Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

January – March 2009


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: FAILsaf59.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.


We are the majority


Research: Aussie kids most at risk from artificial colours 123 and 155 says new survey

In brief: What was that number again?, Peanut recall, Painkiller warning, Diet causes pimples, Fabric softeners are not permitted on a low salicylate diet, Vitamin enriched water, Diet and Cancer, Pet food, An organic school canteen, Register of food safety offences, The Kids First Campaign

Readers' stories: [710] - [723]

Product updates: detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Hints: Failsafe breadcrumbs, Quick Carob spread; Mayonnaise Chicken Drumsticks, Creamed rice



Hello everyone


I’ve spent the summer reading food labels and feel as if Australian food is currently awash with artificial colours (see the list of 877 products so far at http://fedup.com.au/information/fin-campaigns/colours 


The report from our regulators about food colour consumption in Research below is particularly horrifying. However, the good news is that the majority of consumers are equally concerned (see main article) and manufacturers are rushing to remove additives – ‘another win!’ wrote one failsafer about natural colours in Smarties - and see Product Updates for some exciting new products. If you don’t know about hydroxybenzoates (214-219), see the Q&A section. Also in this issue, more enthralling reader reports and delicious recipes.


Sadly, dietitian Carolyn O’Gorman of the Plenty Valley Community Health Service was among those who lost their lives in the Victorian bushfires. (http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-family-of-high-achievers-20090210-83kk.html?page=-1) Carolyn had helped many failsafers. Thanks to all who sent messages of support.


Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate



We are the majority


A recent survey of over 100,000 consumers by Meat & Livestock Australia (The Real Food Trend, MLA December 2008) shows our concerns about food additives are not the minority view that regulators would have us believe. Look at what people are actually doing:


· making a real effort to avoid foods that contain preservatives, artificial colours and flavours 78%

· worried about the mental health and behavioural effects of food chemicals on children 87%

· concerned that food authorities are not doing enough to regulate what food manufacturers can and can’t put in the foods 73%

· don’t always trust the claims food manufacturers put on their labels 79%.


This should be all the evidence needed for a change in how consumers and their views are represented by our food regulators and the food industry!


Contrast this with the January 2008 study of overall confidence in the food supply by our food regulators FSANZ, based on responses from 1,200 Australian and 800 New Zealand consumers. This study showed that many Australians had food concerns in their households, such as 30% with asthma, 20% with migraines, 19% with digestive concerns (coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome) and 18% with allergy (seafood, fish, milk, gluten, eggs, or soybeans). But our regulators then carefully avoided asking questions that might challenge the food industry.


Read the full text and more comments on these studies at http://fedup.com.au/information/fin-campaigns/consumer-surveys


You can buy Sue’s books and DVD individually or as “the set” (Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook & the DVD Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour) at very competitive prices through www.fedup.com.au.





Aussie kids most at risk from artificial colours 123 and 155 says new survey


The two artificial colours most consumed by Australian kids are both banned in the United States. According to the Colour Survey released on 11th December 2008 by food regulator FSANZ, the artificial colours most consumed by children under 12 in Australia are Amaranth (colour 123) and Brown HT (colour 155). Amaranth was banned in the US in 1976 as a suspected carcinogen and Brown HT is also banned in the United States as well as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. In third place was Sunset Yellow (110), one of the so-called Southampton Six artificial colours recently banned in the UK and subject of a warning label in the EU.


These colours are synthetic coal tar dyes and azo dyes that have been linked to behavioural and learning problems in children. The highest concentrations of artificial colours were found in savoury snack foods, ice cream/ice confectionery blocks/sticks, confectionery and cakes/muffins/pies. The highest dose of any food colour was a whopping 7000 mg/kg of Brown HT in an instant chocolate pudding mix, an amount over 24 times the Australian maximum permitted level of 290 mg/kg and nearly 46 times the international maximum permitted level of 150 mg/kg. More at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/surveillance/pages/supplementaryfoodcol5571.aspx.



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


What was that number again? “I would always get into the supermarket and read labels and end up confused – was it 160a or 160b that was OK? And then I would have to dig my trusty “additives” card out of my wallet. Sick of the constant searching and sick of my shocking memory for something so seemingly simple, a couple of years ago (we have been failsafe for 8+ years now) I came up with the following mnemonic:


160a is “All right” - 160b is “Bad”.


Since I came up with this we have not had any problems. And it is simple enough that my now 10yr-old daughter, who is starting to label read for herself, remembers it too! – thanks Lisa.


Peanut recall: A salmonella outbreak in the United States that has killed nine people and sickened over 600 has resulted in the largest product recall in American history. Nearly 2500 products have been recalled and some have made it to Australia. If you eat peanuts (not failsafe), see http://www.foodstandards.gov.au.


Painkiller warning: The over-the-counter painkiller Ibuprofen (Nurofen) and other NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - are not suitable for a low salicylate diet. As well, doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne have warned parents to use Nurofen as a last resort for their children, after a study found severe side effects including kidney damage, vomiting blood and the worsening of asthma. A separate study found ibuprofen increased the risk of heart attack in adults by 24 per cent. ... ‘Our first recommendation would be paracetamol …’ the researchers said, http://www.abc.net.au.


Diet causes pimples: About 90 per cent of adolescents suffer from acne in Western countries but teenagers in non-industrial societies aren’t affected until they start eating western foods. Researchers from RMIT University asked 50 teenage boys to consume a typical teen diet of processed foods, or a more natural diet with low-GI foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and legumes. In just 12 weeks, the acne of the boys on the higher protein-low GI diet improved by more than 50 per cent. http://www.rmit.edu.au.


Fabric softeners are not permitted on a low salicylate diet: See ‘Behind the label: Comfort Fabric Softener’ for ingredients that can cause CNS (central nervous system) disruption, skin and respiratory irritation, headaches and other symptoms. And yes, the fragrance really is designed to linger for weeks. See http://www.theecologist.org. An alternative to fabric softeners: add half a cup of soda bicarb to the wash cycle and half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle for your sheets and towels – thanks to Barbara


Vitamin enriched water: If you think water with added vitamins is good for you – some people must, it’s a market worth $100 million a year - read this article about ‘lolly water masquerading as a health drink’ http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/food-body-throws-regulation-out-with-the-lolly-water/2009/01/23/1232471591596.html.


Diet and Cancer: Dr David Servan–Schreiber was running scans for his Ph.D. research when he discovered a malignant tumour in his own brain. His NY Times bestselling book Anticancer: A New Way of Life is reassuring for failsafers as the top anticancer foods are what we eat every day: garlic, leeks, scallions (aka shallots), Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Many other failsafe items and practices are also recommended including lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, mung beans, soybeans, canola oil; avoidance of sweetened drinks, perfumes, perfumed products, parabens and household cleaners. http://www.anticancerways.com/.


Pet food: The ABC investigates claims by vets and pet owners that dogs and cats are being poisoned by imported contaminated pet food - ‘When you go into a supermarket and buy pet food you don't really know what you're getting; the manufacturers are self regulated. Now, there is a list of ingredients but you don't know where those ingredients come from and you don't also know if the food has been irradiated because they don't have to put that on the label’, http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2008/s2464272.htm.


An organic school canteen: a documentary about a school canteen that goes organic is taking France by storm. It's called Our children will accuse us (Nos enfants nous accuseront) and you can see the trailer here: http://nosenfantsnousaccuseront-lefilm.com (with English subtitles).


Register of food safety offences: the NSW Food Authority now has a public register of food companies and restaurants that have been prosecuted for mainly microbiological offences, nothing about labeling or inadequate testing of additives yet - http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/news/offences/#.Vi7OVGQrJhA


The Kids First Campaign would like to see Australian children better protected. More than 15,000 people have signed the online petition at www.additivealert.com.au - spread the word to your friends and email networks!



Readers' stories


All stories from Food Intolerance Network members published since February 1999 are available here http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories. Here are some of the current stories:

[723] One-liners (February 2009)

Your book and your website have saved us the agony of months (perhaps years) of trial and error. Our beautiful 8-year-old is back to normal after a year in the wilderness where we wondered if she was depressed, had an eating disorder or a mood disorder. I am certain that you have heard this story a hundred times over. – by email, Qld

I react to salicylates with pain in my joints, also I get very tender, raw skin in my genital area and intercourse becomes very painful. I saw you mention sore vagina in children - makes me happy to know I'm not the only one - I have always felt like a freak - so thank you for your books - they have helped me tremendously! - by email

My partner is pregnant at the moment, and we worked out that what gives her morning sickness is foods high in amines. It’s amazing hey, how at important times (or when very little) our bodies are capable of sending us clear signals that say "This is poison. No more please"... it's even more amazing that people seem so unbelievably blind to these signals.- By email (we would like to hear from anyone else who has seen a link between food intolerance and morning sickness: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Our allergist said there are billions of dust mites living in the mattress and vacuuming it is like ‘taking a bucket of water out of the sea’. I highly recommend the Allergend all cotton anti-dust mite mattress, pillow and doona covers. Using these helped my four kids a lot.' - Heidi from the failsafe eczema group

I recently saw the dietitian who entered my son’s typical daily diet into a computer program - it turned out that he is getting very adequate nutrients in his diet except for calcium which was quite low. However, he is now enjoying rice milk and I add calcium powder to milkshakes so I am not concerned about his nutrition. – Louise, Qld

"I have been living with Sue's Failsafe Cookbook for the last 18 months and it has changed my two-and-half -year-old's happiness in his daily life. His eczema on his face, arms and legs went a few days after stopping salicylate and amine laden foods. I stumbled on the book by accident in my shopping centre as I was on the look out for anything that could help with my son's symptoms. Thanks to both of you for your work" - Jane by email.

Our children have been failsafe (with a few slip ups) since Jan 2008. To make it brief, remarkable change, still work to be done a few mistakes still being made by me however. An example of change, our pediatric neurologist doesn't feel the need to medicate our son as previously thought and doesn't need to see him anymore due to your diet. He congratulated us on our efforts and to my shock he said 'make sure I look at his amines and wheat!' - Leesha, Qld by email.

[722]: “By god she is a ratty child!” (February 2009) [COURAGE AWARD]

My step-sister is 3 years old, and by god she is a ratty child! Her language skills are very under-developed for someone her age, and she very rarely does what she is told. She is extremely loud and boisterous, cannot sit still or quietly, is very destructive, swears, yells, screams, and cannot play nicely with other children as she is very rough. A clean room can quite easily become a disaster zone within minutes. We have given up cleaning her room, as she pulls clothes and toys out as soon as we have finished. She is also up to 10-11 o’clock at night.

She often dances and sings and often makes references to people's private parts as well as other embarrassing things, and we have cause to believe that these actions are done for attention (even though it is the wrong kind of attention).

I have cause to believe that food additives have a strong part to play in this due to her lax diet. She is spoilt and gets what she wants, from chips, lollies, chocolates, ice creams, and soft drinks. She has quite a lot of milos everyday, I once counted 4 in one morning! If she is not drinking milo, she is having soft drink, cordial or juice. She very rarely eats any un-processed foods or drinks any water.

Our dinner times are healthy, generally consisting of vegetables, a salad and some source of meat, or sometimes spaghetti bolognaise. She refuses to eat any of it, and shortly after dinner demands some kind of snack-type food.

My mother is finding her daughter’s behaviour extremely unbearable, even becoming embarrassed to take her out in public. My mum’s struggle to keep her sanity has increased since recently giving birth, making it extremely difficult to look after the baby and put up with my sister.

I need your advice to convince my parents that my sister’s diet is not ok, and drastic changes are needed. – by email from a teenager who wins a copy of our DVD Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour. Here’s hoping it will help with the family situation.

[721] Her staple snack foods have artificial colours banned in the UK (February 2009)

Most of the time my 5-year-old daughter is a nice sweet girl but then sometimes this monster will emerge. When she is in one of these moods she will start grinding her teeth and make monkey type noises and get frustrated very quickly especially with her little brother who has to put up with a lot of punching and intimidation. We get an amount of this behaviour usually every day but sometimes she will be worse than usual and be completely irrational with inconsolable crying and screaming. When we get one of these more severe episodes we can usually trace it back to something with bright colours like doughnuts with sprinkles etc. After reading your website I have realised that a lot of her staple snack foods have the food colours that have recently been banned in the UK, in particular Arnotts country cheese crackers and the Quelch 99% fruit juice super doopers which I stupidly thought were healthy choices! - Lyndal by email

[720] 635: hives from French onion soup (February 2009)

Thank you so much for your factsheet on food additive 635! I have numerous food sensitivities and am very careful to avoid MSG in particular as it causes a more severe case of hives than most others. I live in the United States, and it's extremely difficult to find packaged foods that DON'T contain MSG here.

My parents live in Tasmania, and my mom went out of her way to find a French onion soup mix to send me that didn't contain MSG, since I couldn't find one here. I used it to make dip last week, and by the next morning I had dozens of patches of hives all over my body. Since it was the only thing I'd eaten the previous day that was different, I double checked the soup mix packet and saw "flavour enhancer 635". I'm out of touch with Australian food labelling after being gone for 11 years, so I wondered if this was actually MSG. When I pulled up your fact sheet, I was surprised to find that it wasn't MSG, but now I know that I need to be careful of ribonucleotides also!

For the last year and a half, I've been avoiding MSG almost entirely - I'll occasionally take a calculated risk and allow myself some flavoured chips or ranch salad dressing. My most recent bout of hives was the 635 reaction, which began about 8 days ago, within 12 hours of eating the soup mix. Today is the first day they've been completely gone since then. The hives appeared in all my usual places - fingers, hands, arms, chest, neck, back, stomach and face. The reaction was definitely more severe than my usual MSG reaction - more/bigger patches of hives, more intense itching, longer lasting, resistant to my triamcinolone ointment, and faster to appear. Normally, I could eat a single-serve bag of flavoured corn chips (such as Doritos) and it would take 24-36 hours for a reaction to occur, and most often only the backs of my hands, fingers, and face reacting. The hives would usually go away within 2-3 days unless I had an additional dose of MSG. Thank you for helping me to identify more items to add to my "do not eat" list! – Wendy, USA

[719] 635: E635: 5 year nightmare rash in the UK (February 2009)

About 5 years ago I started getting severe skin rash / hives and after a year of investigations (blood tests, strip tests and food diaries) by the Immunology Department at Kings College Hospital in London, it was suggested that I maybe allergic to white flour; though this couldn't be proved. The only medical evidence that the professionals could prove was that I was of an 'allergen type' and had proven allergies to grass/tree pollen, dust, and cat hair. They provided me with medication that is normally used to treat ulcers and reflux (ranitidine, Zantac), to use in emergencies, as it would help to switch off histamine receptors in the body that are working overtime to get rid of the allergy.

For the last 5 years I've avoided white flour, which resulted in a lot of weight loss and I never had the severe skin reactions again. Although I would always get the odd marking and often have irritable bowels very quickly after eating some food, I put this down to there being white flour in some ingredients from time to time and just put up with it.

Last night I had a return of the severe skin reaction that I've not had for years, which began to cover my arms, neck and groin - exactly as it had 5 years ago. Having being in the USA for three weeks I had not been eating any foods with additives, as my cousin who I was staying with, is allergic to MSG. I can only assume that on returning to the UK and suddenly eating foods with these additives, that my body reacted so quickly and that I had previously been reacting to the E635 in the foods and not the white flour.

I'm more shocked that every story and photo on your website relates to me, and to what I thought was a white flour allergy. If only I'd have been able to show this evidence to my doctor five years ago!

The product that I ate before the onset of the rash was Knorr Chicken Stock granules, which contained E635 and I have since discarded soy sauce and Oxo cubes, which were the only other things in my kitchen to contain those additives.

I'm now going to actively avoid the ribonucleotide flavour enhancers you list and see if I can eat white flour products, as long as they're not filled with additives. It's as if someone has just switched the lights back on and just wanted to say thankyou, as well as sharing my relief that I am not alone with my allergy, as I had long thought I was.

Six weeks later: The rash came back a couple of times, until I cut out every type of food that was manufactured, so anything with E numbers, flavourings etc. Since then I've not been ill at all and have introduced foods that have additives but avoided anything with any flavourings at all, so thus avoiding MSG and other E600 numbers. This seems to work well for me.

I tried the white flour test [plain water crackers and pasta] and was fine, I even tried cakes, pastries and fresh white bread that didn't have any flavourings and was fine.

By the way for UK sufferers nearly all food in Marks & Spencer food halls is additive, colour and flavouring free and amazingly detailed labelling, so many things don't have to be cut out if you shop there.

Thanks for your interest and helping me solve a 5 year nightmare! – Mark, UK

[718] Oppositional defiance: eliminating oranges from her diet has reduced her symptoms (February 2009)

I can't thank you enough for your website, for bringing this important information to public awareness. I am an Australian currently living overseas, mother of 2, expecting again. My 3-year-old has always been a 'difficult' child, with some days better or worse than other. In recent times her oppositional behaviour escalated so much that I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. She was screaming non-stop, day and night, always looking to fight me on every little thing. I just didn't know what to do with her anymore. I have always been a firm believer that when something is wrong, look at diet first. But I didn't know what the problem was exactly. I searched high and low for info, until I found your website. What a Godsend! A simple thing like eliminating oranges from her diet has reduced her symptoms significantly. She is almost sleeping through the night. I am new to this, and still have a lot of reading and learning to do, but you give me hope. Thank you! – by email

[717] Oppositional defiance: violence settled (February 2009)

Thank you for your wonderful work, time and love you have put into helping families like ours. Truly if I had not found your book, I believe that my husband and I would have split up and gone our separate ways as this stress was just too much for us. We got no help from doctors or specialists at the Royal Children's Hospital. Our 17-year-old who is doing year 12 this year is living with his grandmother as living with us was not possible due to our other son’s impossible behavior. My sister who is a Primary School teacher visited us a month ago and said that if I do not medicate this son, he will not be able to go to a school. His behaviour was so bad. My husband and I still have marks on our bodies from his bites.

He was violent, kicked and hit us. We had to put him in the bathroom as it was the safest because any other room was trashed. We needed time out sometimes. After a week on the elimination diet, family and friends asked if I had sedated him. His behavior had settled so much. He still is not there yet, however we are now on track and I can see light at the end of the long tunnel.

Also may I recommend the ladies buy the DVD to show your men as they will rarely read the book. Watching an hour of a DVD is more comprehensible to the male brain. That is how I got my husband to finally understand our son’s behavior and to support what I am doing with him. He now has the book in his van and every spare moment he has, he reads it. He has even told his family and his work mates about this. You would think that he was the one to have worked out our son’s problems. Never mind, as long as he is with me on this everything else does not matter – Irene, VIC.

[716] Ear infections, stuttering, rash, IBS linked to milk (February 2009)

We initially started my three year old son on the diet because of his hyperactivity, defiance and rough, impulsive play with others. Once we started the diet these symptoms slowed down but he developed new symptoms of increased emotional state and abdominal cramps. What we didn't realise at first was that we had increased his milk intake and so although the diet seemed to work it bought with it new problems. In hindsight I now have a list of symptoms such as stuttering, pale stools, abdominal cramping, poor appetite, face rash, ear infections, hyperactivity, defiance, dribbling, thumb sucking, rough play and itching head, that I can now link to cows milk as these have all gone since we eliminated it and its derivatives from his diet. I had been to doctors about these individually but was never taken seriously so never connected them all together.

At this stage we think that too many amines make him nasty and too many salicylates make him hyper and we haven’t tested additives. Since we took him off the cows milk as well and got over the withdrawals my son now no longer needs speech therapy, has a great appetite and is putting on weight, is able to enjoy play dates, is calm, doesn't complain of tummy ache etc and our life is much easier. We are a much happier family. I think we have further to go in our adjustment to the new diet but we are definitely leaps and bounds ahead from where we were pre-failsafe days. We saw your Kids First campaign launch interview on TV, thanks for being a voice for all us parents out there wanting to scream the same message! - Kylie, by email [Although rarely mentioned by doctors, milk is strongly linked to ear infections (otitis media) Juntti H and others, Cow's milk allergy is associated with recurrent otitis media during childhood. Acta Otolaryngol. 1999;119(8):867-73.]

[715] Success with eczema (February 2009)

I started the elimination diet with my daughter two weeks ago and for the first time in I can’t remember how long her eczema has finally settled down and she is so much calmer and happier. My husband and I are just so thrilled with the results we have got in such a short space of time.

3 months later: my daughter is fantastic, the diet has been a huge success for us and I honestly can’t share it with enough people. I was just looking back at photos of her the other day and I couldn’t believe how bad her eczema was, in the recent photos there was none at all. We now know that salicylates are a real problem. Additives seem to have an impact as well but I am happy that they are no longer part of her diet and never will be.

Since our success a number of our friends and acquaintances that have tried it with the same results. As far as I am concerned the more people who know about this the better. Before reading your book I honestly had no idea of the real effect food had on us.- Abi, by email

[714] Salicylates: this time we are 100% committed and the results are clear (February 2009)

My 7yo son suffered from asthma, and my 5yo daughter was borderline ODD, complete with sneaky poos, bedwetting - the whole rack of symptoms. We removed preservatives and colours from their diet with fantastic results - mainly from the removal of propionates and sulphites. I noticed, though, that my daughter's behaviour seemed to deteriorate when she had certain foods such as vegemite, soy sauce etc.

We did not do the elimination diet correctly the first time. We made the usual mistakes - not enough commitment, cheating, coming off it too quickly – and were misdirected in our conclusions - thought salicylates were fine and amines were the baddies. We decided to put our daughter back on the elimination diet after she failed to improve when we removed amines.

This time we are 100% committed and the results are clear. Our daughter was fine the first day of the salicylate challenge, a bit iffy the second, and by day 3 she was back to pre-diet days, even resorting to deliberately (in front of me) urinating on the lounge room floor. Add to this a constant headache, tummy pains and a small rash on both legs. I promptly cleaned out the fridge, and removed all salicylates from the house. Two days on and we are gradually improving, but what a shock!

An even bigger shock was my son's reaction. He was always 'the good one' and didn't seem to have any behavioural issues apart from asthma, which has improved greatly since we removed additives from their diet. By the end of the second day, he had stolen a can of coke from the fridge (dad's stock - banned for our kids) and drank it outside when he thought I couldn't see. Screaming, shouting, fighting, defiance - completely unexpected from him. Two days on and he is quite remorseful - and determined to stay away from 'those foods'. He has also woken up today with big black rings under his eyes, and a wet bed. No coincidence, I think.

I never imagined that food chemicals could have such a significant effect on health and behaviour. My daughter starts school next year, and we can now look forward to a future with more enthusiasm and positivity than we did 3 months ago. – by email, NSW

[713] Salicylates: Mood swings, irritability, white face, no energy in a six year old (February 2009)

My six-year-old son Noah’s problems were moodiness, irritability, not really being there, and for years the white face and no energy that you described in your book. My husband and I did not know why Noah was going down the path of these mood swings and this year at school he just could not comply with what was expected of him. About two months ago I was handed a copy of your book Fed up and it was such a relief to think we may have found the answer. It is plain to see that Noah must stick to a low salicylate diet cutting out all the naughty numbers. Unfortunately over the last few weeks with Xmas, we let the diet slip, and we now see the effects. Back on to the good food now for the entire family, and hopefully a good year for Noah at school.

I just had to write a quick note to say thank you - the work you do is so good and so important. I tell anyone who will listen about this information, it must be spread around for people to be aware of, mums and dads and teachers. – by email, NSW

[712] Reactions to head lice treatments (December 2008)

· My son is on the elimination diet and last week he had a MAJOR reaction to [a natural treatment] which I'd left on overnight. I was really stupid and thought I'd done the right thing by avoiding a traditional chemical headlice treatment - instead opted for this natural treatment (1% lavender, >10% teatree oil, benzyl alcohol 0.5% ethanol 20%) - obviously he won't do well when I challenge salicylates! - failsafe mother by email

· I got a call from the principal at 10 o'clock saying he'd have to be taken home to have his hair debugged - my fault. I had suspected the bugs but I didn't want to put anything on his hair while we were doing the diet. I had no choice. I picked him up at 1pm and washed his hair with [a natural treatment not the same as above] - containing 10mg/g melaleuca alternifolia - or teatree - oil. I returned him to school at 2pm. When I picked him up at 3.30pm, he seemed fine, but certainly not calm. At storytime/bedtime he was acting really silly and I asked him twice to stop before I gave up and left the room. He then had a tantrum with tears. - failsafe father, NSW

· I had to delay the challenge as they got nits a couple weeks back and had to be treated ... well ... didn't those chemicals send my kids haywire! It took 4 days for the meltdowns to stop, extreme ODD for around 72 hours! - failsafe mother, by email

[711] Heart symptoms from benzoates, bread preservative and sulphites (December 2008)

[710] 635: Chest pain from flavour enhancers 627 and 631 in Weight Watchers meals (December 2008)

Product updates


Some of the information, particularly that about specific foods and what they contain, may be out of date – always check the Failsafe shopping list on www.fedup.com.au for the latest information.

Smarties: NOT FOR AMINE RESPONDERS - From the beginning of 2009, new all-natural-coloured Smarties are available - read the label first to make sure you are getting the new ones, you don’t want colours 102, 110, 122, 124, 129. At present some have a mixture of natural and artificial so read every line. Smarties don’t contain added flavours so are suitable for failsafers unless they are sensitive to amines in the chocolate. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/classic-junk-food-gets-a-health-makeover/2008/12/19/1229189886151.html.


So Good Vanilla Bliss (Soy ‘Ice Cream’) is now failsafe as annatto (160b) colour has been removed. This low fat frozen dessert is popular even with people who don’t need to eat soy – thanks to Heidi and Liz


Home Ice Cream comes to your street Australia wide. Some of the products are failsafe, all contain milk, some are gluten free, some contain chocolate (for non-amine responders):

  • Just Lite vanilla flavoured low fat ice cream in a cup, 1.6% fat, HIC Product Code: 32
  • All Natural 2 litre tub vanilla ice cream, 5.7% fat, HIC product code: 5
  • Vanilla Ice Cream Cups, 6.8% fat, HIC Product Code: 61
  • All Natural gluten free Caramel Sundae, caramel ice cream with a caramel ripple in a cup, 9.8% fat, HIC Product Code: 62
  • White Hearts vanilla ice cream with white chocolate on a stick, 17.7% fat, HIC Product Code: 98
  • All Natural Chocolate Milk Ice Confection on a stick, gluten free, 4.3% fat, NOT FOR AMINE RESPONDERS, (caution, similar products such as Minis may contain artificial colour 155), HIC Product Code: 18
  • Vanilla Choc vanilla ice cream with choc coating on a stick, 16% fat, NOT FOR AMINE RESPONDERS, HIC Product Code: 1



Correction: Arnott’s Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits contain milk powder and are not dairy-free as mentioned in the shopping list in my books. My apologies.


Unperfumed shave gel: Schick Skin Protect Sensitive Shave Gel Fragrance Free really is free from fragrance unlike many other Sensitive products. From supermarkets and pharmacies - thanks to Jodie.


***Warning: Xylitol non sugar sweetener – caution is recommended for those with gut symptoms. Like other sugar alcohols (eg sorbitol) it can cause bloating and windiness in some people, thanks to dietitian Liz Beavis and see our factsheet http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/sugar-free-sweeteners 


Adult multivitamins:

  • Amcal One-a-Day Multivitamins should be back on the shelves in April – thanks to Jodie


  • Blackmores Slow Release Multi-Vitamin is the only one in the range with no herbs. It does have one plant product which acts as a gel (to provide the slow release effect) but this doesn’t seem to provide any ‘flavours’ and so far have had no problems. – thanks to Liz and Anna, we welcome feedback.


Natural Cosmetics: Inika www.inika.com.au – thanks to Liz


Pear Jam

  • Birgit’s Pear Jam is no longer available.
  • The Small Food Caterers in Adelaide is run by Debbie Kelly who came to our 2008 Adelaide talk with heaps of delicious failsafe products including pear jam www.catering.net.au.
  • In Canberra you can buy pear jam from a little boutique shop called Food Lovers in the Fyshwick Markets, ingredients: Pears (flesh only, no skin), White Sugar and Water - thanks to Kirra.


**WARNING** Continuing reactions to chips: we have had many reports like this one – “my daughter has a physical reaction to foods including puffy lips and tongue. She appeared to have reacted after eating the apparently-safe Arnotts French Fries, and definitely reacted after eating Kettle Original chips.” These items are considered failsafe and we have asked the manufacturer who claim the label is accurate. All we can think is that there is cross-contamination on the line with other flavours, possibly 635 flavour enhancer.


Butcher in Greensborough (Melbourne, VIC) won’t make failsafe sausages anymore! –thanks Miriam.


Coffs Harbour Palm Centre, NSW own their own farm and bring in their own lamb and beef, all is freshly slaughtered (not cryovacced). – thanks to Alison


Farmers Meats Wingham NSW (online, delivery area is roughly Gold Coast to Katoomba, Canberra and beyond) will do Sausages Special Diet to order. ’John, the farmer, is lovely to deal with and has been delivering the meat himself recently with his wife Edna in tow. The sausages taste great, don’t split on the BBQ and you can order everything from a whole side to just sausages. This may not be good for some Amine sensitive people but it has been working well for us.’ Thanks to Larissa.



Your questions


All questions from Food Intolerance Network members that have been published since September 2002 are at http://fedup.com.au/information/frequently-asked-questions. Some of the information, particularly that about specific foods and what they contain, may be out of date – always check the Failsafe shopping list on www.fedup.com.au for the latest information.

Q. My dentist wants me to use GC Tooth Mousse - I phoned the supplier to ask whether there are preservatives or colours and she said it contains propylene glycol, titanium dioxide and xylitol sugars. I seem to react to very small amounts of any preservatives, colours or flavours so I believe I would be in trouble if I used this mousse (it has to be left on every night to help my gums and teeth). What are your views?

A. The list of ingredients from the supplier didn't seem long enough so I searched the internet for "GC Tooth Mousse ingredients". According to the Material Safety Data Sheet the product contains three hydroxybenzoate preservatives. Also known as parabens or preservatives (214-219), these preservatives are known to affect people who are sensitive to artificial colours and salicylates. The European MSDS warns "Do not use this material on patients with a proven or suspected milk protein allergy and/or with a sensitivity or allergy to benzoate preservatives". This product is NOT FAILSAFE.

Feedback: ‘Well I have tried the "plain" GC Tooth Mousse three times and have reacted each time with the usual symptoms. It appears to stay in my system for two days. I react with insomnia, then my body gets "the jumps". I have even gone back to having the jumps in my legs and arms during the day (two days after using the tooth mousse)!’ See also next question.

Q. I seem to be reacting to NEO-MERCAZOLE tablets with the following ingredients: lactose, maize starch, sucrose, magnesium stearate, talc, microcrystalline cellulose, gum acacia, ferric oxide, propyl hydroxybenzoate, gelatin. They are coloured pink. The pharmacist at the company that distributes the neo-mercazole said the colour was ferric oxide (Fe2O3) also known as Iron (III) oxide, Pigment red 101 or Diiron Trioxide; colour index (C.I.) 77491. Colour 101 isn't on the list of nasty additives. Does that mean I can discount colour as a cause of problems?

A. Under TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) regulations colours do not have to be listed on medication labels - due to lack of space - leaving consumers to rely on dodgy word-of-mouth advice from suppliers or pharmacists. The pharmacist who advised you was either ignorant or misleading. Pigment red 101 is not the same as Food Colour 101 (riboflavin, a B vitamin). Ferric oxide, the colour used in your medication, is also called iron oxide or food colour (172). Iron oxides are available in red (and pink), yellow and black. Although iron is toxic in large doses, the small amounts of iron oxide used as colours are considered safe - in the past many failsafers have consumed iron oxide as the colour in Macro M Vitamins. The additive most likely to cause problems in the list above is propyl hydroxybenzoate (also known as preservative 216). Benzoates include preservatives 210-213 especially sodium benzoate (211) in foods and drinks, and parabens or hydroxybenzoates (216, 218) in drugs. All benzoates can cause the same adverse effects. See also question above. *** Please report all adverse reactions to additives in medications in Australia to the adverse medicines events line on 1300 134 237.

Q. Are there any failsafe low GI (Glycemic Index) breads?


· Bakers Delight Hi-Fibre Lo GI (GI=52, the average GI of bread is 70) is failsafe and is the lowest GI white bread. The low GI is achieved through the inclusion of oatbran and inulin. Check other low GI breads for the inclusion of non-failsafe ingredients such as sesame seeds, calcium propionate (preservative 282 ) or cultured whey which is a natural form of 282 (see Watch out for Whey on our 282 factsheet). Linseeds have small amounts of salicylates and amines in them. RPA recommends the use of linseed oil in small quantities as a supplement, but you would need to test your own tolerance for linseeds in bread. Also, some people with food intolerance do better with refined white flour than wholegrain wheat. Bakers Delight white Lo GI may be best for them.

· Bakers Delight Wholemeal Country Grain (GI=53) contains both maize semolina and linseeds so it is not fully failsafe and you would need to approach it with caution. Maize semolina is near the cornstarch end of the scale so it may be worth a try.

· Country Life Rye Hi-Soy Bread with Linseed (GI=42) is not completely failsafe as sour rye dough may be a problem for amine responders, and check your tolerance for the linseed.

· Country Life Performax bread (GI=38) has the lowest GI of any Australian bread, achieved by a high linola content. Linola is a new form of golden linseed developed from brown linseeds, unfortunately without the excellent omega ratio - linola has only about 2% of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, an omega 3 fatty acid, the good one) but about 72% of linoleic acid LA (omega 6). Performax may be suitable, we just don’t know - you would have to try it carefully (feedback welcomed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Q. I was wondering if the Nestle Nesquiks (powder form) are ok, we have been giving them to our son for a trial but I think I may have stuffed up. Normally we go bright colour definitely alarm bells and stick to what we know, but these drinks say ‘no artificial colours or flavours’ so we gave them a go. On the back it says natural flavours, natural colours (riboflavin, annatto) where I thought annatto was bad.

Chocolate has: cane sugar, non-alkalised cocoa, emulsifier (soy lecithin), spice (cinnamon).

Strawberry has: cane sugar, maltodextrin, natural colour (120), natural flavour.

Banana has: cane sugar, natural flavour, natural colours (riboflavin, annatto).

What do you think? I would be happier if ingredients came with a dictionary.

A. Annatto (160b) is bad. It is the only natural colour that causes as many problems as artificial colours. So that would account for a reaction to the banana flavoured product. See annatto factsheet for more information.

If your son is reacting to the strawberry or chocolate flavours, then he almost certainly sensitive to either salicylates (in the cinnamon and the natural strawberry flavour) or amines (in the cocoa and the natural banana flavour) or both. You can see more about salicylates and amines in my books or the introduction to food intolerance). If you’ve read those and are still confused, ask me for the special salicylate and amine mistake factsheets (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Q. My two-year-old daughter is being investigated for autism and has been started on Incremin cherry iron mixture. Can she continue with this on the elimination diet?

A. According to the manufacturers at the time of writing, Incremin cherry iron mixture contains artificial colour Amaranth (123) as well as two preservatives Sodium Benzoate (211) and Sorbic Acid (200) so it is definitely NOT suitable for the elimination diet. See our supplements factsheet for alternatives.

Q. My asthmatic daughter (asthma normally controlled by diet) started back at school swimming today and has come home very blue around her mouth. It looks like someone has punched her in the face and she has two black eyes. Could this be a chlorine allergy? We have found that she does react to chlorine but not to this degree. She said that she thought that they had only put chlorine in the day before or that morning.

A. Chlorine levels can vary alarmingly and could have been particularly high if they had just dosed the pool. There are many children in our network who cannot tolerate chlorinated pools and who react with a variety of symptoms including asthma, eczema and problems behaviours. Sometimes symptoms can be minimised by wearing goggles and showering immediately after leaving the pool. Consult your doctor if worried about asthmatic reactions. See the full text research: Bernard A and others, Chlorinated pool attendance, atopy, and the risk of asthma during childhood. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114(10):1567-73. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=17035144

Q. Are you aware of any websites/books which would have a comprehensive list of the amine content in foods?

A. The best sources are RPA’s Friendly Food and the booklet Salicylates, Amines and Glutamates from your dietitian or RPA website. Oddly, there is also a useful website promoting recreational use of the Peruvian drug ayahuasca because the drug turns users into amine responders by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down amines, see http://www.biopark.org/peru/maoi-1.html. There is some useful stuff on Wikipedia under different types of amines and you can ask (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for our Amine Mistakes factsheet.

Q. Is TVP (textured vegetable protein) failsafe? I have googled it and from the Wikepedia description it appears to me to be ok.

A. The latest version of Friendly Food says it is NOT failsafe. I agree that from the Wikipedia description it sounds OK: made from soy, not to be confused with HVP (hydrolysed vegetable protein) and has "little flavour of its own". However, according to the manufacturer’s website (http://www.southnettradeaust.com/pdfs/tvp.pdf) "taste and colour can be made to order as mince, dice, flake, chunk, crumble or flour" so obviously the flavours and colours wouldn’t be failsafe. For example, the ingredient list for simulated bacon flavoured sprinkles made from TVP is "Textured soy flour, Vegetable oil, Salt, Flavours, Colour-129 [artificial colour allura red], Whey powder".


Around the groups: getting in touch


Talking point


“We have been battling with food intolerance ever since my husband had a coronary bypass fourteen years ago, it has been a total nightmare endless doctors and no light at the end of the tunnel. We would love to know if there is anyone else out in the community who has suffered a similar fate after a major operation?”- from Sue. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with comments.




More than 1.5 million people have now visited www.fedup.com.au – about 1,000 per day.


See http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/support-factsheets/failsafe-support for local contacts who can generally answer some questions about failsafe eating - many have brochures and a copy of the DVD to lend out. They can also advise on supportive dietitians locally.


Email support groups: we currently recommend failsafe3 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.


Playgroup in Western Sydney invites new members: Jo Cameron, Coordinator for the Glendenning MyTime Playgroup runs a small intolerance/allergy support playgroup for children following the failsafe/ RPAH elimination diets. Several children have anaphylaxis and many are on very limited diets (elemental formulae and few foods). They provide a safe, inclusive environment for our special kids to socialise, not to mention a support group - contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Sulphite test strips: Howard has fresh stock of sulphite test strips that you can use to check your local butcher. Send 3x55c stamps/strip plus a stamped self-addressed envelope for strips and instructions.


Shopping list: there's now a short and useful two-page shopping list typed out by a grateful mother available at http://fedup.com.au/information/information/short-failsafe-shopping-list.



March 2009

Alstonville NSW Monday 16 March 7.00-9.00pm: Sue Dengate “The effects of foods on children’s behaviour” for St Joseph's Primary School, 11 Perry Street, Alstonville. No charge: costs are being met by Lismore CEO Parent Assembly. Sue Dengate’s books and DVD will be available at a reduced price, cash or cheque only. Contact Therese 02 6628 1009 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Brisbane QLD Wednesday 18 March 7.30-9.30pm: Sue Dengate "The effects of foods on children's behaviour" for Queensland Playgroup Association at Kedron Wavell Services Club, 375 Hamilton Road, Chermside. Tickets $16 for Playgroup Queensland members and $20 for others, limited to 300 people. Sue Dengate's books and DVD will be available at a reduced price, cash or cheque only. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1800 171 882 or visiting www.playgroupaustralia.com.au/qld. The evening will not cater for children.

Gladstone QLD Thursday 19 March: Sue Dengate "The effects of foods on children's behaviour". Sue Dengate's books and DVD will be available at a reduced cost, cash or cheque only. DETAILS TO BE ADVISED.

Rockhampton QLD Saturday 21 March 3.00-5.00pm: Sue Dengate “The effects of foods on children’s behaviour” at Building 32, CQUniversity, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton. No charge. Sue Dengate’s books and DVD will be available at a reduced price, cash or cheque only. Please RSVP to Jim This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07 4930 9371. No child minding facilities.

Brisbane QLD Monday 23 March 7.00-9.00pm: Sue Dengate "The effects of foods on children's behaviour" at Shailer Park State School, Bulwarna Street, Shailer. Cost $12 and half-price for dads accompanying mums. Sue Dengate's books and DVD will be available at a reduced cost, cash or cheque only. Contact Anne 0401 583 114 or 07 3216 8742 – tickets will be on sale after 1 March.


Sue is planning another tour in August-September and to date has been invited to speak at the following 13 places: NSW: Yamba, Inverell, Bingara-Moree, Gosford, Sydney, Windsor, Blue Mountains, Tumbarumba; VIC: Albury-Wodonga , Ballarat, Wangaratta; SA Bordertown-Tatiara, Naracoorte. If you want Sue consider a talk for you, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. immediately.




NOW AVAILABLE in Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Nepali and USA. http://fedup.com.au/information/support/food-intolerance-brochures. Translators for other languages please email 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 $A0.26 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."




All Failsafe Newsletters from 1998-present are available here: http://fedup.com.au/fedup-newsletters. But some of the links are out of date and you must always check current products rather than relying on historical information.


Cook’s corner


Wanting to lose weight after festive season excess? In this issue we focus on simple recipes.




Failsafe breadcrumbs: for breadcrumbs we just break up and food process frozen slices of bread, usually the left-over crusts. We use Brumby's, Bakers Delight or other failsafe bread of course – thanks to Amy.


Quick Carob spread: the quickest ever spread for sandwiches: butter bread, sprinkle over carob powder and add top slice of bread. For toast, spread with a knife until butter and carob are mixed. For a low fat version of this spread, mix 2 tbsp carob powder with an equal quantity of milk until reaching the consistency of icing then spread straight onto unbuttered bread - thanks to Leah, NSW


Mayonnaise Chicken Drumsticks


6 chicken legs or 3 breast fillets, skin removed

1/3 cup failsafe mayonnaise - see Newsletter #58 or Robin’s Dressing (aka Mighty Mayo) in Sue’s books or at http://fedup.com.au/recipes/blog

1½ cups dry breadcrumbs or rice crumbs


Coat chicken with mayonnaise in a shallow dish and refrigerate overnight. Roll chicken in crumbs. Place in a greased baking dish, brush with melted butter or Nuttelex. Bake at 180 degrees for 40-45 minutes - thanks to Melissa, SA


Creamed rice


This creamy old-fashioned dessert is delicious served hot or can be refrigerated in individual serving containers as a snack.


500 ml milk, A2 milk, soymilk or ricemilk (optional: can be low fat)

1½ tbsp sugar or to taste

½ tbsp maple syrup for flavour

1/3 cup medium grain white rice


Put milk, sugar and maple syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring. Gradually add rice, stirring, then cover pan and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes. Serve hot topped with diced fresh pear or store in the refrigerator.


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

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© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to Kathleen Daalmeyer, Helen, Anne Hurman, Julie, Jodie, Liz, Leah, Melissa, Victor, Kellie, Miriam, Larissa, Alison, Heidi, Mark and the many others who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter. Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, (Murdoch Books).