Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

April – June 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: FAILsaf60.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.


Poor behaviour linked to the Western diet

Increasing use of sorbates (preservatives 200-203)


Research: Colour causes developmental delays in mice

In brief: National Healthy School Canteens, Arsenic in rice, Medical warning about salicylates in Bonjela, The Food Investigators

Colours again, 30 minute video interview with Sue Dengate, Farewell Margaret Sassé, The Kids First Campaign

Readers' stories: [797] - [814]

Product updates: detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Sausage Sizzles and School Fetes, BBQ choko, One-minute omelette, Nic’s Chicken Nuggets, Home-made flour tortillas, Poached tamarillos in syrup



Hello everyone


Apologies for the delay in this newsletter: the disastrous Coffs Harbour floods saw Howard wading through chest deep water to reach his mother while I organised a rescue boat. The effort required for cleaning and rebuilding has been unbelievable for us, failsafer Alison of thelittlelollyshop and thousands more east coast residents.


Meanwhile food additives are in the news: see diet and behaviour studies below and our additive free netball team trial soon on the SBS show Food Investigators. One failsafer wrote: “Australia is starting to catch on!! Huggies have sent out an email with a link on their website to an article on food additives and effects on children.”


Also below, some fascinating reader reports including diet and morning sickness, reactions to sorbates, depression due to the Western diet and many more.


And finally, thank you to everyone who has written with success stories. I especially liked this reader’s comment: ‘I think every mother should be discharged from hospital with their baby under one arm and your book under the other arm!’ - see the story below.


Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate



Poor behaviour linked to the Western diet


A new study of nearly 3000 adolescents in Perth has made the link between ‘fast food’ Western diets and poor behavioural patterns in adolescents. The study showed that foods such as snacks, takeaway food, confectionery, processed and red meats, and other refined foods were associated with poor behaviour in adolescents and that better behavioural outcomes were associated with a higher intake of fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables.


While it’s good see a study confirming what we already know about the link between diet and behaviour, this study did not prove that a lack of micronutrients such as folates and other vitamins causes these behaviours. Yet the way this study has been reported in the media (‘It might be tricky to get kids to eat their fruits and vegetables …’) will do nothing to help parents and teachers who are struggling with children’s behaviour. As one failsafer wrote: ‘I just have to shake my head at those who investigate diet, because be it mental health or physical health there are always categories like processed and red meats, as if a steak is in the same dietary category as hotdogs and salami!’

More information: The association between dietary patterns and mental health in early adolescence: http://ccde.menzies.edu.au


Increasing use of sorbates (preservatives 200-203)


Until recently, sorbates didn’t bother failsafers because they weren’t in any foods we could eat. However, if you read labels regularly, you will see that sorbates are creeping into all kinds of foods, mostly as sorbic acid (200) and potassium sorbate (202). They are even in some foods describing themselves to be ‘all natural’. This is misleading because although sorbates occur naturally in some fruits, for commercial use they are manufactured synthetically. They are one of the five groups of preservatives listed in the RPA Elimination Diet to be avoided, along with benzoates, sulphites, nitrates/nitrites and propionates.


If you have never done a sorbate challenge, you could use foods such as cream cheese and Woolworths fresh pikelets, and possibly some breads, see our new sorbate factsheet for many other suggestions. We would love to hear about your reaction (which product, which symptoms; to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Thanks to Kathleen Daalmeyer for supermarket research.


Books and DVD now available through www.fedup.com.au


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.





Colour causes developmental delays in mice

Adverse neurobehavioural effects of tartrazine (colour 102) have been shown throughout several generations of mice by researchers at the Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology in Tokyo. The tartrazine was fed to mice in varying amounts in their diets from 5 weeks of age in the first generation to 9 weeks of age in the third generation. The behaviours affected included olfactory orientation and righting Tanaka T and others, Effects of tartrazine on exploratory behavior in a three-generation toxicity study in mice. Reprod Toxicol. 2008;26(2):156-63.



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


National Healthy School Canteens At public consultations, food additives and flavourings often generated debate, and canteen managers said they were often approached by parents asking for them to stop providing products with additives in them. 


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!


Arsenic in rice The UK’s Food Standards Agency is advising that infants are not given rice drinks as a replacement for cows’ milk, breast milk, or infant formula, following a new study that indicates potential to exceed maximum intake of arsenic, http://www.foodnavigator.com/Legislation/Arsenic-rice-study-prompts-new-advice-for-parents. The Australian regulator FSANZ advice is to only feed children below the age of five with rice drink when needed as a dairy or soy replacement and as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Their updated factsheet is at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au


Medical warning about salicylates in Bonjela One of the most commonly used teething gels for babies has been linked to a potentially fatal disease. British authorities say the active ingredient - choline salicylate - in Bonjela may put children at risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare brain and liver disease. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/24/2552251.htm


The Food Investigators TV series is now showing on SBS Wednesdays 7:30-8:00pm. Later episodes include Sue Dengate supervising an additive-free trial with a sporting team, of great interest to Australian failsafers. This 13-part series aims to investigate food; explore the myths, the hidden nasties, and just what is good, or not good, for us in our diet, co-hosted by emergency room doctor, Dr Renee Lim who sees the results of bad diets every day in the ER. Watch online http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/foodinvestigators/watchonline/page/show/foodinvestigators


Colours again Thank you to CHOICE magazine for their investigation of additives in cakes: "Not quite like mother made. Many supermarket cakes are packed with additives, including artificial colours linked to hyperactivity in children ... any use of artificial colours that raises safety concerns is hard to justify" (Update Oct 2015 - https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/food-warnings-and-safety/food-additives/articles/food-additives-you-should-avoid) The FSANZ response is that the presence of a colour on a label did not necessarily mean the colour was present in the final product (!), and that you can always read the label and make an informed choice. Unless you are in a restaurant, of course. 


30 minute video interview with Sue Dengate (we were pleased at how well this one turned out) http://maxawareness.com (You’ll need to join Maxawareness and pay $1 using a Credit Card).


Farewell Margaret Sassé I am sad to report the passing in May of Margaret Sassé, the irrepressible and indomitable founder of Toddler Kindy GymbaROO; a strong failsafe supporter; at the age of 80, following an aortic aneurysm. Margaret had been attending a Maternal Nurses conference where GymbaROO was the major sponsor when she collapsed while line dancing at the conference ball. Margaret’s latest book Smart Start: How exercise can transform your child’s life had just been published.



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:


[814] Depression and anxiety due to processed foods (June 2009) COURAGE AWARD

I am total agreement with your stories regarding depression etc due to food intolerance. I suffered for about ten years trying all sorts of things. I was depressed, anxious and had a host of strange sensations and numbness, foggy, bad tempered, the list goes on.

The diet I followed was basically to eat non processed foods, and I believe what I was actually eliminating was flavour enhancers, including HVP and other hidden enhancers. I have felt that MSG has been my downfall, although things like other additives are excluded.

I continue to work now at 66, with a clear head and vitality. I am angry at the time I have spent seeing doctors and withdrawing from society due to low esteem and negative feelings. Angry is a little strong and just relieved that I have found relief without drugs/medication of any sort.

As with some of the other people who have written in, I found relief by my own experimentation. Dangerous, but I did it. And it worked. I have relayed my story to many people and doctors, and I would say most of them don’t really believe that this will work, and that is the problem. I understand that, because in my earlier days I would have thought the same.

Following my diet was very difficult with only a little change in the early stages (like the first week), and in the early days, I didn’t think it would work. Luckily I stuck to it. I try to impress people that the diet appears boring but in the end one’s sanity is the objective. It took me about two weeks for a reasonable and significant improvement, and two months for complete and total freedom from symptoms. – Ralph, by email

[813] Amines causing a ‘locked in’ reaction in a 2 yo (June 2009)

I had to email you to say THANK YOU for saving my sanity!

My 2 yr old was having some terrible behavioural problems, in the form of waking up either from her day sleep or night sleep in an absolute distraught state. She would be inconsolable and it would go on for nearly an hour until I could somehow ‘break’ it. I could never predict what mood she would wake up in and I dreaded it every day. I described her as being ‘locked in’ and I couldn't reach her. Her eyes would glaze over and nothing I did could snap her out of it. All I could do was let her burn out. I knew something wasn't right because why should any child wake up in a tantrum? But it was worse than a tantrum.

Thankfully I mentioned it to the right mums at playgroup who got me onto your book. What an eye-opener!!!! I think every mother should be discharged from hospital with their baby under one arm and your book under the other arm!

After educating myself with your book, I ransacked our pantry and threw away about 50% of what I had. I found the Vegeta seasoning I used nearly every night on our dinner was full of MSG. I found the cheesy rice crackers the girls were having every day were also full of MSG. This was not good.

However, I finally pinpointed what it was that made her so volatile - amines!!!! She was having bananas and grapes every day, some days she would even have two bananas. I quickly banned these two foods and the difference in my child was amazing. She now wakes up a happy child! Recently I let my guard down and let her have bananas again and saw the effects after about 4-5 days of having one each day. I even suspected she was having night terrors. And then I remembered the amines! After three days of no bananas, she was back to her usual self.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! – Pauline, QLD

[812] Asthma researchers ignore the evidence - breathlessness, sleep apnea, tachycardia, pins and needles, anxiety from preservatives (June 2009)

What is amazing to me is that the researchers don’t seem to be aware that some preservatives and flavour enhancers can also give you asthma or make symptoms worse. I've experienced this first hand. I regularly consumed a so called healthy cereal every day that contained dried fruit which was laced with preservatives. My symptoms of breathlessness, sleep apnea, tachycardia, pins and needles, anxiety etc. kept getting worse. I ended up in casualty at the local hospital several times, but they could not discover the cause. I had heart checks, x-rays, stress tests and still no answers. Finally at a party one of the guests refused certain food and proceeded to tell me about her allergic reactions to food additives. As she was describing her reactions, I realised her symptoms were identical to mine. She told me about your website. I went home that night and threw out everything in my pantry with food additives and I slowly recovered. I'm very careful now, but eating out is a challenge and that is where I get caught out, even when I choose healthy options such as a salad or sandwich. At the airport I had a turkey and salad sandwich and within 20 minutes I was really struggling to breath - Miryana by email.

[811] Terrible debilitating headaches/migraines from salicylates (June 2009)

I have always suffered terrible, debilitating headaches/ migraines! After several brain scans the doctor recommended I take medications as a preventative measure, this would be a life long therapy. Not being keen I went armed with your books and stated I wished to try this failsafe diet first. My doctor supported my wishes with some skepticism. My success has been life changing! I have lost 8 kilos (not that I was looking towards this goal), no headaches until my salicylate challenge and a healthy and happy family all round. Thank you for your time and efforts. – Tania, QLd

[810] 635: My sister’s reaction to 635 in Thai food (June 2009)

My sister ate Thai food 3 days in a row (Fri, Sat, Sun). On Monday morning she had an itchy rash and face that looked like she had been hit (red, swollen, hive type rash). Over the next 4 days the rash only got worse. It moved from head to chest, to legs, all over her body – a different spot every day. Antihistamines had no effect. Eventually she went to the Emergency Department and a doctor thought "not food related" but a nurse suggested it might have been.

They prescribed a corticosteroid (I think) which began to make an impact. But reading the info on your website re ribo rash - it all made sense. She has since noticed the rash on a smaller scale after eating CC's with 621 and 635. – by email, Vic [The 635 in Thai food can be in the soy sauce or fish sauce]

[809] Failsafe holiday on the road (June 2009)

We've just finished a great 3 1/2 week driving holiday around Queensland (7000km with my hubby and my mum and dad - and we all survived thanks to FS food no doubt!). We only went out for dinner twice and we all went failsafe for most of the holiday. We all commented on how good we felt for the whole holiday - none of that feeling of being sick of ‘bought’ food that we used to get and no crankiness or tummy upsets. It did require a bit of planning and pre-cooking and because we didn't have a freezer in the vehicles, we had to make sure to book self-contained cabins with a freezer and cooking facilities so that we could restock the esky every few days. Overall it worked really well but a little fridge/freezer unit in the car would have made life a lot easier. That'll be the next project for my hubby!

The trip was great - it would be fantastic if other people could pass on their experiences about how they maintain their diet when travelling - especially those going gluten-free. – Jodie, by email (send other failsafe holiday reports via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[801] Potassium sorbate makes my son clingy, crying (June 2009)

I have a 6 year old son who I already knew was intolerant to some foods. He has periods of eczema (which we have been able to control with his diet) and we have avoided these things for years. Luckily, because he was basically born with eczema, I had been very careful about introducing foods. I started giving him crumpets for breakfast when he was 2. He would be fine after eating them, however when he woke from his sleep he would be screaming and hitting me, very violent and uncontrollable. I initially thought it was hunger, as I found that when I gave him something to eat he would calm down. Anyway, to cut a long story short. I found out about preservative 282 and cut it out completely. He was normal again!!

On and off over the years I discovered other things that affected him, so I added those to my list of things to avoid. A few months ago we went over to Europe. When we came back he went back to school and started getting very clingy, crying and not being able to read or write properly and was not able to concentrate. I have had trouble with these symptoms on and off over the 1½ years. I mentioned this to my friend, she gave me your book and I started an additive free diet. After about 1 week everything had improved dramatically. I waited about 4 weeks before I introduced additives, one a time … He reacted to 202 (potassium sorbate) in a drink of juice by crying and becoming clingy. He had it at dinner time, then had trouble getting to sleep. The next day he was very sensitive and cried a lot and hid in his room when our visitors arrived and would not come out until they had been there for several hours. He got better after he had his lunch (which he ate by himself in his room). He then came out, but didn’t talk much and sat right next to me. He only had it the once, as I did not want to make the situation worse. He can drink fresh juice with no problem. - Michelle by email

[800] 200, 160b, 320: Big “no-no’s” cause cramping and diarrhea (June 2009)

I am a 43 mother and have done the RPA elim diet. I have Colitis that was triggered by a single episode of food poisoning ten years ago. It took a long time to get a diagnosis of microscopic colitis. For a long time I was told that it was irritable bowel. Finally a colonoscopy and biopsy showed it - a very under-diagnosed condition. My big 3 "no-no's" are: annatto 160b, synthetic antioxidants such as BHA 320, and sorbates. All of those cause cramping and diarrhoea. – Kate, by email

[808] From multiple daily tantrums to none in two weeks of failsafe eating (June 2009)

I have five children aged 1, 7, 8, 10 and 11. It was the behaviour of my 8 year old daughter which prompted me to try FAILSAFE. Since about the age of 2 this daughter has had what seemed like multiple daily tantrums – consistently over 10 per day. Prior to this she was an extremely easy going toddler, but a reflux baby (as were all my children). She was so easy in fact that I used to call her my calming factor in the family and her daycare carer once described her as a little pot plant that you just placed in the corner, fed and watered her and watched her grow.

Earlier this year I reached a rather scary place where, even though I love my daughter to death, I often didn’t like being with her because the tantrums would start the moment she got up and seemed to go on until she finally went to sleep at night. I dreaded picking her up from school as it inevitably meant her storming out to me at the car and immediately complaining about something which soon resulted in constant sibling rivalry with my 7 year old daughter increasingly becoming the victim of my 8 year old s assault. The entire household was on edge and her behaviour was extremely disruptive to all of us.

Over the years I have read several parenting books and tried many approaches: reward charts, time outs, consequences, firm approach, soft approach and nothing seemed to work. The bigger she grew the worse her tantrums became, reaching a climax earlier this year when she started to throw any item she could find at any of us. I should also add that over the years my daughter has developed several food aversions.

The turning point for me was when I saw her behaviour change before my eyes after eating food at a party. It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the food she was eating was affecting her behaviour. That’s when I conducted some internet research and stumbled across your website. Despite my family eating what I would call a well balanced healthy diet, I was surprised to learn that there were still several healthy foods which could affect behaviour. The most fantastic thing about your website for people in my position was that I could download The Failsafe Booklet which provided me sufficient information to try the diet out without having to spend money on purchasing books upfront when I didn’t know if it would work or not. I started the whole family on Failsafe following this booklet to the best of my ability.

To my absolute surprise, within 24 hours I had a totally different daughter. After 2 weeks of no tantrums my husband was forced to agree that the diet made a huge difference also. I reclaimed my calm, happy and pleasant daughter which was very emotional for me because I had forgotten how sweet she could be. The entire household was calmer (mainly down to my 8 year old’s improvement but I did notice a slight improvement in behaviour in my other children in terms of them being less irritable and more cooperative) and I not only looked forward to picking up my daughter from school again but she would actually skip out to the car and greet me nicely - what a transformation. Her teacher reported her concentration in class was better and the sibling rivalry was what I would call normal. At this point I purchased the books and DVD. The recipe book is fantastic and gave me a larger variety of meals and baking options to choose from, plus a much more detailed shopping list.

I have struggled to keep my family Failsafe, mainly due to time constraints, but there are a few dietary changes which have stuck. For example, I bake my own bread now, my 8 year old daughter drinks magic cordial instead of commercial cordial and uses 100% maple syrup on her toast instead of honey, peanut butter or vegemite/promite, and I purchase Failsafe grocery products whenever I can. She doesn’t consume much fruit as this is an area where she has developed several aversions over the years. Overall, we seem to have reached a happy balance whereby we are no longer 100% Failsafe but my daughter’s behaviour has improved immensely.

Thank you for your wonderful website and all the incredible insight into the world of additives. I truly had no idea. – Nikki, by email

[785] Morning sickness and intolerance to lactose, salicylates and amines (June 2009)

I have been failsafe now for 4 1/2 years and am very sensitive to salicylates, all of the artificial additives I have challenged, lactose, and especially amines. In my first two pregnancies I had strong cravings for cheese, cheese flavoured snacks, and cola soft drinks, I also had horrendous morning sickness (actually all day sickness for the whole pregnancy), and during the second pregnancy I was hospitalised for dehydration due to non-stop vomiting. By my third pregnancy I had become more aware of my lactose intolerance and did not touch any dairy products or cheese flavoured anything (by luck I stuck to failsafe soymilk), thereby unwittingly eliminating almost all amines from my diet and a lot of the additives I normally consumed. I was so well throughout the pregnancy, compared to the first two. I stumbled across the Fed-Up book when my youngest child was 12 months old and as we worked out our intolerances I slowly realised why I had had such terrible ‘morning’ sickness. Now that I am so much healthier it is almost tempting to conduct a Failsafe experiment and have another baby just to see what a completely Failsafe pregnancy would be like. However three is enough right now. – Jen, NSW

[782] Morning sickness and other symptoms in mother and children due to diet (June 2009)

We only found out about "Fed Up With Food Additives" when Maternal & Child Health nurse suggested we look at a possible problem with food chemicals for our youngest child’s (14 months) eating disorder. However, now that I think about it, I was violently ill during my pregnancies after eating high salicylate foods - particularly broccoli, cucumber and citrus fruits – even the smell of these foods would make me queasy.

My IBS symptoms have cleared up since I have reduced the number of high salicylate foods in my diet (I was doing it for the kids so also have adjusted my husband's diet and my own). I used to think I was doing the right thing by eating a huge fruit salad every day, and wondered why my digestive system was so messed up. I have also suffered from a hives-like rash all over my thighs for the past few years and couldn't work it out - I now have long rash free periods after avoiding dried fruit as much as possible, as well as msg, yeast extract, 627, 635 etc. We avoid additives as much as possible but occasionally I slip up and we really notice the effects now.

My 9 year old daughter seems to become very vague and forgetful with amines - especially cheese - and we have found our 3 year old son to react badly to glutamates - he becomes quite aggressive and uncontrollable. The other thing we have noticed is the effect of colours - my daughter becomes very silly and hyperactive - for example, today she had a ‘slushie’ at the local shops that a family member bought for her - tonight she is jumping all over the house, falling off chairs, making silly noises and facial expressions etc. But I'm sure you've heard all of this before!

I have found the effects on my kids particularly interesting, as when I was a child, I was unable to have food with MSG (I got severe migraines including vomiting) and red-coloured foods/cordial made me vomit badly. Thank you so much for really making a difference to our lives. – Michelle by email

[799] Warning: Perfumes in masks for kids’ anaesthetics (June 2009)

I work in an operating theatre. One day last week we had a few kids on the list and I asked what the awful smell was. The result after process of elimination was, it was the oxygen masks. It seems that the kid size oxygen masks now come scented. I'm referring to the masks they hold over the face as the patient is going to sleep. I asked why they are scented and apparently it's supposed to be less stressful for the kid if it can smell something nice.

SO, to the parents of kids that are sensitive to smells, make sure you ask the anaesthetist about the masks if your child needs an operation. I don't know if we've still got unscented ones, I couldn't find any (but that doesn't mean anything). I made a point of letting them know it could cause major issues for kids with problems and all I could get as a response was, "but it's non allergenic". AARRGGGHHHH!! We've got cherry and strawberry, which don't really smell like they should. - Jane, by email (Like the fruit they represent, strong fruit flavoured perfumes will be high in salicylates).

[797] Behaviour and night terror induced by potassium sorbate (202) in Panamax (June 2009)

When my son had a nasty chest infection/bronchitis I gave him crushed up Panamax paracetamol 4-hourly for a couple of days, as well as the inners of amoxil capsules.

A couple of days later, his behaviour was absolutely shocking and it culminated in him having a night terror one evening, the most severe one he has had since being failsafe since last September.

I knew something was going on, and I decided to check up about Panamax – and discovered it has potassium sorbate (202) in it. We have not yet done any challenges on additives as we already avoid dairy and salicylates, so decided to pretty much stay additive-free. However, we do seem to be okay with moderate amounts of pure MSG and amines.

I strongly suspect that his behaviour and night terror were induced by the preservative 202. What angers me more is that I was completely unaware of the existence of the preservative in this product, due to the lack of these medicine companies having to label their products. Our kids are already sick when we need to give these drugs to them, and they need to get better, but how can they when their body is also trying to fight against an artificial preservative?

Even when I asked at the chemist for a preservative-free paracetamol, they were not able to tell me what was in the products they sold. If only we could have good information about what is in these medical items, ie. through labelling. I don’t accept the excuse that there isn’t enough room on the packaging – if a box of soap can list its numerous chemical ingredients, so should a box of pain relief or any other medicine.

Please use our experience in your endeavours to fight for better information labelling on medicines – it’s our kid’s future. – Joanne, Vic

Update: this reader was using an old box of Panamax. The formulation hasn’t changed but the labelling has: Panamax boxes now list potassium sorbate on the label. For young children, ask for our recipe for additive-free children’s paracetamol. (We would like to hear any other reports of reactions to sorbates – email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

[804] Fragrance free spray on deodorant for fussy hubby makes a difference (June 2009)

Just a quick note to say thanks! I react very badly to any synthetic style fragrances and hubby refuses to use a roll on. My pharmacy ordered in the QV unscented spray deodorant you recommended and fussy hubby has used it no problems. I also bought the Schick sensitive shave gel (unscented) that was mentioned in the newsletter (Big W stocks it). No more headaches, watery eyes and sneezing for me in the morning now. WooHoo! – Danielle, by email

[802] One-liners (June 2009)

"I thought I would let you know that one of the dietitians recommended on the list you kindly mailed me was extremely helpful and was exactly the help I needed with the elimination diet I had begun. I cannot recommend her highly enough. I think it is too difficult to complete an elimination diet with just an outline of the diet from the doctor (as it was in my case) as your only guide" - Donna, Qld

"Failsafe (in a nut shell) saved our daughter and family! Thank you for the change in our family and quality of life for our daughter!!!! It means so much to have people like you out there!!!" – Angie, USA.

"We have been following failsafe since November last year and the changes have been wonderful. If there is an occasional slip-up then we know about it! My son doesn't have violent tantrums any more. He still gets upset over things, but we can reason with him and he calms down quickly. My daughter doesn't wet the bed unless she has salicylates so we can minimise that." - Alison, NSW.

"Your work is very admirable and I personally thank you for educating me about food and their effects on our health / behaviour. You both deserve an award for what you do!" - Kelly, QLD is this one too many Your work type comments?

“It's of comfort (and inspiring) for me to know there are others doing FS, GF, DF and low fructose” – by email - see our new fructose malabsorption factsheet

“Regarding chemicals not food: my son had an allergic reaction to the current Auskick brown and yellow striped socks. I forgot to wash the socks before he wore them (as recommended by the manufacturer). He got hives on his feet and ankles” – Lara, by email

“Your books and the Failsafe Network are huge lifelines for me with my 2 year old daughter who has IBS reactions to a wide range of foods and food chemicals” - Janelle by email

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.

Here are some key updates from that list:


Success with pears in syrup! We are pleased to announce that, thanks to lobbying by Food Intolerance Network members, Woolworths will be bringing back pears in syrup once their current stocks are exhausted. Thanks to members and Woolworths. Coles have also advised that they will continue to stock pears in syrup, from South Africa.


More A2 products Freedom Foods are considering making A2 cream, ice-cream, yoghurt and cheese. Their website has a survey running for them to determine which would be the most desired product to introduce first. You can win money by participating in the survey. I've emailed them telling them that I would buy all of the A2 products they produce. Perhaps other failsafers might like to contact them also and let them know their interest. If they know there is a big demand for it, they may hurry up and start production. Website address is www.a2australia.com.au – thanks to Tam


Little Lolly Shop Alison at the www.littlelollyshop.com wants to let everyone know that, although she was flooded out in the first Coffs Harbour floods and she is still living in a motel room six weeks later, her business is still going.


***WARNING*** Maggi Noodles The actual noodles in Maggi 2-minute noodles used to be OK, but now contain synthetic antioxidant 319 TBHQ, so not even these are failsafe.


***WARNING*** Willow Confectionery This company has been sold and may not now be allergen free. We no longer recommend these products. Thanks to Lyndall


Failsafe sausages and organic meats in Sydney Sam the Butcher switched to organic when he himself developed an allergy to the preservatives used in meats. His 4th shop in Sydney opens in July 2009: Shop2/279-295 Crown St, Surry Hills OR you can order your failsafe sausages online and have them delivered for free: http://www.samthebutcher.com.au/


Failsafe sausages in Penrith NSW Bush's Meat in Centro Nepean Shopping Centre Station Street Penrith now stock both chicken and beef failsafe sausages (new listing – always check the recipe for yourself). The butcher said there have been a few people asking about these. They get a delivery once a week on a Friday and they always have plenty in stock. - Debra


Dishwashing-up liquids Hard to get a hold of, but absolutely fantastic, is the Seventh Generation Free and Clear Dishwashing Liquid (http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Free-and-Clear). It is the only truly smell-free liquid and it works brilliantly – thanks to Anna


Dishwasher powders We recently got a new dishwasher. I made the mistake of using the free Finish powerball tablet that came with it. It stank the whole house out for days, I don't know how anyone can use that stuff. I use 'ECO Store Auto Dishwash Powder' which has a mild citrus smell but is bearable. There are no harsh chemicals in the powder which I think makes a big difference. Vinegar makes a great rinse aid but mind and avoid the smell if you are salicylate intolerant - I find it makes me feel quite ill. – thanks to Anna. Squeek brand is supposed to be lower in chemicals, has no phosphate and is Australian owned and made. When I use Finish we can all smell it right through the house but we can't smell Squeek at all. Available from Woolworths supermarkets, thanks to Debbie.


Hair Products I use Natural Oil Workers Unscented shampoo and conditioner and have been doing so for some time now. You get it from health food shops, it is in a bright blue bottle and is quite economically priced compared to other products ($9 for 500mL). It is based on coconut oil. I find it works far better than any other products I have used, you don't get the usual build-up and it has no smell at all. I was a little worried about reacting to it but haven't had any noticeable problems. Ingredient List for the shampoo is: Coconut Oil, Mountain fresh water, glycerine, sodium chloride, citric acid, natural emulsifier derived from vegetable castor oil, canpres BNPD a herbal preservative. The Conditioner is similar. – thanks to Anna


Pain medication I notice you mention Panadeine for extra pain relief but also mention Panadol brand has preservative. I react to Panadol so avoid all their products. I needed a stronger painkiller last week and went searching. I found Terry White chemists own brand 'Extra Strong Pain Relief' which has no gluten, yeast, artificial colouring, preservatives or alcohol. According to the pharmacist is also has no flavourings. I used these for a week without any major trouble so thought it might help for other people to know of as it is pretty horrible to be worrying about having a major reaction to your medication when you are already sick! – thanks to Anna



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. I read somewhere that McDonalds Soft serve was okay (if you don't eat the cone). Is this true???


A. When I checked the McDonald's website in May 09 (you can search Google for <McDonalds ingredients>), the Soft Serve mix contained water, sugar, non fat milk solids, butterfat, glucose solids, coconut oil, four vegetable gums and added flavour. According to RPA, coconut oil is high in both salicylates and amines but as the sixth ingredient this would be OK occasionally. The flavour is probably vanilla and would be OK if not too strong. The cone contains artificial colour (110) so is definitely not failsafe - you can usually ask for icecreams in a paper cup. Thanks to Nicole.


Q. My son adores peanut butter, and I m having a big struggle to find a substitute for him. I have tried the cashew paste in your cookbook, but he hates it. I also notice that Freedom Foods soy butter is no longer available. Yesterday however I came across a product called Eskals FreeNut Butter. The ingredients are sunflower seed (85% minimum), sugar, emulsifier (471), salt and antioxidant (306). Is it considered failsafe?


A. Unfortunately, Freenut Butter is NOT failsafe because sunflower seeds are listed as high in salicylates and amines by RPA. For children who hate cashew paste, try the option with carob powder added, it’s much nicer. Thanks to Annette.


Q. My 2 year old daughter is addicted to salicylates - she loves breaking into the bathroom and sucking on her minty Wiggles baby paste. Is there a low fluoride plain toothpaste for kids?


A. Young children shouldn’t swallow fluoride toothpaste, because too much fluoride can affect the formation of permanent teeth and possibly other health problems. An advantage of plain toothpaste – other than lack of salicylates - is that children aren’t tempted to eat it. Normal toothpastes contains about 1 mg of fluoride per gram of toothpaste and low fluoride toothpaste contains about half that. I don’t know of any low fluoride children’s toothpastes that are free of both flavours and colours but you can use Plain Toothpaste from Oral Hygiene Solutions (http://www.oralhygienesolutions.com/page/plain_toothpaste.html) or Soul Pattinson pharmacies. The current medical recommendation for children under six is to use only a pea size amount of low fluoride toothpaste or a smear of regular fluoride toothpaste twice a day.


Q. Our school has announced they are installing new carpet in my son’s classroom. Can you put me in touch with some information about why this is not acceptable for my food and chemically sensitive son?


A. The Carpet Institute of Australia has finally come around to admitting that some carpets contain hazardous chemicals that are dangerous to health. They have identified 13 "chemicals of concern" (some of these are known carcinogens!), see http://www.carpetinstitute.com.au/pdf. Some carpets are now certified according to health standards regarding emissions of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) - at the very least you could ask your school to install a certified carpet. Other options include moving to another class or using special air filters. The Total Environment Centre in Sydney is a consumer support centre (like the Food Intolerance Network but better funded). They can supply you with more information about environmental chemicals and indoor air quality: www.tec.org.au.


Q. After attending one of your seminars about 4 years ago we have managed to change our now 15 year old daughter’s life by eliminating preservatives, colours and flavours. We are travelling to the USA shortly and we feel that the issue of her eating will be a problem. Any advice on how we can get around this issue both on the flights and on the ground in America?


A. We took our teenagers around the world, including the USA, in 2001. You can see the full story http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/support-factsheets/additives-around-the-world. Australian failsafers often join the failsafeUSA group for a few months before their trip (email with subscribe in the subject line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). You can see a list of failsafe foods in the USA http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/USAfoodlist2010.pdf


My recommendation about traveling is to cater for yourself whenever possible. For flights, take your own food. I always pack lots of sandwiches – e.g. preservative free cream cheese with finely sliced celery (or cucumber if you can manage salicylates) travels well. If you happen to find any food in airline meals or airports that you can eat, regard that as a bonus. In airports, you can often ask for a milkshake/smoothie with nothing but banana (or real mango) and milk. Contributions from readers are welcome: email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Q. My 12 yr old son has taken penicillin for tonsillitis twice in the last two months. Both times I have noticed my son’s behaviour became much more moody and disobedient. The medication was LPV capsules. Could there be a problem with the drug itself or am I looking for an unlisted culprit?


A. I did a Google search in May 09 for <LPV capsules> and found the CMI (Consumer Medicines Information) leaflet at http://www.mydr.com.au/medicines/cmis/lpv-capsules. The "inactive" ingredients are listed at the bottom of the CMI. They include three artificial colours which are listed by names and Colour Index (CI) numbers but are also known as colours 110, 127 and 133 – all artificial colours we recommend to avoid. At that time, the CMI claimed "LPV does not contain gluten, sucrose, tartrazine or any other azo dyes" but this is incorrect as sunset yellow (110) is an azo dye. I notified the manufacturer and they promised to change it. You can see more information and a list of Colour Index numbers on our Medications factsheet.


Q. My daughter recently went from taking 10mg Losec to 20mg (half twice a day). I noticed the colour of the tablets is quite different. When I contacted the manufacturer they told me that the darker colour in the 20mg is due to the fact that it has iron oxide red and iron oxide yellow in it (although they did say there is also a small amount of iron oxide red in 10mg) do you know anything about these colours and whether they are OK or should be avoided?


A. Iron oxides (red, yellow and black) are all variations on natural colour 172. They are considered to be well tolerated by failsafers and were consumed without problems for years in the RPA-recommended Macro M vitamin supplements that have since been discontinued.


Q. Could Vegeta stock powder be causing my son’s bad behaviour? We have it nearly every night.


A. Yes it could. The vegetable flavour Vegeta gourmet stock powder contains MSG (flavour enhancer 621) which has been associated with a range of reactions including behaviour. The other Vegeta flavours (chicken, beef and chicken salt reduced) contain the newer flavour enhancer disodium inosinate (627) which seems to cause even more problems than MSG.


Q. Can you tell me if processed eucheuma seaweed listed as a stabiliser in a homemade icecream mix is failsafe?


A. Processed eucheuma seaweed is vegetable gum (407a) also known as PNG-carrageenan or semi-refined carrageenan. Vegetable gums are regarded as failsafe although if eaten in large quantities or by extra sensitive people they may cause symptoms of IBS such as stomach discomfort and bloating. The other version of carrageenan (commonly known as additive 407) is controversial because some studies have suggested it is carcinogenic. However, others say that only degraded carrageenan (never used in food) is carcinogenic.


Q. My son has been getting into serious trouble at school and has been hitting children (he does not have ADHD). At home, we seem to have a very difficult time with him. Our children eat at least 3 fruits a day - mainly kiwi, pineapple, mangoes, apples and tangerines - and these seem to be the worse offenders.


A. Most of the fruits you mention wouldn’t have been eaten every day by young children 30 years ago. Kiwi fruit, pineapples and citrus are all rated as very high in natural chemicals called salicylates and amines that are known to cause behavioural effects and most varieties of apples are high in salicylates. Blueberries, strawberries, grapes and sultanas are some other fruits commonly eaten every day by young children that can cause problems. Some families can see improvements by avoiding additives and possibly reducing fruit and tomato intake, while others get best results through doing the RPA elimination diet supervised by a dietitian. This family saw a big improvements when they cut out additives.



Around the groups: getting in touch


New factsheets Factsheets are becoming our major way of making information available, now in printable format as well as online.


Women’s health and diet, covering Premenstrual symptoms (PMS/PMT), Period pain (dysmenorrhea), absence of periods (amenorrhea), painful or heavy periods, Morning sickness, Pregnancy, breastfeeding and young babies, Postnatal depression, Infertility, Symptoms of menopause, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), Cystitis, Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS), Urinary urgency, incontinence, bedwetting, bladder problems, Thrush, candida, Breast cancer and Combining failsafe and very low fat


Additives in medication, answering questions like Why aren't all ingredients listed on the label?, What DO they have to list on the label?, How can I find out if my medication contains nasty additives? Why can't I understand the names of the colours in my medication? And what you can do.


Fructose malabsorption


Artificial colours around the world. Why are the regulations all different?


Psyllium and constipation




Talking point


Sorbate preservatives If you have seen a reaction to sorbates, please let us know. If you would be prepared to challenge sorbates, you can follow the RPA rules of challenge: wait for 3 symptom free days in a row, eat preserved cottage cheese, low fat spreads or Philly cheese every day for 3 days or stop when you see a reaction. If you already know you aren’t sensitive to salicylates and amines you could use Tip Top muffins which contain both vinegar and sorbates. Please let us know what happens. See other foods on the new Sorbates factsheet and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Can you help?


Food intolerance survey: advance notice of upcoming survey and request for participants


My name is Dr Karena Burke, and I am currently working as a researcher in Rockhampton. I have recently been awarded a small grant to examine the relationship between food sensitivities and psychological health, and would like to invite everyone who is part of the Food Intolerance Network to participate. The project focuses on the symptoms felt by both adults and children, and also looks at the added pressures people with a food intolerance face when it comes to making decisions about food. The survey is targeted at everyone, you or your children do not need to have a food intolerance to participate, however I would like as many people as possible who do have an intolerance themselves, or care for someone who does, to take part.


The survey will be available in online form in coming weeks (I anticipate by mid-July), with a link provided on the Food Intolerance Network site. If you have any queries or questions please feel free to contact me via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


New OMO Sensitive 2x concentrate Has anyone has tried the? We would like to hear about good or bad reports - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Support in northern NSW Mother in Tweed River area (northern NSW, southern QLD) would like to hear from other mothers about a local support group. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Japan Are there any people or organizations in Japan with knowledge of food intolerance? Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




More than 1.6 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.




Coming talks by Sue Dengate - full detail at http://fedup.com.au/information/support/fedup-roadshow-talks


July 2009


Norfolk Island Thursday 2


August 2009


Bingara NSW Monday 17

Warialda NSW Monday 17

Inverell NSW Tuesday 18

Windsor NSW Thursday 20

Killara (Sydney) Monday 24

Springwood (Blue Mountains) NSW Tuesday 25

Tumbarumba NSW Wednesday 26

Albury/Wodonga NSW/VIC Thursday 27

Wangaratta VIC Monday 31


September 2009


Melbourne (East) VIC Tuesday 1

Ballarat VIC Wednesday 2

Mildura VIC Thursday 3

Tatiara SA Saturday 5

Adelaide SA Wednesday 9


Thanks to organisers of talks at Yamba and Coffs Harbour (Paul, Enid, Maria, Kerry) for their successful efforts during the recent heavy weather.


Coming talks in Melbourne by Kathleen and Jenny of Additive Education http://www.additiveeducation.com.au




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 $A0.33 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.




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




Sausage Sizzles and School Fetes: two tips from the SAFE Newsletter, thanks Kathleen, Jenny & Marianne www.additiveeducation.com.au


  • Organise an 'Additive Free Option' when there's a sausage sizzle at your school! Send a note home with a slip to be returned with the money prior to the day. Some schools organise it this way already, to minimise wastage. One school that offered this was amazed by the number of families that were happy to pay an extra $1 for an additive free sausage in bread. Their local Brumby's supplied bread at no cost, which was spread with Nuttelex and topped with a FAILSAFE sausage. See http://www.honestbeef.com.au/ for preservative free sausages, if you've not got your local butcher trained up yet!


  • At school fetes, fairy floss can be made without the pink colouring. It still tastes exactly the same so it's a perfect Additive Free treat. Ask the Fairy Floss Machine hire company to ensure it's cleaned to remove all traces of pink. I've done this before (called it SNOW) and made just as much money as a pink floss stall and also used it as an opportunity to hand out information to the community too.



BBQ choko: cook choko quartered, peeled, with some salt and oil in foil on the bbq (Ihad never eaten choko before, I LIKE it!)- thanks to Petra


One-minute omelette: break egg into a mug or bowl and beat well, pour into a well oiled saucer, microwave on high for one minute or until set. Good in sandwiches, wraps, foldies – thanks to Jill


Nic’s Chicken Nuggets

I made chicken nuggets with just chicken breast but my 5yo is a bit lazy when it comes to chewing. So for a more commercial look and texture I made up the following.


2-3 potatoes peeled, boiled and mashed

500g chicken mince

Chives chopped

Garlic (optional)


Mix all together and shape into nuggets. In another bowl beat an egg. Dip nuggets into egg. Then mix together rice crumbs and toasted fresh breadcrumbs and roll egg dipped nuggets into this mix. (Bit messy!). I shallow fried mine in wok for colour and then transferred them to baking tray and finished them off in moderate oven. YUM! – Thanks to Nicole


Home-made flour tortillas

A surefire way of getting my 2 boys (age 5 and 3.5) to eat a meal is to wrap it in a tortilla. I was dismayed at the number of additives in our favourite brand so now we make our own and my boys love helping.


3 cups of plain flour

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup failsafe oil eg canola

1 cup of warm water


I make up the dough in the breadmaker and then cut, roll and cook but you can make it without a breadmaker. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the oil and water, and mix with a fork or blunt knife until a soft dough forms. Transfer to a floured board and knead for five minutes until smooth. Put in a clean bowl, cover and stand in a warm place for an hour. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each out into a 20cm circle – this might take practice. Heat frypan over medium heat and dry cook tortilla for one minute each side, pushing down gently if it puffs up a bit. Stack on a plate and serve immediately or allow to cool, stack, wrap in foil, then freeze. Can be reheated in microwave or pan. - thanks to Anne


Poached tamarillos in syrup

A good source of Vitamin C and A, tamarillos are rated as moderate in salicylates, no amines.


4 tamarillos

1 cup sugar

1 cup water


Dip each tamarillo into boiling water for 1 minutes, then the skin should be easily peeled off. Boil sugar and water and slip in sliced tamarillos for about 3 minutes. Serve as a topping over failsafe custard, yoghurt or icecream.


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, Jenny, Anne, Sheryl, Alison, Lyndal, Janine, Nancy, Margo, Cassie, Peta, Nicole, Annette 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).