puffy eyes, we just thought that was the way she looked. We don't eat whole eggs, I would only use them in cooking such as in a cake or at most a quiche because I used to throw up after eating them as a child. After we started the elimination diet my husband made the home made Mayo in your recipe book and because it uses raw egg, she had a more pronounced response. We missed the first response, it’s so much easier with hindsight! She mucked up at the dinner table straight away after trying the salad, wouldn't sit still, so we sent her to her room. After 5 minutes I went in and her eye was all puffy, I asked her what happened, did she fall? and she said "yes". But I noticed that the eye didn't blacken like a bruise over the next day or so. Two days later my husband gave her the same salad dressing. Again she mucked up at the dinner table, I took her to her room, but I laid her on the change table and that's when I saw she had hives coming up around her mouth. I knew that was bad so I grabbed her and took her straight to the hospital. Over three hours she slowly reacted, the hives went down and then the eyes started puffing up. We saw the Paediatric Registrar who told us "these things sometimes happen when they have a virus - take her home and giver her antihistamine". At that stage one eye was almost closed and the other eye was well on the way and the doctor had noticed she had a runny nose. I was yet to learn so much. I took her home, the runny nose wasn't from a cold it was her nasal airways closing up. I gave her the antihistamine and we stayed up most of the night to make sure she was okay.

After that I rang the hospital and asked for a referral to get her checked for egg allergy and the paediatrician tried to fob me off. If there is one thing I have learnt with my five year old, it is that I have to be my child's advocate. I stood my ground and pushed until the doctor gave in. When we eventually got to see the allergist some four months later, my suspicion was confirmed. My daughter was very allergic to both egg white and egg yolk. Not anaphylactic, one step away. I have since been to a number of talks and learnt about anaphylaxis. One of the most important things I have since learnt (for us) is that children who have a decent allergy to an item, will often turn anaphylactic if they go on to develop asthma. My husband and I are both asthmatic and are now very vigilant. – by email, and see Nell’s egg free cake recipe in Cooks Corner (Failsafe Newsletter #50).

MORE READERS' STORIES on the website, including 49 new stories about Additive 635 (mixture of 627 & 631) ribonucleotides

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Product updates


*** PRODUCT WARNING *** Kraft cream cheese – from July 2006 all cream cheese in tubs and mini-tubs contains potassium sorbate 202 preservative. The Philadelphia cream cheese in bricks is currently free of preservative. You can tell Kraft what you think about this at http://www.kraft.com.au. Thanks to Sonia, Lyn, Jamie, Anne and many others.

Icecream – several people have asked about Mototo, the decadent dessert (Alternative Foods Company Pty Ltd, 07 3254 3782). It contains Filtered Water, Sugar, Vegetable Fat (no additives but contains salicylates and amines from coconut), Glucose (maize) (60-110ppm sulphites), Egg yolk, Dextrose (maize), Rice Starch, Maltodextrin (tapioca), Emulsifier 471, Vegetable Gums 401, 466, Mineral Salts 341, 339, Flavour (natural, vanilla), Salt. Not suitable for your strict elimination diet, OK for an occasional treat.

Gluten-free ice-cream cone! Hullabaloo Foods have finally perfected a cone (but ask for honey-free) available through www.hullabaloofood.com, and other regular failsafe products (i.e. not just gluten-free) skinless dried pear, popples, yoghurt clusters and specially for gluten, egg and dairy-free failsafers "magic cake mix" (Citric Acid for flavour). Hullabaloo Red is the group which targets failsafers. Jane is also active in (trying to) change school canteen food - although not failsafe - her canteen range is preservative/additive free (SAFE), nut free and meets FOCIS (Federation of Canteens in Schools) guidelines for healthy eating.

Clear gelatin capsules, Surgi pack, code 6034, size "00" (the big ones), distributed by Tyco Healthcare Pty Ltd Sydney. Well worth the money. – thanks to Michelle, see story [473].

***PRODUCT WARNING ***Home Brand Canola Oil “We have a new bottle of Home Brand Canola Oil for Woolworths and this one does not have any item listed other than Canola Oil. Nothing is mentioned about anti oxidants 319 or 320. A few months ago, this product was removed from the shelves and was not available for several weeks. I wonder if that's when they made the change? - thanks to Larry (BE CAREFUL AS SOME STORES ARE STILL CARRYING THIS OIL WITH ANTIOXIDANTS 319 & 320. Feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. please).

Snow's Butterscotch traditional recipe, sold in Big W, appear to be failsafe although there may be traces of sulphites from the glucose: Ingredients - wheat glucose syrup; sugar; butter; malt (barley); salt; soy lecithin. – thanks to Lesley

***PRODUCT WARNING*** Carob Buttons: Mellow Yellow customer service line tells us that BHA 320 is used in the oil which is an ingredient of the carob buttons.- thanks to Belinda

Sulphite-free dried fruit for people who have no problems with amines (dried bananas), salicylates (apricot, peach, mango), amines and salicylates (pineapple): Australian Food Innovators Fresh Attitude brand. Note that although fresh mangoes are only moderate in salicylates, food chemicals are concentrated by drying. See also Hullabaloo foods above for skinless, sulphite free dried pears, and below for dried pawpaw – thanks to Julie Eady, Liz, Jane

Sulphite-free dried pawpaw (amines, no salicylates); and other fruits - (discontinued) – thanks to Lynn

Embossed wrist bands originally for lost children are popular with allergy sufferers (e.g. ‘no dairy’, ‘severe food allergies’), mobile: 0407 004 137, phone 1300 BUZZME or 1300 289 963. If you can only have a few words, what will you say? We welcome suggestions (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - thanks to Sam

Failsafe sausages - Quants Butcher 17 Lindfield Ave Lindfield Ph 9416 1401 - he will make them however you want, he makes his sausages every Tuesday and does the Failsafe ones first so they aren't contaminated. He did beef & leek and chicken & garlic for me and my kids haven't reacted. – thanks to Tracy

Sausages - A Cut Above Fine Foods butcher shops in Beecroft and Westleigh, Sydney, do sausages called RPA using a recipe from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital allergy unit, Marc is the owner/butcher, phone 9980 8822 for more details – thanks to JoAnn (Marc’s wife)

Many Aldi products seem to be failsafe - shortbreads, crispbreads, rice crackers, Lebanese bread, some cereals, oats, pasta, vanilla yoghurt and icecream, tinned beans, butterscotch and jersey caramel lollies and Kettle chips, and all at half the price of Woolies and Coles. [Note that you will have to enquire about unlisted BHA(320) or TBHQ(319) in any vegetable oil that is less than 5% of the product]. – thanks to Belinda

Freedom Foods Soy Butter – an extremely sensitive asthmatic failsafer has reported a reaction to it but my family have had no problems. We welcome feedback.


Potato crisps/chips – Kettle and Red Rock Deli chips appear to be the safest. We are still receiving reports about reactions to Smiths, apparently due to the sunola oil although we are not sure, and there have been a few reports of reactions to Kettle chips. Approach any commercial product such as chips and rice crackers with caution, especially if eaten every day.

Miessence Aroma Free Deodorant can be purchased through www.organicaustralia.com.au (not Golden Glow as it said on our website) - thanks to Lisa

Puff pastry - for people who can’t find Pampas butter puff pastry, you can use the following alternatives but always read labels: Borg’s or Farmland pastry; dry pastry mix in packets (Green’s, White Wings or Lion).

Millet - the millet crop has failed in Australia due to the drought. There will be no millet in health food stores until next March at the earliest. If anyone knows where to obtain 5kg bags (not necessarily organic) please email 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 information.

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Your questions:

Q: I have heard that the US National Academy of Sciences concluded in 2002 that the only safe intake of trans fats is zero, and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that governments phase out partially hydrogenated oils. In Australia, are trans fatty acids identified on food labels? Is our government taking action to reduce trans fatty acids in food?

A: Trans fatty acid contents must be declared if a nutrition claim is made in respect of cholesterol or saturated, trans, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acids; or omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids. Some food manufacturers voluntarily list the amount of trans fatty acids in their products. FSANZ is proposing to allow manufacturers to use a claim that a food 'low in trans fatty acids and saturated fat can reduce the risk of heart disease' when they introduce a new regulation on health claims on foods in 2007. This will assist consumers to make healthier choices and encourage the food industry to develop healthier products.

The Australian Government has also set up a National Collaboration on Trans Fats that includes representatives from the Australian National Heart Foundation, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the Dietitians Association of Australia and FSANZ. The primary aim of this group is to work cooperatively in reducing the amount of trans fatty acids in the Australian food supply without an associated increase in the amount of saturated fat. The group will promote wide implementation of current industry and public health initiatives for reducing the levels of trans fatty acids and increasing consumer awareness and understanding. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/nutrition/transfat/Pages/default.aspx

Q. I know that failsafe eating is meant to help with PMT, but my almost 15 year old daughter who has had monthly cramps but no period for 4 years suddenly got her period. We have been on the elimination diet for 3 weeks. Is this a coincidence?

A. As well as an improvement in PMT, failsafe women have reported reductions in period pain, postnatal depression and clots during menstrual bleeding. There have also been several reports of overcoming infertility - in other words, a pregnancy within months of starting failsafe after years of trying. So your daughter’s experience is possibly not a coincidence. We’d love to hear of any similar reports (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Q. My daughter’s skin prick tests show a moderate allergy to cows milk and we have trialled soymilk several times but it makes her depressed, intrusive, argumentative and very negative (feels the whole world is against her). She seems totally unaware of this occurring, even when pointed out. Is this a reaction you are aware of?

A. Some children do have behavioural reactions to soy milk. We would like to hear from anyone else who has experienced soy-related depression. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Q. My 18yo son has been a failsafer for 8 years now and has always been excellent with his diet. We recently had a very upsetting time when over a period of months he deteriorated into an angry, swearing, depressed young man. The cause turned out to be that an avid gym goer, he was taking Musashi Protein food (powder) mixed with water, every single morning after going to the gym to build himself up and as an additional protein source. The ingredients included, amongst other things, a couple of flavour enhancers, although not numbered. Would full cream canned milk powder or Sustagen be an alternative for him to take? He says he needs to get the extra protein but obviously can’t cook himself up a meal as he goes straight to work from the gym so something he can mix with water like he did with the protein powder would be ideal.

A. If he can tolerate dairy foods, milk powder or Sustagen is okay. Pure egg white powder is another alternative you can sometimes find amongst body building supplies, it goes well in a milk or soyshake.

Q. Can you tell me what sort of cooking oil I should use to avoid macular degeneration (AMD)?

A. A recent review in the Medical Journal of Australia found that the evidence regarding dietary fats and AMD is conflicting regarding saturated, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats; that three out of nine studies found a diet rich in dark green or yellow vegetables helpful; that the only proven modifiable risk factor for AMD is smoking; and that a low fat healthy diet with vegetables is probably a good idea. See the full details at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/184_09_010506/guy11072_fm.html.

Q. Can pool chlorine affect children’s behaviour?

A. Yes! This is a common problem every summer when schools start the swimming programs, see story number [466], Swimming pool chlorine triggers oppositional defiance.

Q. We’ve been meaning to do a dairy challenge but there always seems to be a reason not to.

A. From the beginning of January and right through first term is usually an excellent time to do challenges because the party season is over.

Q. My oppositionally defiant amine-sensitive daughter is having a hard time at the moment and I am wondering if it might be due to spring flowers?

A. It is well known that salicylate responders can be affected by the scent of flowers and plant products such as bark, potpourri, essential oils and incense and a salicylate-sensitive failsafer from New Zealand has commented that Australian natives seem to be particularly strong. What about amines? We would welcome feedback from amine responders on this topic (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Q. My daughter has had severe reactions to cochineal pink colour (120) in a strawberry milkshake and some sweets. The reaction seems to occur within minutes and presents as a significant rash from the part way up the nose across the face to the jaw line. She gets significant swelling, although no breathing symptoms. Why is this not in your banned list?

A. Reactions to cochineal (120) are true allergic reactions to proteins in the cochineal which is made from crushed beetles. As such, they are quick and easy to identify - which is what you have found. The treatment for true allergies like this is avoidance of the allergen. Allergy to cochineal is quite rare whereas the additives on our banned list cause a very wide range of intolerance reactions in large numbers of consumers. Unlike allergies, intolerance reactions are usually delayed and can be difficult to identify except through the use of an elimination diet. (Further reading: Chung K and others, Identification of carmine allergens among three carmine allergy patients. Allergy. 2001 Jan;56(1):73-7, abstract on www.pubmed.com)

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Around the groups: getting in touch


New talking point – how to deal with an uncooperative ex-spouse?


See story [459] above, which won this newsletter’s Courage Award. Do you have any helpful and constructive suggestions that might help others in a similar situation? Send your opinions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Last newsletter’s talking point - should children be punished for bad behaviour after inadvertently having non-failsafe food? (thanks to Heather)


1) My husband and I argue about this - he believes bad behaviour is simply unacceptable and our son needs to get 'consequences'. I think it's unfair to give a child drugs and then punish him for the way he behaves. When my five year old threatened to hurt his teacher, I said to my husband "imagine if someone spiked your drink with a hallucinogenic and then sent you off to school? How would you behave, and how would you feel if you were punished for your behaviour?" When the food reaction was over, we discussed my son's behaviour explaining that it was totally unacceptable in no uncertain terms and he understood. I think it's best to communicate acceptable and unacceptable behaviour with children very clearly, but not to punish them for being on drugs.- Rebecca


2) I am so glad you are covering this because it is something my husband and I have really struggled with. When my 6 year-old son started failsafe we found that we were disciplining him when he misbehaved after having a non-failsafe food but we really felt bad doing it and it wasn't useful because he wasn't learning from it. So we decided not to be so hard on him when it did happen again, however doing nothing is difficult because the behaviour is too annoying and also the behaviour can't be tolerated. So we have started to look at the signs that show that my son is going to act badly and try to curb it by distracting him, extra hugs/calmer voice if he is getting over emotional (rather than annoyed and angry which just made him worse), remove him from the room before it gets out of hand, etc. We still find it hard not to react with the full on disciplining but we do try to go easier and smarter and it does help although there are many times when we still revert to normal disciplining just because we don't know what else to do and we are too annoyed and frustrated in those times to ignore it. - Cheree


3) I don't think punishment is the thing, so much as living out the consequences for the bad behaviour. Accountability is really important. Eating the wrong food results in lack of control, which results in being out of control, and any resulting breakages or rudeness should still be addressed whether it means time out or reparation for damages, or loss of privileges. - anonymous


4) My favourite strategy at the moment is to let the child choose. I ask them if they want the mean, angry mummy or the kind sweet mummy who understands that this is a food reaction. The kind mummy administers a caltrate tablet, a cuddle and then gives the child some quiet time until the calcium tablet kicks in. Then we discuss the behaviour calmly. The child has chosen this path, so everything runs smoothly.


This approach doesn't condone the bad behaviour, but it also doesn't escalate it. It also gives the child an opportunity to get out of the tantrum, whilst still being in control of the situation (very important to our girl). Only once did she choose the mean angry mummy - which really put me on the spot. I was stumped for a moment. I asked if she was sure. Then I took a deep breath, put my face about two inches from hers and started yelling "how dare you … Do you think this is acceptable … etc." Then I picked her up, dumped her in her bed and screamed that she had to stay there. Five minutes later I came in and softly asked if she was ready for the kind mummy yet. She was. – Eleanor


5) My son has been punished on several occasions for his behaviour at school. I have told his teacher and the assistant principal about his food reactions and I make a note to tell them if we have had a "bad morning" so they can be on alert for it. Recently they had a cake stall at school that all the kids take part in. Knowing I wouldn't be there to supervise his choice I told him the sorts of cakes he could have and also let his teacher know. When I explained to the teacher that if the cakes had preservatives in them he would be very hard to control her response was to tell me that she understood his character and problems and he would be fine. When I got there in the afternoon he had been sent to the principal because he wouldn't (couldn't) sit still and do his work and kept interrupting the teacher when she was speaking.


Despite their knowledge of his reactions he has had several trips to the principal’s office. The latest one was for hitting back at a child who had called him a freak because of the foods he had to avoid. He is only six years old and didn't take the statement all that well. I know that he should not hit but in this type of situation and at his age I think the other boy should also have gotten in trouble. The teacher’s response was to tell me that because the other child didn't harm my son nothing would be done about it. Does psychological harm not count any more? Do these kids not have enough to worry about? - Kate


Factsheets and support material

Two new Factsheets: Self-harm       Palpitations and heart issues

Updated Factsheets: School tuckshop support    Epilepsy    Added flavours: natural or artificial, what’s the difference?

New: Symptom discussion sheets have been introduced to summarise group discussion on particular symptoms. The first is Extreme sensitivity to noise - hyperacusis



There are now 88 support contacts in over 50 locations in Australia, and in New Zealand and 9 overseas countries - see website.

There are now over 2,500 people in our many support groups. 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.

New local group for failsafers residing in or near Sydney, NSW Australia, to discuss where to buy suitable food, provide local information such as dietitians who supervise the diet and doctors who are sympathetic to our problems, as well as sharing our stories and successes. 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.

Two new local groups for Southern Fleurieu (SA) and Lismore (NSW) – see http://fedup.com.au/information/support/email-support-groups

If you’re interested in autism, there is a free Perth-based Autism Forum with approx 25 members, (this far) which discusses diet regularly: www.adapt.org.au. Let us know what you think about it.


Getting in touch

Kate – see talking point reply #5 - would like to hear from other failsafers in the Liverpool, NSW area, please contact via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Sue has no scheduled talks at present. When the expanded and updated Failsafe Cookbook is available on 1 March 2007 she will be traveling again. If people in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne want to organize free talks at that time please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Supermarket tours

Kathleen and Jenny in Melbourne and Belinda in mid-north coast NSW will run supermarket tours for failsafers. Details under Talks on website.


Mickaela’s study looking for young children

Enrolments for the RMIT/Royal Children’s Hospital diet and behaviour study in Melbourne will be closing soon but vacancies still exist for a few children on the younger end of the scale (4-8), for more information, phone: Mickaela Schelleman on 0410 788 844, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dr. Amanda Richdale on (03) 99257366, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Printable trifold brochures on food intolerance and oppositional defiance are available. We'll post two free that you can copy, or you can buy bulk copies at cost $A0.22 each plus postage. See instructions on the website for accessing pdf versions. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with enquiries. We loved this comment from one satisfied failsafer: "Ah, the answer to my prayers. I had no idea the brochure even existed, but thanks so much for directing me to it. I am not very Internet savvy, however I found it easy enough. Regarding possible opposition to 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."


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Cook’s corner



For a failsafe air freshener, you can mix some vanilla essence with water in a spray bottle. – thanks to Kyria


Evil bean bruschetta

Bruschetta is a traditional Italian food consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil, vegetables or other toppings. This failsafe version comes from Michelle who says ‘it got its name from a friend of mine who isn’t a failsafer but she loves it all the same, and she thinks it’s evil!’

1 tin cannelloni beans

¼ cup of oil (half of this to cook with and half to pour over the top)

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped.

2 baguette rolls, cut as though you were making a bruschetta and lightly toasted.

Cream the beans in a processor. Mix together half the oil and garlic in a separate bowl and leave to infuse. Fry the other half of the garlic and oil until they start to crisp, do this slowly. Add beans and cook gently until hot. Serve hot on toasted bruschetta and drizzle infused oil on top. – thanks to Michelle


Sam’s Barra Cakes

Barramundi is the iconic fish from Australia’s Top End, also known as Sea Bass. If you can’t get fresh Barramundi, any fresh white boneless fish fillets will do. For amine responders, fish must be very fresh, not frozen.

2 fillets of fresh barramundi, steamed or oven baked in foil.

10 cups leftover mashed potato, must be cold

½ a leek

handful of chives

3 cloves of garlic

2 eggs

4 cups preservative free breadcrumbs or Orgran all purpose crumbs or puffed rice

salt to taste

failsafe oil for frying

Cook barra until soft and flaky, depending on the size of fillets. Don’t overcook them or they become dry and stringy. In a food processor blitz leek, garlic and chives until they are finely chopped. In a bowl mix together the potato, eggs, leek mix and barra. Add breadcrumbs until mix is wet but not falling apart, but not too dry either. Shape into balls, patties or whatever shape you might like. Fry until golden. Serve with failsafe vegetables such as cooked swede, mashed beans or peas when tolerated. – thanks again to Michelle


Nell’s cake (with egg-free option)

Named after a little old lady called Nell, this incredibly simple recipe also works well with ‘No Egg’ substitute. Nicole says ‘we take this to Scouts for the end of term celebrations, there are never any left over, and some of the mothers wonder why their coloured creations don't get eaten!’

1½ cups self raising flour

1 cup caster sugar

2 large eggs or ‘No Egg’ substitute

1 cup cream

½ tsp vanilla essence (if tolerated)

icing sugar to sprinkle

With electric beater, beat eggs/’No Egg’ and sugar until dissolved. Mix in cream gently (with a wooden spoon), then add vanilla. Fold in flour. Line cake tin with baking paper as the cake tends to stick (because of the No Egg), or alternatively make individual cakes using muffin/patty cake cases. Cook in 160°C oven for approximately 35 minutes (if 8" cake), watch for light golden colour, test with skewer. Once cooled dust cake with icing sugar. This cake will fall a little after cooking, but will still taste delicious. – thanks to Nicole


Birthday bombe

Bombes are desserts made of icecream or cream packed with biscuits, cake or meringue in a mound shape and decorated, perfect for special occasions.

3 pavlova magic eggs

600 ml cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

white marshmallows

decorations – ornaments, flowers etc

Mix the pavlova magic as per the instructions and make three pavlova bases (I did this as one each night before the party, the last one cooked being the base of the cake). On the day of the party break two of the bases into pieces and place on top of the chosen base, shaping into a mound. Whip the cream with the icing sugar until thick (we added cocoa - if amines are tolerated). Spread all over the mound of meringue and decorate with the meringues and ornaments (for kids) or flowers and a bow around the base for adults. – thanks to Jill

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


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© 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. With thanks to Nicole, Amy, Sue, Heather, Sonia, Susie and the many others who have contributed to this newsletter. You might have noticed a change in our acknowledgements policy. Due to the increasing ease of internet searches, we would prefer to err on the side of protecting privacy so your surname will not be used unless you specifically ask for that to appear. 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 (out of stock due to demand, try your local library), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate, and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books.