Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

January - March 2008

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.

To see this FAILSAFE Newsletter in colour on the web: FAILsaf55.html

The FAILSAFE Newsletter is available free by email. Just send your email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and join 5,229 network members.


Artificial colours should be banned in food and drink: MPs

Fully updated and revised “Fed Up” now available


Research: There has been no improvement in literacy and numeracy of Australian students; Chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pain and severe weight loss due to sorbitol (420) sugar free sweetener; Medieval diets were 'far more healthy' than the modern diet

In brief: Naming and shaming; NSAID-sensitivity; Nitrite poisoning; The nutritionist’s tale; Latest newsletter from SAFE; Have we learnt from history?

Targeting Antioxidant 320 in McDonalds fries

Readers' stories: [600] - [634]

Product updates: detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Mini meatloaves, Pear bread, Pear Roll-Ups / Fruit Leathers



Hello everyone


In an excellent start to the year, a UK parliamentary committee has recommended that artificial colours should be banned, and has shown a way to sideline food regulators, at least in the UK. It’s shameful that food regulators – backed by big business - have been able to ignore the effect of additives on children for so long. Meanwhile Australian researchers have blamed teachers for the decline in literacy and numeracy since the 1960s. We suggest they look first at school canteens. ‘For too many years, as a former high school teacher and Head of Department, I have watched kids become unteachable after morning tea - even worse after lunch’, wrote one teacher. See other reader comments in Talking Point. Also in this newsletter, some interesting questions, new talks schedule, more compelling reader reports, and handy new lunchbox recipes.


Happy failsafe eating! – Sue Dengate



Artificial colours should be banned in food and drink: MPs


All artificial colourings in food and soft drinks should be banned, according to a parliamentary committee in the UK. The associate parliamentary Food & Health Forum (FHF) – consisting of parliamentarians and outside experts such as nutritionists, doctors and the food industry –made the recommendations in its yearly report presented in January 2008.


The group recommended that the UK Food Standards Agency should be taking a tougher line on additives. The FSA’s current advice to ‘the parents of children showing signs of hyperactivity’ should be extended and all parents should be advised about the desirability of limiting their children’s consumption of artificial food additives, they said. They pointed out that some of the additives allowed in the EU are banned in the USA and parts of Scandinavia.


In the strongest statement yet by any group regarding food additives, the FHF concluded that under the Food Safety Act 1990, the Secretary of State has the power to restrict substances of no nutritive value and “regulations should be introduced to prohibit all artificial colours and non-essential preservatives in food products and soft drinks”.


Further reading: E-numbers should be banned in food and drink, say MPs by Sarah Boseley, Guardian p4, 31/1/08, http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jan/31/health.foodanddrink1 See pages 21-23 of the actual report at http://www.fhf.org.uk/meetings/inquiry2007/FHF_inquiry_report_diet_and_behaviour.pdf


Fully updated and revised “Fed Up” now available




‘I am finding the new edition of Fed Up extremely useful on a professional and a personal level. And inspirational too. The best of your books!! Well done, again.’ - reader, Melbourne


‘The chapter on salicylates is great, as this is the hardest area for so many, myself included, to get our heads around.’ – reader, country Vic

FED UP: Understanding how food affects your child and what you can do about it by Sue Dengate (Random House 2008) is now available in a fully-updated and revised edition in all Australian and NZ bookstores, see website for availability overseas.




There has been no improvement in literacy and numeracy of Australian students and grades may even have declined since the 1960s despite a huge increase in education spending, according to new research. Dr Chris Ryan from the Australian University says the fact there has been no improvement suggests the additional education spending in recent decades may have been misdirected. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/10/2158787.htm

Chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pain and severe weight loss due to sorbitol (420) sugar free sweetener. The January British Medical Journal reported two cases or sorbitol intolerance: a 21 year-old woman who chewed large amounts of sugar-free gum, giving an approximate daily dose of 18-20g sorbitol, and a 46 year-old man who consumed large amounts of sugar-free gum and sweets, giving an average daily dose of around 30g sorbitol. Both reported chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pain and severe weight loss. Normal bowel movements were resumed and the patients gained weight after starting a sorbitol-free diet. ‘As possible side effects are usually found only within the small print on foods containing sorbitol, consumers may be unaware of its laxative effects and fail to recognise a link with their gastrointestinal problems,’ the authors warned.

Bauditz J and others, Severe weight loss caused by chewing gum. BMJ. 2008 Jan 12;336(7635):96-7.

Medieval diets were 'far more healthy' than the modern diet according to research by UK GP Dr Roger Henderson. The average medieval peasant would have eaten two loaves of bread and 225 gm of meat or fish, the size of an average steak accompanied by liberal quantities of vegetables such as beans, turnips and parsnips and washed down with 3 pints of ale. There was little refined sugar in the diet. While they consumed up to 4000 calories per day compared to 2700 in the modern lifestyle, they burnt off calories in up to 12 hours labour per day compared to an average of 20 minutes per day now. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/7148534.stm.



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


Naming and shaming: in response to the FSA (UK Food Standard Agency)’s lack of action regarding the University of Southampton study above, the Food Commission has launched a new website listing products containing nasty additives, see www.actiononadditives.com.

NSAID-sensitivity. In the last issue we mentioned that most salicylate-sensitive people have cross sensitivity to Nurofen (ibuprofen) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen and diclofenac (see story [561]. As a result of our story, a surprising number of people have identified salicylate sensitivity as their problem, see below. A Polish study found more than 30% of severe asthmatics had salicylate intolerance, compared a far smaller proportion of those with mild asthma. Kupczyk M and others, Aspirin intolerance and allergy to house dust mites: important factors associated with development of severe asthma. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004;92(4):453-8.

Nitrite poisoning. Packets of Goldfish brand Nutre powder in Asian groceries contain an unlabelled white powder that turned out to be sodium nitrite (preservative 251) not flavour enhancer as assumed by some cooks. Five people were admitted to hospital with potentially fatal methaemoglobinaemia (symptoms: vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness and blue lips soon after eating large amounts) in Sydney in 2006. Although recalled, samples have been found on shelves. Sodium nitrite is normally used in small amounts in processed meats such as ham. Peter Maric and others, Methaemoglobinaemia following ingestion of a commonly available food additive MJA 2008; 188 (3): 156-158 http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/188_03_040208/mar11096_fm.pdf.

The nutritionist’s tale: Wondering why government and food regulators don’t protect consumers? Dr Luise Light’s inside story on working for the US Department of Agriculture explains how control of public information about nutrition and food additives has been handed over to the food industry: ‘In a soft voice he said, "I'm prepared to offer you $60,000 if you will agree to leave the words "diet and cancer" out of the Red Cross course you're developing”. I was stunned … What I learned as a government employee is that the government we trust to do the people's business is busy doing the business of business’http://www.rense.com/general78/educa.htm.

Latest newsletter from SAFE (Supporting Additive Free Eating), run by failsafers Kathleen and Jenny to assist schools http://www.additiveeducation.com.au/school-programs/

Have we learnt from history? You would wonder if you read Friedrich Accum’s (1769-1838) “A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons” full text available free at www.gutenberg.org/etext/19031: “But of all possible nefarious traffic and deception, practised by mercenary dealers, that of adulterating the articles intended for human food with ingredients deleterious to health, is the most criminal, and, in the mind of every honest man, must excite feelings of regret and disgust. Numerous facts are on record, of human food, contaminated with poisonous ingredients, having been vended to the public; and the annals of medicine record tragical events ensuing from the use of such food.”



Now targeting…Antioxidant 320 in McDonalds fries


Thank you to all those who take the time to email or phone food manufacturers. In our experience, an email from a consumer is a powerful tool for improving our food supply.

A reader wrote: ‘I was very surprised at what McDonalds are claiming for their chicken nuggets!! (McDonalds Food Tables for People Sensitive to Ingredients or Additives: https://mcdonalds.com.au/maccas-food/nutrition) - certainly not what my 5 year old daughter’s additive radar indicates.’

Unfortunately, those tables don’t include all additives. The full Ingredient listing https://mcdonalds.com.au/maccas-food/nutrition shows that nuggets contain 8 additives, all safe (thickener and salts). However, the fries are cooked in oil with antioxidant 320. The mother replied ‘it would never have occurred to me that the fries were more of a problem than the nuggets’. (Spice in the nuggets could be a problem for salicylate responders.)

You can email McDonalds (http://www.mcdonalds.com.au/ and click on Contact Us), e.g.:

My children are affected by antioxidants 310-312 and 319-321. I would be grateful if you could include those additives in the ‘McDonalds Food Tables for People Sensitive to Ingredients or Additives’ OR ‘My children are affected by antioxidants 310-312 and 319-321. It would make my children very happy if you could remove those additives from your Fries.’



Readers' stories


The writer of the following letter wins our award for persisting despite all the paid ‘experts’ being against her

[634] Silent reflux, gastro, extreme nappy rash – months of needless medication (February 2008) WINNER OF THE COURAGE AWARD

My 13 month-old son has had silent reflux (just weaned him off losec now), and yet still has bad gastro problems - excessive burping, difficulty swallowing/coordination with swallow and breathing, tummy aches (frequent back arching, screaming and night waking all the time). My paed has recommended an immunologist but reading your website it seems we need to do a diet approach for intolerances.

I have always been careful with my diet as I breastfed him avoiding foods that were known to cause wind. I even saw a dietitian out of desperation when he was a little babe - who took my money and told me breastmilk is not affected by what Mum eats. My instincts told me otherwise. I know that strawberries, tomatoes, stock, gravy (to some extent), sausages (two nights in a row), citrus, onion and ham produces bad painful gastro reactions in him. Yet despite avoiding these, our problems still continue. If we eat out, guaranteed he will have a bad night in the next 24 hrs and bad poos for days after. My son has never had a normal poo - even on breastmilk. Acid smell is very common, and it produces the worst nappy rash I've ever seen with skin completely gone and large patches of exposed sores.

Two weeks later …

In the two weeks since I first emailed you from sheer desperation, I almost cry every time I think about how my little son's severe gastro problems have so simply and easily disappeared……see the whole story  

[633] Severe eczema related to salicylates and fragrance (February 2008)

I posted very early on when this site first started with my son's story of very severe eczema (on the soles of his feet) which took three months to clear, and was related to salicylates. We started Failsafe though because of behavioural problems and had the added bonus of the eczema clearing up completely. He also reacts badly to heavy chemical fumes such as chlorine, ammonia etc (airborne salicylates).

Anyhow, recently he had a major behavioural reaction, I was absolutely sure it was not food related. He was attending Vacation Care at the time. Recently he came home and just happened to mention that one of the ladies had sprayed something on the table he was sitting at, and when he asked what it was, was told ‘Don't worry Chris, it won't kill you’ (grrrr from me - what if he had been asthmatic?). Anyhow I decided to investigate this, as I could find no food reason for the deterioration of his behaviour.

Turned out that they had been spraying Dettol (or something that smells very similar) on the lunch tables, and regularly spraying air fresheners. (I have since talked to them and they now make sure he is nowhere near when they are spraying stuff around, and he has been fine since).

Anyway, that was the same time he started complaining that his feet were sore - I checked and there was eczema on the soles of his feet again (first time in two years of being Failsafe). Just thought this might be helpful to some out there! It can be more than food! – Jenny, NT

See also

[632] Affected by fragrances – 4 reports (February 2008) 

[631] ‘Incurable and medication resistant depression’ due to milk (February 2008)

I have had depression since a late teen, which got worse with each of my pregnancies, to the point where after my youngest was born I was told by a leading post-natal depression psychiatrist that my depression was incurable and medication resistant. He said I would require weekly ECT (shock-therapy) treatments in order to lead a normal life. I said no… see the whole story 

See also [630] ‘Depression - no need for Beyond Blue due to diet’ (February 2008)

[629] ‘Severe and unpredictable asthma’ due to sulphites (February 2008)

Our food journey started with me picking up your Fed Up with Asthma book from the bookstore after our three year-old had just experienced a bout of wheezing. I read it all in one sitting and was left both horrified and hopeful. We decided that since we had nothing to lose that we would try the diet as a family… see the whole story 

See also [628] Asthma, eczema and frequent colds cleared up by avoiding additives (February 2008)

[627] Asthmatic reaction to grapes (February 2008)

[626] Asthma in an adult from Nurofen (February 2008)

[625] Anxiety attack in an adult from Nurofen (February 2008)

My husband has had a serious tooth ache on the weekend. He has taking Panadol and needed more relief, so I gave him some Nurofen. Well, within 5-10 minutes, he was irrational and aggressive…. see the whole story 

See also [624] Irritable bowel reactions to Nurofen and salicylates in food (February 2008)

[623] ‘Cheaper is not better - effects of coloured ibuprofen (February 2008)

[622] Amazing change in my child due to A2 milk (February 2008)

My 10 yr-old disabled daughter was on neocate advance which she didn't tolerate and I was told she was past the hospital’s expertise so they didn't know what to do with her. She was getting sick, looked shocking and her behaviour was very hard to manage (especially as mentally she is about two-year-old) so I gave her ricemilk instead of neocate advance. After four days I realized she wasn't tolerating ricemilk. So in desperation I tried A2 milk after seeing what it did for a friend’s son - his behaviour improved dramatically, he stopped screaming, his ear infections stopped and he started to talk.

My daughter has been on A2 milk for a week now (due to underweight issues she is tube fed over a litre a day) and she looks heaps healthier. Since commencing A2 milk the diarrhoea has stopped and nappies are becoming more solid, no vomiting, rashes are gone, wheezing gone and she is wanting her tube feeds - and more - plus solids, usually we have big problems getting her to eat orally. In a week she has gone from 18.2 to 19.4kg (400g being in the last 2 days) that's the best weight gain she has ever had. Her behaviour is wonderful. She is so calm and she has started to talk (she was non verbal before). She even sat with her baby sister for an hour and actually played with the baby’s toy with her. That's amazing as usually she hasn't got a very good concentration span - one minute if you’re lucky is all I've managed out of her - and she doesn't play, never has done - so her changes are amazing and very strange as she doesn't tolerate cows milk so I don't understand do you have any idea … – Catherine, Vic [For research about the effect of a peptide called BCM7 in A1 cows milk on neurological symptoms, see the book Devil in the Milk: illness, health and politics, A1 and A2 milk, by Keith Woodford, 2007. High levels of BCM7 have been found in an elemental infant formula but we don’t know about Neocate – it is usually but not always well tolerated.]

[621] 319: Four weeks of hell from unlisted 319 (TBHQ) in gf bread (February 2008)

Our six-year-old son is intolerant to many preservatives, colours, flavours, gluten, dairy and food chemicals. Unless we control what we feed him on his very restricted diet, he reacts behaviourally and cannot learn at school or go forward in his treatment by his paediatrician.

In early 2007, we started giving our son a gluten free bread mix which states on the packet, ‘preservative free’. We had reason to trust this product because it was listed on the ‘safe shopping guide’ issued by the Australian Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, supplied by our dietitian.

This product was wonderful with it being so versatile in producing pancakes, bread, crumpets, wraps and pizza bases all from this one mix. Our son was able to enjoy more variety without feeling deprived. Once I increased the dose of this product for our son, i.e. pancakes for breakfast, French toast for lunch and a wrap for after school, within a day he displayed explosive behaviour and was unreasonable.

We did not suspect foods as it was listed as safe and the company was a reputable company.

We rang our paediatrician who advised us to cut down on his supplement. After a week there was no change, even at school our son’s teacher was noticing a big difference in behaviour and learning. The paediatrician advised a blood test, another week passed for the results which in turn came back within normal range. Only then did we suspect foods. The Food Intolerance Network always advises their members to check products containing fats or oils for hidden synthetic antioxidants. I rang our supermarket to double check if there were any changes in their sunflower oil that we use, and they advised there were none. I then rang the bread company and spoke to their Quality Operations Officer. I asked if there were any synthetic antioxidants in their product in question, he said he was pretty sure there wasn’t. We insisted that he double check because we were at wits’ end and we were ready to have our son’s head scanned because he was so aggressive and erratic in his behaviour. The man rang back in shock and was very apologetic, because the oil which was supposed to be ‘pure canola oil’ as stated on the ingredients list, in fact had synthetic antioxidant 319 in it.

We were relieved but angry, our son was put through four weeks of hell, not to mention us as well, because he could not control what he was doing, and it took well over a week for the affects to wear off. We had our good boy back and he even said, ‘Mummy please don’t give me bad food any more’!

When our son has had foods with hidden synthetic antioxidants in them, we consider the reaction our son displayed as life threatening, for example, when our son becomes enraged with fury, usually over something trivial, he has run out onto the road. Another time when I was driving down the mountain on hair pin bend roads, enraged, our son got hold of my hood on my jacket and was pulling on it while I was doing my best to manoeuvre the car down the road without hitting the guard rails and going over the cliff. We believe that these antioxidants should at all times appear on the label. – by email, NSW [Thanks to this mother and the helpful people at Laucke’s, their gluten-free bread is now free of nasty antioxidants]

[620] Impaired speech and drool due to food intolerance (February 2008)

[619] Mouth ulcers – flavoured chips (February 2008)

[618] Mouth ulcers - salicylates (February 2008)

[617] Nearly crazy with fatigue and confusion –baby’s insomnia (February 2008)

Since birth, my son Noah had trouble with sleep it didn’t matter what I did or what time of day or night it was, it would always take him at least 2 hours to get to sleep, and then if I put him down in his cot, he would wake 10 minutes later screaming… see the whole story 

See also [616] Getting to sleep was a major problem - additives (February 2008)

[615] A salicylate-sensitive 15 year-old (February 2008)

I have to thank you for your support and time around 12 years ago with our daughter who is ntolerant to salicylates…. see the whole story

[614] Vomiting and hives due to severe amine sensitivity (February 2008)

[613] ‘Normal child’ with bruises, growing pains, headaches (February 2008)

[612] Recurrent stress fractures in shins (February 2008)

[611] 160b: Migraine, headbanging and violence from annatto 160b (February 2008)

[610] Severe reaction to a chromium supplement with unlisted benzoate (February 2008)

[609] 621: MSG and inability to remember (February 2008)

[608] The changes to our food in 17 years (February 2008)

[607] ‘Do you know what McDonald’s is, mate?’ (February 2008)

[606] One liners (February 2008)

Keep up the absolutely fantastic work, you will be vindicated and become a mythical hero in the future (she-who-fought-the-beast-before-we-even-knew-it-was-there) ;-) – Roman, by email

My friend’s son who had suffered for years with fierce rashes on his body is now completely free of sores. I am totally in awe of your program, you are saving many children from a life of misery. – by email

Attention to preservatives and colours, particularly in sweets, like Neapolitan ice cream, jelly and flavoured milk has resolved my son’s bedwetting problem. – reader, NSW

The diet really isn't as bad as we first thought, now we know how much it helps. I've just come home from carols by candlelight at my new school, it was brilliant, but you should have seen all the red ‘Christmas’ food they were selling - I hate to think what the kids will be like tomorrow. Most of them were misbehaved and cranky on Friday. We weren't though. – Anita, aged 10.

We have managed our daughter's salicylate and amine sensitivity with failsafe eating for almost seven years now and are happy to report that her problems with salicylates are now much reduced, although amines are still a problem for her. (They tend to give her stomach pains and mood swings). She is now able to concentrate at school and has a circle of friends. We would like to thank you for your work and we are pleased that we never had to resort to medication for a girl who could easily have been diagnosed as ADHD. – Gabrielle, Vic

We have been eating failsafe for nearly a year now. Our daughter is both amine and salicylate sensitive. Although we don’t always have things perfectly controlled, our lives are infinitely better. The improvements we have seen has meant my daughter and I could salvage our relationship which I had feared was being permanently, irreparably damaged. We now see the loving, compliant, creative, intelligent person that was trapped for so long. - Sally, by email

The paediatrician gave me your web address and I am so grateful. We have six children and I am amazed at the difference in all of them in the three weeks that we have been doing the failsafe booklet - I have even helped my husband and myself and my baby with problems I have no idea were food related. I borrowed Fed Up with ADHD from the library. It is like reading about my own children. - Sue, Qld

I cannot thank you enough for helping me and my family with our food-related illnesses. I feel like I finally understand the roller coaster that I have been on since a terrible case of food poisoning in 2000. Your book The Failsafe Cookbook is helping all of us be a happier and healthier family. My 2 year old is finally sleeping through the night and my husband is elated to have me ‘back to normal.’ Carolyn, NZ

[605] Joint pain from intolerance to soy (February 2008)

I am soy intolerant. More specifically I suffer from a legume intolerance which is only now apparent after 13 years of suffering and frustration… see the whole story

[604] 'Awful joint pains' from salicylates in 'loads of fruit and veg' (February 2008)

[603] Arthritis started after a car accident (February 2008)

[602] Aching joints began during pregnancy (February 2008)

[601] Bernard's arthritis story (February 2008)

The most remarkable story comes from Bernard in Wollongong. Now active and virtually arthritis-free, Bernard suffered from painful and crippling arthritis for nearly 30 years. In 1994, he was told that if his arthritis was not controlled by daily use of medication… see the whole story

[600] Arthritis one-liners (February 2008)


Product updates


**** WARNING White Rabbit sweets from China (previously recommended on our website) have been banned from schools in the Philippines due to the presence of formaldehyde - a known carcinogen. Obviously these should be avoided. White Rabbit sweets are sold in Australia in Chinese grocery stores, imported by Vihenthi Co P/L of 19 Boag Pl, Morley WA 6062.

**** WARNING ‘Natural’ food - homemade banana and mango smoothies can be suitable for failsafers who tolerate limited moderate amounts of amines or salicylates. However, we checked the ingredients of a mango smoothie at a ‘natural’ food court outlet and found it contained two artificial colours and sodium benzoate 211. If you can’t see bananas or mangoes going into drinks, ask before you buy. If they won’t tell you, let us know.

A2 milk in Perth: anyone who would be interested in buying A2 milk in Perth, please email milk producer Robert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register your interest - indicate the quantity you might be interested in and how often you would buy it. (We buy 2 cartons - 24 litres - at a time and keep it in an old freezer in the garage.)

Brown sugar and golden syrup – a number of failsafers have reported that brown sugar and golden syrup can cause problems. Unless the diet is working well for you, we recommend sticking to white sugar and pure maple syrup except for special occasions. Thanks to Olivia

Flaxseed oil is the best of the omega supplements for failsafers but contains small amounts of salicylates and amines. We welcome reader feedback. “We recently introduced Melrose flaxseed oil which appears to have helped our son in the attention span/concentration area. We were told to give 5ml per day, however I have only been giving him approx 3 - 3.5 ml - I did bump it up to 5ml and we started to see some problems so dropped it back and he's been good.” Thanks to Linda

Gluten-free oats in the US and Canada: Cream Hill oats - guaranteed gluten free, see the website for a store locator http://creamhillestates.com/en_home.php

Citric acid is available cheaply online for failsafers in countries where it is difficult to find: http://www.iherb.com/search?kw=citric+acid#p=1

Butcher in Flemington Melbourne VIC: ‘Our butcher has been making up failsafe sausages for us for the past couple of years now and is now happy to make them up for other people as well, provided they are frozen immediately. Normally we give him the dry ingredients for 10kilos and he makes them up within a few days: Newmarket Quality Meats (Flemington), 308 Racecourse Road, Newmarket Vic (talk to Tony)’ – thanks to Gabrielle

Butcher in Devonport TAS: ‘Bob Morris Butchers, in East Devonport, Tas do failsafe sausages to your requirements, in 5 kgs lots’. – thanks to Cathryn

Preservative-free ham and bacon – salt is used as the preservative - obviously these are not OK for the strict elimination diet or for people who react to amines: Eumundi Smokehouse Sydney, 402 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, 9569 0205, available in health food stores – thanks to Tanya

Preservative-free wines For an online retailer selling about 40 brands of no added preservative wines (although of course they still contain salicylates and amines to which many react): http://www.organicwine.com.au/WineList.aspx?NID=29&att=4

Potato chips (crisps) feedback “Just want to comment on the potato chips issue. I am sulfite, dairy, wheat and oat intolerant. I find Kettle sea salt chips are fine. I have no noticeable reaction to them. Smiths original crisps make my face itchy and tingly and give me a headache” – thanks to Sascha

D.A.R.E. (Delicious and Responsible Eating) is a friendly additive-free, gluten-free café in The Rocks, Sydney. Helpful owner Lee Freeman will prepare failsafe food with advance warning and we are intending to working on some failsafe menu items: Shop 22, The Rocks Centre, Playfair Street (just across from Lowenbrau Keller on the corner with Argyle St) http://www.menulog.com.au/dare



Your questions

Q. I bought green grapes two weeks straight – they were so cheap and I haven’t bought them since last year. My son loved them but for those two weeks he was screaming and hitting me and going crazy until I put it together - behaviour + grapes. I was talking to another friend and she said her daughter was reacting the same way. We took the grapes away and both the kids calmed down within a couple of days. There was a warning at the supermarket about sulphur dioxide next to the price sign on the grapes. Is this a common phenomenon?

A. Since the ‘salad bar’ asthmatic deaths in the 1970s due to overuse of sulphur dioxide on lettuce, sulphur dioxide has been banned on fresh fruit and vegetables except for grapes. These days they use sulphur dioxide generator pads instead of sprays. However, growers are warned that high temperatures can cause excessive sulphur dioxide in the grapes. January was the hottest month ever in Australia so sulphur dioxide level could have been very high. Sulphur dioxide (220-228) can cause asthma, behaviour problems, eczema, irritable bowel and other symptoms. Another reader has reported feeling asthmatic since buying similarly labelled grapes. Another possibility would be behavioural disturbance due to high natural levels of salicylates, amines and glutamate in grapes (and sultanas). The more children eat, the more likely they are to be affected.

Q. Would removing the crusts on bread get rid of the preservative?

A. In Australia, preservative 282 is baked into the bread and removing the crusts will make no difference. In the UK, according to a recent article by Ian Tokelove of the Food Commission, the freshly baked loaf of bread is given ‘a light coating of preservative - usually calcium propionate or E282’ (http://www.foodcomm.org.uk). In that case, it is possible that removing crusts from bread could remove preservative E282. However, I would want to know for sure that all bakers used this system, and that cutting off crusts would remove all the preservative before I would rely on it. Any UK failsafers like to comment? (reply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with newsletter reply in the subject line)

Q. Can you tell me is bocconcini cheese failsafe? I assumed it was since it is a fresh white cheese.

A. White cheeses such as cottage cheese or ricotta are low in amines and failsafe as long as they are recently made and preservative-free. Bocconcini are small, mild, white, young mozzarella cheeses kept moist by storage in natural whey or brine. Fresh bocconcini are probably failsafe but if kept will develop amines.

Q. We have benefited greatly from failsafe eating. However we are in a newly renovated house and although my son is on the full elimination diet, his behaviour which we discovered to be due to food has now returned to pre-diet due to the effects of paint smells etc. Any suggestions?

A. The best way to deal with new renovation smells is to ventilate - leave all the doors and windows wide open as much as possible and run fans. If there are any smelly removable items such as mattresses or new furniture, you can put them on a verandah or leave them in the garage to gas off. Some people have dealt with this problem successfully by getting their kids to sleep in a tent in the back yard. Or could you stay with someone else for a month or two until the worst of it is over. Formaldehyde (a common VOC in renovations) is a carcinogen so it's not something you want to be exposed to anyway.

Q. My son aged 12 months is allergic to soy. Do you know the number codes for soy derived emulsifiers etc?

A. From a reader who is sensitive to both soy and legumes: “As well as 322 (lecithin) I also avoid additives 476,471,492 (emulsifiers), vegetable gums 410,412,415,416,461 (not all soy but derivatives of various beans), vegetable gums & vegetable protein, TVP (textured vegetable protein) and vegetable starch (even if they do not specifically state soy, I don't take the chance). Soya beans, soya meal, soy flour (very common in breads and cakes), soya sauce, miso, tofu and chickpeas. In fact quite a lot of 'health foods' are grossly unhealthy for me. Packaged health foods nearly always contain a soy additive.” See more details in story [314] “13 years of intolerance to soy” (April 2004).

Q. It is easier for me to buy goats’ milk than A2 milk. Is it the same?

A. Goats milk contains the same A2 beta casein protein as A2 cow’s milk, but it has a different nutritional profile. Babies who have goat’s milk may need extra supplements including Vitamin D and Folic Acid. Your dietitian can advise about this.


Around the groups: getting in touch


Talking point responses – school canteens

In our last issue, a mother wrote: 'I work in our school canteen and just shake my head when I see what we are selling! Unfortunately the new healthy guidelines have really only meant labelling a few things low fat and cutting out lollies. Everything else is laden with artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and MSG. I cringe when I see kids with behaviour issues spending $$$ every day.' - reader, Vic

This topic received a wide range of replies showing that the link between foods and behaviour is obvious to mothers and teachers, athough evidently not to FOCiS Inc (previously known as the Federation of Canteens in Schools, http://www.focis.com.au/). See reader replies below.

‘watched kids become unteachable

For too many years, as a former high school teacher and Head of Department I have watched kids become unteachable after morning tea even worse after lunch. - teacher, Qld.


These items should not be available to children

A ‘lunch box approved’ hamper has two items - pop tops and fruit sticks - that I know contain 211 and others (211 sodium benzoate is the main one my son reacts to). They are approved by FOCiS (previously the Federation of Canteens in Schools). These items are misleading and should not be available to children. - by email

How to avoid problem foods at canteens (... don't eat them!)

To avoid the problem foods we face at the school canteen I have made failsafe sausage rolls, cake (a different recipe from what we have at home)and have supplied the canteen with Paddle pop lemonade iceblocks (they weren't able to purchase them because of the "healthy" canteen rules). We have them all labelled in the freezer. My children are able to participate in the important part of school culture of lunch orders and not feel left out. - Trudi, by email

See all replies

New talking point - airfresheners

Catherine (her ‘amazing change’ story is told in Reader Stories) asks: Do you have any idea how to deal with a school that uses lots of airfresheners as my daughter reacts to those and now that I have finally got her calm I don't want her to start wheezing again and bouncing off the walls as when she reacts her behaviour is very difficult to handle.

Can you help?

‘I know I am sensitive to preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide), but a few months ago I ate a slice of fruit cake (which I love). As soon as I ate it, my throat felt as if it went down the "wrong" hole and my throat seemed to close a bit. I ended up with a sore throat, cold like symptoms; runny eyes, blocked nose and sinuses, persistent cough, mucus and my ears kept blocking. Oh my face broke out too. This lasted for a week. Recently, I ate a fruit mince pie. The first one tasted great so the next day I had to have another one. Now I am suffering. I have the same symptoms as above and it's been nearly a week. I said to my hubby it was a reaction from 220 but (being the expert he is) won't believe me. I've scanned the internet to see if it's common - to prove a point - but with no luck. Does anyone else have a reaction like this to 220?’ Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


There are now over 90 support contacts in 47 locations in Australia, and in New Zealand and 10 overseas countries - see website.


We 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.



Thursday, 21 February at 6.30pm - An evening with Sue Dengate at Muffledux bookstore in Sydney. This event is free but booking essential: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ph (02) 9664 9644, 211 Clovelly Road, Clovelly, NSW

Sue Dengate will be talking in Australia as shown below, and in New Zealand in August-September. Please check website for details and possibly other talks within these tours, which will be the only ones in 2008.




Port Macquarie NSW Mon 12 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Wagga Wagga NSW Wed 14 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Devonport TAS Mon 19 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Launceston TAS Tue 20 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Frankston VIC Mon 26 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Mornington VIC Tue 27 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Warrnambool VIC Wed 28 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Ballarat VIC Thu 29 May: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Mt Gambier SA Mon 2 June: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Mildura VIC Tue 3 June: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Woy Woy NSW Thu 5 June: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Castle Hill, Sydney NSW Fri 6 June: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Brisbane QLD Wed 11 June: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


Maclean NSW Thu 12 June: Sue Dengate “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour”. Details to be advised.


New factsheet

Joint pain, arthritis and diet http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/arthritis-joint-pain-and-diet


NOW AVAILABLE in Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Nepali and USA. See website.

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 $A0.26 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



* instead of peanut butter you can use chickpea butter made from steamed chickpea power, brown sugar, water, salt and canola oil, recipe by Fiona Carter and steamed chick pea powder from www.designerphysique.com.au

* rolled oats good value for money: a Canadian ‘Porridge for Parkinsons’ party fed 200 people on $10.81 worth of steel cut oats, http://www.porridgeforparkinsons.com/recipes.html

* The real cost of an item is your net hourly rate after taxes and minus expenses such as childcare. Using this value, a Simple Savings member calculated that she would have to work for three hours to pay for a takeaway meal. ‘My husband loves KFC but I am no longer an easy pushover’ she wrote. Thanks to www.simplesavings.com.au


Mini meatloaves

Great for lunchboxes


500 g lean beef or lamb mince

1 cup rolled oats, gluten-free if necessary

1½ cup mixed vegetables such as sliced leek, celery, grated choko, grated swede (especially good with lamb), green beans, mashed kidney beans or other cooked beans, lentils or chickpeas, pears, green peas if tolerated (glutamates), grated carrot if tolerated (salicylates)

1 egg, lightly beaten

salt to taste


Preheat oven to 190°C. Using wet hands, combine ingredients thoroughly, shape into balls and place in a lightly oiled or silicon muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes in a 12 muffin tray (40 minutes for 6 muffins) and check it is cooked through. Serve with mashed potatoes, lettuce or other green vegetables and pear chutney. You can use leftovers for lunchboxes: wrap individually in foil, seal in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month - thanks to Caroline.


Pear bread

In Australia, this is the best time of year to buy fresh ripe pears (late summer through autumn) for eating and cooking.


3 cups plain flour, gluten-free works well too

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

1 tsp salt to taste

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups white sugar

2 cups peeled mashed pears (about 4 medium pears)


Preheat oven to 165°C. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, sugar and pears. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in liquid, mix well. Spoon batter into two greased and floured 8x5x3 inch loaf pans. Bake for 75-90 minutes, testing it’s done. Cool on wire rack before removing from the loaf pans. Great toasted in a sandwich press and served with butter! – thanks to Tamara.


Pear Roll-Ups / Fruit Leathers

This recipe results in roll-ups that taste remarkably like the commercial versions. Remember that during your strict elimination diet you are limited to 2 fresh ripe peeled pears - or equivalent - per day.


6-12 medium ripe pears, peeled and quartered

½ tsp ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to reduce browning (optional)


Preheat oven to 75-100°C and line one baking tray with baking paper for every 6 pears. Puree pears and Vitamin C with blender, spread smoothly and evenly on the trays, smoothing with a spatula. Dry in oven for about 4 hours, cool and cut up with scissors or knife. Store in container, separate sheets with baking paper. They can also be stored in the fridge or freezer! – thanks to Monica from the Forster NSW group


The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every three months, and also see it in colour with graphics on www.fedup.com.au. Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter

Unsubscribe by sending a blank message to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to Kathleen and Jenny R of Additive Education, Julie Eady of Additive Alert, Jenny H, Tanya, Robin, Alison, Tina and the many others mentioned above who have helped with this newsletter. Due to the increasing power of the internet, in an effort to protect privacy we have introduced a policy of avoiding surnames and are removing them from our website unless specifically requested. We still appreciate hearing from you!!! Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up and and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, (Murdoch Books).