Failsafe 83 May - September 2016


The Food Intolerance Network provides information and support for 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.

Download as a pdf.


Fedup Roadshow 2016

The suicide report: “This diet is FREAKING AMAZING …”

7 things I loved in France – a failsafer’s survival guide - with a recipe

Now targeting: Petition to remove annatto 160b from Unilever Australia's Streets products

Research: CSPI update 2016 on artificial colours; Food sensitivity and the brain; Food processing enzyme responsible for increase in coeliac and gluten intolerance?; Is increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases due to industrial food processing and food additive consumption?

In brief: An antibiotic added to your food products; Three key issues for food intolerant people never addressed by food regulator FSANZ

Your questions: I am quite confused about the different food lists available which advise on salicylate content of food. I am wondering if the foods have been retested or whether they have been re-categorized based on multiple food chemicals?; Why should I see a dietitian for eczema?; I’m worried that the elimination diet and failsafe eating are not nutritious.

Success stories: [1383] – [1397]

Failsafe shopping list: new products, warnings

Factsheets: Colds and flu; suicide prevention by diet

Support community: Failsafers talking to each other

Cook's corner: Nomato or No-Tomato Sauce; Chicken soup; Pear sorbet; Toffee; Aligot for failsafers

Thanks and admin:



Howard and I are busy preparing for the Fedup Roadshow 2016 later in August. Your only chance this year to hear my presentation and catch up with other failsafers, from Brisbane to Melbourne and in between. Please book ahead.

Recently we received the Most Liked reader story ever, about depression and suicidal thoughts: "this diet is FREAKING AMAZING... ".   A quick look in our database turned up more than 50 similar reports of self harm and suicidal thoughts/actions improved by diet. The result is our compelling - and scary - suicide prevention by diet factsheet and blog.

Plus we had a report of a shocking reaction "he could no longer walk on his own, no longer read or write ... distorted vision ..." to annatto 160b in a 12 year old: "After reading ALL the labels almost EVERY FOOD ITEM HE WAS EATING contained Annatto."  These were two Courage Awards shown below with other supportive and useful stories.

An article in a recent food industry newsletter asked: "Time to replace carmine... Is the growing consumer demand for clearer labels putting you under pressure?" - Carmine is natural colour 120 made from cochineal beetles, one of the two natural colours that can cause true food allergies. The other is annatto, much worse in our experience. If we put enough pressure on the food industry, they will change their products.

So if you haven't signed our annatto petition yet, please do (6.074 people have signed so far).


Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate


Fedup Roadshow 2016

Sue Dengate will be at 11 venues in August-September as follows, your only chance this year to hear her amazing presentation. Please book ahead

Coffs Harbour NSW Wednesday August 17
Brisbane (Bardon) QLD Thursday August 18
Brisbane (Springwood) QLD Monday August 22
Newcastle NSW Tuesday August 23
Sydney (Rouse Hill) NSW Wednesday August 24
Sydney (Cronulla) NSW Thursday August 25
Melbourne (Mornington) VIC Monday August 29
Melbourne (Wyndham Vale) VIC Tuesday August 30
Melbourne (Essendon & Moonee Ponds) VIC Wednesday August 31
Albury (Jindera) NSW Thursday September 1
Canberra ACT Monday September 5


The suicide report: “This diet is FREAKING AMAZING …”

“A silent killer”, said the headline in our local paper last week, because suicide figures in our community have more than doubled recently. Despite this, they wrote, suicide is often not spoken about.

So I had a look at the success stories in our database and thought: right, let’s talk about suicide.


What the science says about food and suicidal thoughts 

In a big study of patients at the RPAH (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) allergy clinic back in 1986, researchers acknowledged that food reactions could include depression that is sometimes “sufficiently intense to provoke suicidal thoughts” .

“The diet that saved my life”

Our readers agree. “I have been suicidal for the past two years  …” wrote a young woman from the UK:

“But today, ONE FREAKING DAY ON THIS WONDER DIET, I got up, showered and got dressed (a genuine achievement)…I had the best day in months and months…I wasn't in a bad headspace, I wasn't anxious, I was sensible, productive and most of all – HAPPY …– Ffion from the UK

Ffion isn’t the only one. In our database there are more than 50 reports from people whose suicidal thoughts, actions or self-harm have improved on diet.

All ages

Not only adults are affected.  “I’m really concerned; we’ve had some suicides of some very young kids this year” – the Coffs-Clarence Local Area Command Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said in our local newspaper.

The people in our database stories range from very young to seniors. Here is the one about suicidal thoughts in an 8 year old:

“Before diet, my eight year old daughter was mildly depressed, as well as lethargic, pale, anxious, dizzy and "spacy". Her amine challenge resulted in severe depression including bouts of suicidal thoughts and almost psychotic agitation. Based on pre-diet behaviours, she was classified as having a highly anxious temperament. A number of health professionals have told us they expect to see her back during her teenage years, meaning so they can give her antidepressants. However after two years failsafe she shows no signs of mental illness in any form and no longer seems a candidate for anxiety and depression“ – read more story [341]

And you can see for yourself a video message from this teenager for whom medication didn’t work, and diet was a miraculous cure:

“I’m 17 years old. I was diagnosed with depression…at the age of six. I tried to kill myself 3 times. My mum found the failsafe diet. She put me on it and within a week we saw a change. I wasn’t as sick…my depression basically vanished…I’ve been really happy ever since. It basically saved my life…”


Diet as a last resort

Food intolerance is NOT commonly understood, so most people come to us as a last resort – sometimes too late, as in this story:

“It is a shame that [my family] didn't know the links between their symptoms and food intolerances.…there have been two suicides and one diagnosed schizophrenic who tried many times to take his own life. I read your book as soon as I could get my hands on it. If only my family had been aware of these things years ago there may have been a few lives saved as well as a lot of sanity! “– read more story [042] 

Most doctors don’t know anything about diet …

Doctors don’t usually know anything about the RPAH elimination diet.  So anyone who sees a doctor is likely to end up on antidepressants.

Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide

Most people don’t realise that antidepressant medication such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and other SSRIs - with different names in different countries – are not as safe and effective as thought at first.

  • SSRI antidepressants can double the risk of self harm, suicide or murder
  • SSRI antidepressants are no more effective than placebo in treating mild to moderate depression
  • SSRI antidepressants can cause a side effect called akathisia – a state of severe can’t-sit-down restlessness associated with thoughts of death and violence, combined with emotional blunting that can lead to out-of-character actions such as suicide, mass shootings, and plane crashes due to pilot suicide
  • SSRI antidepressants have been overhyped regarding benefits and underreported regarding dangers by the pharmaceutical industry that has worked systematically to deceive doctors, regulators and the public and to discredit whistleblowers
  • SSRI antidepressants can be dangerous for people can't metabolise them due to common genetic mutations of the CYP450 system of enzymes. Some doctors now suggest that people could be genetically tested before taking antidepressants – like have your blood type tested before having a blood transfusion
  • SSRI antidepressants can cause severe withdrawal symptoms

People for whom antidepressants don’t work can do extremely well on diet (Parker & Watkins 2002, and our reader stories). It has been shown that children with food intolerance are slow or null metabolisers of cysteine dioxygenase which is one of the CYP450 enzymes (Breakey 2004), the same enzyme system that cause problems with psychiatric drug intolerance.  It is possible that intolerance to antidepressants and food chemicals may be due to the same mechanism. 

What are the alternatives to antidepressants?

Antidepressants should only be used as a last resort, and psychological therapies should be used as the first-line treatment, according to latest NHS guidelines in the UK.  Unsurprisingly, diet doesn’t get a mention, because most people don’t realise how effective the RPAH elimination diet can be compared to other dietary treatments.

Update from Ffion (“this diet is FREAKING AMAZING”)

[one month later]…Before this diet I was surviving, and now I am genuinely, for the first time in my whole life, living life to the full. “ – Ffion from the UK, read full story [1395]

 7 things I loved in France – a failsafer’s survival guide - with a recipe

Howard and I walked 900 km (over 500 miles) mostly in France on the Camino pilgrim trail. How does a failsafer, normally low to moderate in salicylates, amines and glutamates, manage in France? We usually try to self-cater while travelling, but pilgrim inns in France serve communal meals. We did enjoy that French cooking is generally so good.  Most French people appreciate quality and are prepared to put effort into buying fresh food (which is a lot cheaper there than here) – although there are signs that is changing.

The “holiday effect” says that you can manage more salicylates and other food chemicals while on holidays because you are more relaxed. Stress is one of the 5 non-food factors contributing to food intolerance reactions (the others are illness, chemical exposure including medications, hormones and age).

The “exercise effect” adds more. Sometimes we suffered from an overdose of sals or amines but mostly we got away with much more than expected. In particular, difficulty falling asleep, frequently night waking or any other sleep disturbance was simply NOT a problem. We walked for 45 days from the volcanic spires of Le Puy in France to Los Arcos in Spain, an average of 20 kms a day in about 6 hours carrying either day packs or our full 10kg backpack.

In addition, French people use subtle fragrances, unlike Australia where we have to carry our own air purifier for accommodation when travelling, NOT ONCE did I feel uncomfortable due to for example, fragranced cleaning products or automatic fragrance dispensers in toilets or bedrooms.

See many more details in my blog about France, including a recipe for Aligot, a peasant potato and cheese dish - Sue Dengate



Petitioning Unilever Australasia: Hundreds of reports show food colouring Annatto 160b is harmful to children - urgently remove from all Streets ice cream variations


Thanks for all who have shared their stories of nasty effects from this natural colour that is as bad as any artificial colour.



CSPI update 2016 on artificial colours

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) updated their ground-breaking 1999 paper on the effects of artificial colours with very recent science reviews and convincingly concluded that "conservatively, more than half a million children in the United States suffer adverse behavioral reactions from food dyes, with an estimated cost exceeding $5 billion per year—an entirely preventable cost. Removing dyes from the food supply is one of the few public health measures that could be deployed to reduce behavioral problems in children". One large meta-analysis found that "of six non-pharmacological treatment options for ADHD ...excluding synthetic food dyes was the most effective." No surprises but also no action from regulators in either USA or Australia/New Zealand, unlike the EU and UK years ago, who require a warning about artificial colours. If this recent evidence will not convince them to act, then clearly FSANZ are not making decisions based on either science or our kids' best interest.

Food sensitivity and the brain

Food intolerance is not new, nor were earlier researchers less observant than we are today. In fact, it is amazing how much we have forgotten. Now on our website is a fascinating database of 1750 scientific references on Food sensitivity and the brain from 1873 to 1991 in ascending date order - with thanks to Ms Janine Robinson and Professor Anne Ferguson (Dept of Medicine, University of Edinburgh UK), Dr Stephan Strobel (Institute of Child Health, London UK), and Dean Lines SA. Here’s an example (amines anyone?): Brown, R.C. The protein of foodstuffs as a factor in the cause of headache. Wisconsin Medical Journal (1920).19:337.

Food processing enzyme responsible for increase in coeliac and gluten intolerance?

Transglutaminase is considered to be the enzyme active in creating the symptoms of celiac disease and possibly gluten intolerance. This enzyme is also increasingly used in making re-formed meats, which consists of muscle scraps blasted off bones with steam then glued together using transglutaminases. The mechanism suggested is that the transglutaminase used in food processing increases the antigenic effects, reduces the ability of the gut to break down foreign proteins, and allows more antigenic proteins to cross the gut wall. The extent to which this enzyme is used in Australia is unknown: under the Food Standards Code, raw meat joined or formed into the semblance of a cut of meat, and formed or joined fish, need to have that fact declared whether coated or not. The presence of the approved enzyme is not required to be declared. Aaron Lerner and Torsten Matthias (2015). Possible association between celiac disease and bacterial transglutaminase in food processing: a hypothesis. Nutr Rev. 2015 Aug; 73(8): 544–552.

Is increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases due to industrial food processing and food additive consumption? 

Gut leakage is enhanced by many components including commonly used industrial food additives. Of particular concern are surfactants or emulsifiers added to foods which identical to the ones used in pharmaceutics as drug absorption enhancers, such as mono-and di-glycerides of fatty acids, sucrose esters of fatty acids, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, sodium/calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate and sorbitan esters of fatty acids and even lecithin. These are additives 470-492 among others and are not regarded as an issue for failsafers in terms of children’s behaviour. Aaron Lerner and Torsten Matthias (2015) Changes in intestinal tight junction permeability associated with industrial food additives explain the rising incidence of autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity Reviews, 2015-06-01, Volume 14, Issue 6, Pages 479-489.!/content/playContent/1-s2.0-S1568997215000245 



An antibiotic added to your food products

You might be surprised to find the food industry adding an antibiotic in your cream and dairy products, mayonnaise, tomato products, fruit juices, pasta, processed meat, eggs and alcoholic beverages, but that is what is happening with coninuing permission for the widespread use of nisin (234, E234), a bacteriocin which is type of antibiotic.

Russia, of all countries, raised the alarm, saying that nisin (often "bioengineered") "can promote resistance and increase the risk of transfer of antibiotic resistance to representatives of the intestinal microflora, as well as speeding up virulence and pathogenic potential of microorganisms which cause food borne illnesses.” However no action was taken by the JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME, CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD ADDITIVES, meeting in China in March 2016.

Three key issues for food intolerant people never addressed by food regulator FSANZ

We've just had to tell a friend that the reason that they spent a dreadful night of rashes and discomfort, and had to go to the doctor and use cortisone cream, was that they had eaten (for the first time) a food containing the MSG booster number 635 called 'ribonucleotides'. We also had to tell them that this nasty additive had been approved without scientific evidence and that years of lobbying our food regulator FSANZ had resulted in no response at all. Of course they were outraged, but that won't change anything. So we thought, what are the three worst additives at present that FSANZ is ignoring?

635 Ribonucleotides "the crystal meth of MSG"
160b Annatto “natural yellow colour”280-283
Propionates “preservative in everyday wraps and bread”

See more detail in blog


Q: I am quite confused about the different food lists available which advise on salicylate content of food. I am wondering if the foods have been retested or whether they have been re-categorized based on multiple food chemicals?

A: There are many so-called salicylate lists on the web and most are incorrect. The authoritative list is from Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. RPAH have modified the initial information from Anne Swain (which you can read here based on their extensive clinical experience. Typically foods were upgraded if they had more than one class of natural chemicals (eg salicylates AND amines).

If you have the RPAH Handbook you can see if the foods you mention have single chemical groups or more. For instance, onions are only sals but are Very High so I would say never failsafe. Tomatoes are sals, amines and glutamates and classed as High so a risk. Mangos are sals and amines and High so also a risk. Corn is sals and glutamates and High but might be tolerated every second day. Anything can be used as a challenge once you know what to look for.

The failsafe shopping list is our best guide to these figures: if it is in the list, it is low unless otherwise marked. If it is not in the list it is not failsafe. See many more references in the Salicylates factsheet

Q: Why should I see a dietitian for eczema?

“I am a 71 year old lady who has recently been confirmed as suffering from eczema after discomfort and disfigurement for years.  My Doctor believes I have a number of food Intolerances, gluten, casein, fructose (breath test positive), and also has me on Low Glycemic foods. My Lactose test was fine but he is still wary of Casein.  My husband and I are finding recipes to fit all of these intolerances impossible to find” - Lesley

Answer from Sue: I'm not surprised that you are having so much trouble. That would be an extremely difficult diet and I don't understand why your doctor has put you on it for eczema.

The diet that we support is the RPAH elimination diet from Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Their research has found the following triggers of eczema, from double blind placebo controlled studies by RPAH allergy unit published in 1986 (figures are approx):

•    50% reacted to salicylates, preservatives
•    40% reacted to artificial colours
•    30% reacted to amines, glutamates (flavour enhancers - but we think the new flavour enhancers approved in 1994 are much worse)
•    20% reacted to dairy foods, synthetic antioxidants e.g. 320
•    0%   reacted to gluten

Most people react to more than one compound. So it is possible to be affected by several.

The only way for you to know for sure what is affecting you is to do the strict elimination diet with challenges according to the RPAH protocols.

This is what RPAH researchers say about fructose and eczema from page 14 of the RPAH elimination diet handbook.

"...incomplete fructose absorption can cause stomach and bowel symptoms. It does not cause other symptoms such as ... skin rashes. These are more likely to be due to other food chemical intolerances”.

“Breath hydrogen testing can measure fructose absorptive capacity but is of no value for diagnosis of intolerances."

You can read the first 33 pages of their book for free, at 

Some doctors and even some dietitians think that a low fructose diet is the same as a low salicylate diet, but this is not true. In our experience, the RPAH Elimination diet is the most effective elimination diet in the world. It is a diagnostic tool to help you work out exactly which foods are affecting you, and how. There are 3 steps: elimination, challenge, reintroduction. For best success we strongly recommend consulting one of the dietitians on our list.

How to find a supportive and experienced dietitian:

•    see our list at
•    If there are none close to you, an increasing number of dietitians are offering Skype, email or phone consultations worldwide

"As a dietitian who uses the RPAH Allergy Unit Elimination Diet in my everyday practice, I can assure you that it does work brilliantly in the majority of cases, in infants (via mother's breastmilk), in children and in adults as well. However, it needs to be done properly .... The diet should be supervised by an Accredited Practising Dietitian with experience in food-chemical intolerances and conducted as a test diet, for a limited period of time - usually only 3-4 weeks in duration. Occasionally it may go longer, but the dietitian ensures that nutrients are adequately compensated for. The challenges are then performed in a timely manner and the diet refined to be liberalised as much as possible, while only avoiding the problem foods long term. I have many, many satisfied clients who were fobbed off by other health professionals in the past, because they didn't 'believe' in food-chemical intolerance". - a letter from dietitian Joy Anderson that appears in the June 2013 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia InSight

A reader success story with eczema:

By the time she was three, my daughter was covered in eczema and watching videos all day as she couldn’t keep up with other children. We now have a healthy five-year- old after one year on the diet. Her energy improved within three weeks of starting the diet. Reading your book was a comfort as I thought I knew lots about allergy and eczema. She had been on the healthiest foods: wheat free, sugar free, chiropractors, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, biocom, skin specialists …

I was exhausted and pretty fed up when I started learning about failsafe foods. One year on we have a clear picture of what we can have and it is expanding every month. Sulphites, benzoates and salicylates are our main problems, but we stay off any preservatives and colours. Thank you for helping us. Reading your book helped me feel not so alone and laugh at some of the crazy mistakes I made. – story [543], see more at 

Q: I’m worried that the elimination diet and failsafe eating are not nutritious

A: Dietitians who supervise the RPAH elimination diet and challenges that leads to failsafe eating can help you with nutrition.

The feedback we get from them is that it is in fact very nutritious, like this one from "When three year old Ethan went on his elimination diet, a nutritional analysis of his diet showed that Ethan's daily intakes of calcium, iron, A, B and C vitamins and other nutrients were all above the recommended intake, especially folate which was more than four times the recommended level. In particular, the hearty chicken noodle soup/stew on page 16 that was a mainstay of his diet - he ate a serve nearly every day - was found to be highly nutritious.

Before Ethan started on his elimination diet, he was such a fussy eater that his mother had worried about his nutrition...."

RPAH assisted with both Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook in providing information for the What about Nutrition section (p189 in Fed Up and p224 in Cookbook).

"Our story is similar that Ethan's. The RPAH allergy clinic did a detailed analysis of my then 2 year old's diet and everything was fine and he was FS, GF, SF, legume free and vegetarian at the time" - Chanel


You can scroll through the full text of all stories: for every story we report, there are probably another 10 that cover similar issues. And these are just the ones we get to hear about. Names have been changed to protect privacy.
Success story collections: organised by symptom or by additive keywords are proving the most popular downloads from the website. They'll be added to as time permits.

As always there are too many stories to send them all out in a Newsletter, but so many are positive this time there are a lot of stories in full including two COURAGE AWARDS.

[1397] 160b: Another frightening reaction to ‘natural food colour’ annatto (June 2016) COURAGE AWARD

On December 4th 2015, my son (12, has Down Syndrome-but highly functioning), my daughter, and I were walking into our family doctor’s office to pick up a prescription. We were holding hands as there is a very busy medical center there and drivers often do not pay attention to pedestrians. Anyway, we were walking across the parking lot when suddenly my son stopped, jerked his hands away from us and began to scream "stranger!" But pointing at myself and my daughter. We tried to catch him but he kept pulling away, yelling help, and saying he didn't know us. I knew immediately by the look on his face that he was not playing a joke or kidding in any way. He truly looked afraid. I was terrified, my daughter was crying and yelling "momma, what's happening, what's wrong with him?"

I said we've got to get him inside- we yelled for the nurse and a couple of men who were there as patients, also assisted us in getting him inside. The staff knew immediately something was wrong and took us straight back to an exam room. The doctor came in and began a routine exam, drew blood, took urine, a blood pressure reading and temperature. Everything was within normal limits. He sent blood and urine off for stat testing and sent us to the hospital to a brain scan done (MRI), which was also normal. His urine came back positive for cysts and blood, but no bacteria. His liver test showed no signs of disease but appeared slightly enlarged on ultrasound. For 10 days we went through this hell of not knowing what to do or what could be wrong. Test after test. We were certain he had a stroke of some sort, or possibly a seizure. We could find no proof other than his disturbing behaviour. He could no longer walk on his own, he could no longer read or write. He had distorted vision that made him question everything he saw. He had fits of screaming as if in horrible pain. He was rocking constantly. He would stay awake 2 to 3 days at a time then sleep for only 4 hours. He couldn't hold a fork or spoon. He couldn't dress himself. He was terrified of water, and he was still having times he didn't recognize any of us. I stayed up late with my oldest daughter as she had moved in to help with her little brother until we could find out what was wrong. He had even had to go back to wearing diapers because he would pee and sadly even poop himself and not even realize what he had done.

The doctors said that they thought maybe puberty was coming for him and that some children with Downs were affected by this and regressed to 4 and 5 year old mentality. I just knew in my heart they were wrong. I believed that if it were what they said it would have happened gradually, not all at once. All I got were  “I’m sorry” and offers of strong medications to "control" him. I couldn't do that and I didn't accept that. I cried Christmas Eve and prayed with my daughters for a miracle. I put my youngest daughter to bed and my oldest daughter and I started putting things together for Christmas morning. We were wrapping the kids’ gifts and talking about Christmases past when my daughter said, "remember how their kid would only eat chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese and it was sick all the time"? She was speaking of an ex family member, but I suddenly interrupted and said "YES! I remember! It was something about food dye that Kraft was using in their mac and cheese!"

It hit me all at once, that was it, I knew in my heart immediately but how could I find out for sure. Suddenly I was looking up every food my son had eaten in the last month that was not completely made by me or put together by God (not being sarcastic). I pulled out boxes, went through food labels and if we had no more of something he had eaten , I looked it up online. He had been on a kick of 3 mini chocolate donuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a snack each afternoon and ate either Cheese Nips or MovieTime buttered microwave popcorn at night for a snack. He had been getting a "smoothie" made with Coffee Mate, ice, water, banana, vanilla, and sugar at breakfast with a poached egg and 2 sausage patties. His lunch was a Kraft single, and deli ham or turkey on whole wheat, with lettuce and tomato and frozen French fries that were oven baked. Supper meal was always a roasted meat and plain steamed vegetables, cottage cheese and sometimes a home-made bread or roll. After reading ALL the labels almost EVERY FOOD ITEM HE WAS EATING contained Annatto. The French fries, the crackers, the ice cream, the coffee mate, the popcorn, the cheese slice, EVERY meal except our evening meal contained Annatto. I knew I had been given the answer I needed. I started searching annatto online and kept getting RECIPES to prepare with it!!! I needed someone who knew it was bad for you too, someone who knew some people could not metabolize this stuff! I finally came across your site and read what you had to say. I had the verification I needed and now was gonna figure out how to flush that out of his body.

I immediately began using food grade diatomaceous earth on him by mixing it in unflavored yogurt. I gave him 15 drops of ConcenTrace Trace minerals in fresh squeezed orange juice that morning. I started giving him purified water and squeezing lemon in it or making him purified water with fruit infusion in it. Black tea with raw sugar or wild honey and the day after Christmas I got on Amazon and ordered bee pollen, green propolis, and more ConcenTrace minerals, plus concentrate vitamin paks.

I threw out every single annatto item I could find and flushed his system with all the good stuff I could get in him. It took about 7 days to hear him laugh again and within ten days he could walk straight. Three weeks before he could get his sense of comedic timing back and tell jokes like his old self and about a month before his vision cleared. I thank God so much for answering that prayer. That is truly all I could ever want. To know my son is gonna be ok. We had a setback lately however which is how I found your site again as I has forgotten to bookmark it. Anyway, he's been getting that look in his eyes again, like he's not sure who he's talking to. He's also has a couple of toilet accidents and not wanting to come out of his room because he's seeing shadows after him? Anyway, yesterday I found that his "all natural" real fruit juice gummy multivitamins contain none other than ANNATTO! These were recommended by our pharmacist. My (our) doctor, has listed Annatto on my sons chart as an allergen under "food and medications" now. He said he had it listed under food only, as he had no idea it was used in medications. The pharmacist said she had NEVER heard of it so she had no way of knowing it was used in vitamins (it was listed under ingredients on the bottle) anyway she wouldn’t refund the $35.00 for a product he should never have had. She swears her "autistic" son has taken them for years. I suggested that she take him off them and any other things with annatto in them, just to be sure he has autism at all. She told me there are always going to be "websites and parents out there looking for an excuse for their child's illness" and that sometimes we just have to accept what we are given. I just looked at her and said how happy I was for such "websites and parents" or I would have never had verification that I was on the right track with my son.

My son has not yet learned to read fully again and still can't write. But, I believe in time he will be completely himself. I am just shocked at how much a simple waxy seeded plant took from him and how hard we've had to fight to get him back from its clutches. I have seen some horrible things as a nurse, but I have to say I think the damage from Annatto his more harmful than any drug addiction I've ever seen and certainly needs much more attention from parents and the medical community. I don't know how it is in AU and European countries or in the Asian countries. I am sure that in the United States that this "natural," food additive is in far too many food items. Almost everything from cookies to casseroles contain this "poison" and the U.S. seems to have no plans to cut back on it. It is dangerous. Period. Sadly, too many people here are afraid they will have to cut out a food that their family just loves or their kids can't get by without its taste or convenience, so they would rather give them a pill to counteract it. Another sad reality is some parents find they can get a social security disability check for their children who have learning disabilities of things like attention deficit disorder, and they are not gonna give up that check for a cure (this is not ALL parents, but I have met MANY who call it their "fun money" for "having to take care" of such a child).

Thank you for letting me tell our story. I pray that its better every day and I will be far more diligent in my label checking, so I can be sure Annatto is out of our lives FOR GOOD ! I hope someone out there who even suspects that they or their child could be affected by a food additive that they try an elimination diet just to be sure. Just because everyone isn't bothered by it doesn't mean you or a loved one isn't. Doctors don't always have an answer. Trust me, our doctor is a great doctor and a good friend and he never even GUESSED something like this was affecting my son. I've had 5 children and been a nurse for 30 years and neither did I. If I hadn't had my memory jostled into remembering Kraft taking the dye out of their mac and cheese and all the complaints about it, I would never have thought to look it up. I would have never found your site and my son likely would be in a very bad situation right now and we would still be hopping from doctor to doctor in search of an answer. You will never know,....never know, how much stress we were under. How much fear I had that my son had some horrible disease creeping up on him and stealing away his life. That any moment he could possibly just stop eating, or breathing. I didn't know and no doctor could tell me otherwise. Now even though I haven't read of anyone's case as extreme as my son. What if they don't know. I think of children who have died from unknown causes and young people in institutions because their families couldn't care for them anymore because one day they started with an unknown illness they never could overcome. That could have been my son. He just turned 13. If I hadn't found out, how long could I have continued to change diapers and spoon feed him? Would he keep growing bigger?  Would he have gotten worse? He was already getting worse by the day. Would it have leveled off or continued? These thoughts are there now but not because I fear a return but because I fear there are others out there who are in the same position we were.

I pray not, but if there is someone out there, just try and see if it is something they have always liked or something that they started not long before. Flavored pudding, Ensure, yogurts, or any plain old everyday foods that everyone else eats. And remember, just because you've never had an allergy to a food or a reaction to an additive before does not mean you aren't now. Allergies can develop at ANY time.

I'm just thankful that a website like yours is out there to help point someone in the right direction. I appreciate it very much and hope you keep up the good work in letting people know what is out there and what can be done about it - Lynn from USA

(Sue's comment: Thanks to Lynn for sharing this amazing story. A few warnings: If you think you are affected by annatto 160b, you do not need to take any special products to detox. Simply stop consuming annatto - and expect some withdrawal symptoms within two weeks. For behavioural reactions, normally these present as a day or two of increased symptoms e.g. on days 4 and 5. Withdrawal symptoms can include agitation or tearfulness, followed by increasing improvements. Most people who realise they react to one food additive are likely to be affected by some other food additives - and possibly some "healthy" natural foods - as well).

Introduction to food intolerance

Reader reports of reactions to annatto in adults and children, from headaches and stomach aches to asthma and children's behaviour

Sign our petition about annatto

[1396] Salicylate challenge: rough skin, headache, shortness/acid persona, buzzing/whooshing in ears (June 2016)

I have never felt better over Christmas than I did this year on the elimination diet ... The salicylate challenge resulted in a small breakout of rough skin on the face, headache, shortness/acidity creeping back into persona, and in the quiet of going to bed I became aware that my ears had  a buzzing/whooshing sound pulsing in them...  The next day they felt as though they were blocked and I couldn't clear them or hear properly, like I had a cold but I didn't. - Vanessa

See also story collection on tinnitus and ringing in the ears, including [350] Hearing loss and tinnitus from salicylates

[1395] Depression: an update on what I'm calling "the diet that saved my life" (June 2016) COURAGE AWARD


First post: This diet is freaking amazing!

I have had extremely severe ADHD and Aspergers diagnosed from when I was six and depression so serious that I have been suicidal for the past two years and have had such bad anxiety that I only leave the house about every couple of weeks when I absolutely have no choice. I mainly just lie on the sofa, feeling angry, bitter, exhausted, depressed and resentful of my horrible headspace.

But today ONE FREAKINGG DAY ON THIS WONDER DIET, today I got up, showered and got dressed (a genuine achievement), got ready and went out to town! I have had the best day in months and months, I did my errands, I wasn't in a bad headspace, I wasn't anxious, I was sensible, productive and most of all - HAPPY.

I had previously read about how people noticed extremely quick changes and improvements, sometimes in a number of hours and honestly, I was sceptical. That's all changed now. This diet has already changed my life and it's only the first day.

Onwards and upwards from here hopefully!!!

Two days later:

For those of you who didn't see my first post I have severe major depression which leads to suicidal tendencies, self destructive behaviour and I also have horrific anxiety and very severe ADHD and Aspergers. Or rather.... I USED to.

(photo requested)

This morning for the first time in over two years I got up and went for a morning run. I didn't go far and I didn't go fast but it's a start and is just one more indication that I'm really living now - not barely existing like I was previously.

I'm doing the strict elimination diet. To be honest though, I wouldn't care if I had to eat like this for the rest of my life as long as I feel as good as I am now - Ffion

Update one month later:

So I've been doing this diet for a month now, I chose to do the very strict total elimination diet because of the colossal amount of issues I was trying to tackle.

I have since done some challenges but have reacted to all so far - especially glutamates! I thought not having the things I used to eat so much of would be really hard (especially since I'm such foodie) but I can honestly say, for the first time ever, that the benefits of not having the stuff (drastically) outweigh the drawbacks.

I can honestly say that since I first started this diet, my life has been unrecognisably changed for the better.

One of the biggest, most welcome changes in me since going on this has been the total disappearance of my crippling anxiety and panic disorder which resulted in me often not being able to leave the house for days on end and leaving me unable to interact with other people as well.

Well like I said, that's not an issue any more. Since last month I actually joined an animal right group (something I feel passionate about). I didn't know anyone in the group and just kind of showed up to one of their open events and introduced myself.

This might not seem strange or much of an achievement but this is coming from the girl who wouldn't answer her house phone because she didn't know who was calling and was afraid it might be someone she didn't know.

Not only that but I have taken part in many of the awareness events that the group do. These events consist of going into the city centre, setting up a stall and talking to the general public to raise awareness about the importance of animal rights. A month ago it would genuinely have been funny to even suggest that I might do something like this because the thought of me being alone, in town, talking to strangers was so ridiculous.

I would also have not been safe to be in town on my own, due to my ADHD prompting me to often act irrationally and impulsively, putting myself and others at risk.

But I'm not that person any more and have taken part in 3 events so far and have loved every one of them! I now have a circle of friends who I see regularly and who, if I do have a hard day like everyone has once in a while, I can call and speak to about what's going on.

There is so much more I could write about, including going into detail about how my self-destructive tendencies have disappeared "as if like magic" some would say but I won't expand on all areas of how things have changed for the better, instead I will just leave you with this.

People always used to know my name for the wrong reasons.

At school I was "that strange girl who can't sit still" or "that girl who had a meltdown when the fire alarms were tested" or "that girl who's suspended because she lost her mind when she was asked to do work with a partner".

At uni I was "that girl who never shows up to lectures because she's scared" or "that girl who never looks anyone in the eye" or "that girl who can't join a conversation without cutting everyone off or shouting out".

I was always known for the wrong reasons.

But now people are actually NOT recognising me, and it's for all the right reasons. People see me doing an awareness event and say "that can't be Ffion" or they see my pictures of me running and say "ok, but who went with you" because they can't wrap their heads around the fact that it is now safe for me to be out on my own because I am no longer a danger to myself.

Before this diet I was surviving, and now I am genuinely, for the first time in my whole life, living life to the full. And I'm not about to stop - Ffion from UK.

[1394] “extreme calm with small doses of the other behaviour” (June 2016)

The hardest part about my boy being on this diet is re training MYSELF on his behaviour. He has turned into this amazing, gentle, calm, loving child but then he will do something silly or naughty and I start to question things but then I have to stop and remind myself that he is 5 and he will have normal 5 year old behaviour and I now have to treat the behaviour like I do the other boys. It's surreal. Instead of extreme naughty/hyper/ agro behaviour with little doses of calm we have extreme calm with small doses of the other behaviour if that even. Does anyone understand what I'm trying to say? - Jaycinta

Facebook reactions:

I actually found it rather heartbreaking that at age 7 I realised that I didn't really know my daughter. She wasn't the child I thought she was. That's an exaggeration obviously, but how sad that she had lived 7 years with people responding to her through the filter of chemically induced behaviour. Turns out she's actually quiet, fairly shy and likes her own company, with moments of crazy kooky kid. It was not natural for her to be constantly the life of the party. And while I did have at least one person suggest maybe she was better the other way, you wouldn't give your shy 7yo mood altering drugs because they were shy. Why would I want to do that to her with glutamates, antioxidants and amines?? - Rachael

My son has just turned 4 and they wanted to diagnose for autism spectrum. I got so tired of hearing people including the doc at one point saying 'he's just being 3!' and 'it's just him adjusting to having a sibling'. We have moved on from failsafe but the diet helped us establish that food was influencing the behaviour. It was wonderful to meet my son again. I feel that I had to grieve the time we lost and just enjoy the boy he was becoming - Lyn

It's even more profound as time goes by and you find the new them....! We are now nearly 3 years since we started FS for my older kids and I can pick in a heartbeat if they have overstepped something food-wise - Kristan

Yes!! It turns out my son is gorgeous and sweet-natured. I had to grieve the 'loss' of his first eighteen months when I just thought he was a bad-tempered difficult kid - Allison

Last word:

Never before would he do what he is doing this morning. He was the first away in my bed and asked me to turn over so he could hug me and fall asleep instead of me having my arm over him. And now he is going around to each brother (3) and hugging them. He hardly interacted with anyone before - Jaycinta

[1393] One-liners (June 2016)

One happy fail safer on her 8th birthday (today) “normally it is my birthday I want but this year it was mummy can I help you please thank you for all of my presents”


This diet has changed our lives and if I could shout it from the rooftops I would.!!!! - Jaycinta

My daughter is now 4 1/2 and is mostly fantastic after we started the failsafe journey two years ago, and I now have a 4 month old baby who is a dream baby - mostly! I'm sure it has something to do with the food. So thank you again. I have recommended your resources to quite a number of my friends! - Erin

This change in eating has changed my life - Gayle

I had really positive results in the first few days too. Still a few weeks later I can't believe it's true. I expect to wake up and suffer crappy symptoms. Hard to believe it could be so simple as just not eating additives - Valerie

[1392] “my energy, vivacity and joy for life” (June 2016)

Before Failsafe I followed GAPS and Paleo for two years. Failsafe was the diet that changed my life for the better in the most dramatic way.

Now that I'm in a good space physically and mentally I've begun to research supplements and subtle FS dietary changes. Daily magnesium, B's, C, selenium and a healthy, joyful mindset has been tremendous in my recovery. I have become acutely aware of how amines affect my digestion and with full avoidance (no red meat for me) I've started to notice my sals sensitivity reduce. As soon as I introduce an amine (even just a small amount of avo) I react. I don't think I react more or less than before...I think I just feel better more of the time and reactions feel more obvious.

There is not a large amount of variety in the FS diet, but there is plenty of nutrition if you balance your meals well and with loving all diets really! I'm trying to stop using the word 'diet' and taking a leaf from my son's explanation of how I eat...a 'strain of food options'. 'Diet' feels like a restriction...which is completely contradictory to what this way of eating has brought to my life! I may eat in a narrow 'food strain' but my energy, vivacity and joy for life makes up for all that.

Thank you all for your research, courage and tenacity...particularly when the current health trend is so intensely prevalent and sanctimonious! Would someone please tell the health industry mob to take an organic, coconut-infused, goji berry flavoured, stevia sweetened chill pill and eat a marshmallow! White of course - Nadia

[1391]The lighter side: please, no more fruit (June 2016)

Although I wholeheartedly agree with this picture, I'm sure you can understand that with a son sensitive to salicylates most of the things in that basket on the left scare the heck out of me. How my thinking has changed.....Shannon


It's pretty sad when you get caught out without food, and the "healthy" choice is to eat Macdonalds chips, not Subway! - Ruth

I totally agree! My school is having a tuck shop overhaul and all I could think was 'please god no more fruit!' - Lauren

I was so smug when I went to RPAH dietician and reported my "healthy diet" of fresh fruit and veggies only to be told how many natural chemicals I was eating. I dream about eating a grape - Kath

I know! My masters is in childhood overweight and obesity, I never thought I'd be the mum in the supermarket saying 'no you can't have a banana, you had one this week already, you can have a milky bar' hahaha - Emma

My daughter can't safely eat most of the stuff in either basket! Her only safe items pictured are a little bit of garlic and maybe some parsnip! - Karmyn

I always used to get dirty looks when my ASD and sal sensitive son asked for an apple at the supermarket but I said no, have a packet of chips instead. The reactions from our extremely sal sensitive kid weren't worth it. I used to boast about how much fruit he used to eat BEFORE I knew what was really going on and connected the dots - Lucinda

[1390] One-liners offering hope (March 2016)

Feeling hopeful. Only day 4 for my 2 girls on their strict elim and we are noticing a difference already! They are still arguing like sisters do but the emotional meltdowns have pretty much stopped, they were taking 2-3 hours to fall asleep and tonight and last night were asleep in 15 mins and my youngest daughters number 2's aren't burning her bottom anymore - Debbie

When I was diagnosed with IBS I saw a naturopath and the diet they put me on and supplements they gave me made my symptoms worse and they did not know why. I also tried acupuncture which temporarily helped but was not permanent and did allergy blood tests (since I'm anaphylactic) which were all negative. Don't know why I didn't start with a dietitian. Since they helped me find out I'm intolerant to salicylates my symptoms are gone completely - Therese

My 8 year old is also an incredibly fussy eater. Last year we were at our wits end with his behaviour and after reading Fedup, we decided to go along a similar path as others - eliminated colours, flavours and preservatives. We have noticed a huge difference in him. It's a pain to start with, but once you establish a list of foods they can have, we just buy those brands. Good luck! - Belinda

I have been very enlightened by the information in your books, especially re the fruit. Like many people, I have had the view, 'don't worry if they're eating lots of fruit - it's good for them'. And yes, I shovelled it into my own children -  a grandmother

Just a quick word of encouragement to anyone who's finding it tough to change your diet, and often your lifestyle in order to be well. It can be so overwhelming to make big changes, but once you work out what foods you CAN tolerate, it gets WAY easier to manage - because you're not suffering the reactions/symptoms all the time. In other words, once you feel WELL, it's so much easier to manage it all. Good luck all - Rachel

[1389] “When you see the difference it makes you know that it's worth it” (March 2016)

1389OFFdietB    1389ONdietA

It's hard work as a Mum sometimes having to say No to simple food requests from your child. It's not always a nice feeling but when you see the difference it makes you know that it's worth it. Couldn't be more simple than this comparison. School work on the diet versus school work on a bad day where the diet had been broken. Luckily the majority of her work is good and she is in the top half of her Grade 1. Can't imagine where she would be no diet - Roxanne

See similar pictures in story [1371], story [1310] and story [040]. If you find more please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[1388] 160b: True allergy to annatto yellow food colouring (March 2016)

My daughter was allergic to all nuts and peanuts from an early age and later developed an allergy to annatto. It was easy to determine. She had been skin tested and was negative to dairy products. She would often eat a cheddar cheese but started reacting to it around the age of 9. There were only two ingredients and I knew she was not dairy sensitive.  The other ingredient was annatto (160b).  She later reacted to Goldfish, Cheeze-its and a breakfast cereal containing annatto.  Because it was a newer allergy, at first we forgot to check things she had been able to eat in the past. Each ingestion has shown a progression of symptoms.  Her mouth and throat itch, difficulty breathing and last time she felt swelling as well. We have been able to resolve the symptoms with benadryl and albuterol.

The nut allergy is much easier to manage. USFDA laws require the allergen to be listed in bold and other people know what a nut is. But now my daughter and I  must continually read all the fine print of everything - even products that were once fine have often started adding annatto. We must explain to other people what annatto is for her safety at schools, camps, sleepovers. It would be much more difficult with a young child or one with disabilities. This is an unnecessary hazard because it is appearing now in so many foods, even those labelled "organic". I would love to see all dyes, both "natural" like annatto and the synthetic dyes removed from our foods - Nicki, USA

[1387] “Doing the strict elimination diet helped my asthma and my occasional hives/itchiness enormously” (March 2016)

At the age of 59, I was having trouble with hives and worsening asthma. I had an inkling that I had problems with some foods since I was a child but had never followed it up. I have now (with support from an allergist in Adelaide) completed the RPA's 6 week Strict Elimination diet and am now doing the Challenge Diet - I am up to the MSG challenge.

I have been amazed at how the elimination diet has changed the way I eat - I thought I would never get through it but I did so with flying colours.  During the elimination diet I had a week long withdrawal period.  I found I was intolerant to pears which are a staple of the elimination diet - this all made it very interesting. But I persisted by getting through week by week.

I am finding the challenges just a bit harder, especially when we went to Sydney for a week.  So far I have found that I am intolerant to wheat and salicylates and am hoping that's it!

But I have learnt that you have to be organised, write a diary, have the required food on hand - I do tend to treat it as a project which will end in the long run.  I know that there are plenty of people that have been through this process but I am very proud of myself and intend to keep on going until the end.

UPDATE:  I have completed the Amine challenge - unfortunately I reacted very strongly: stomach ache, itchy, hives and very tired - another intolerance to add to the list!

Doing the strict elimination diet helped my asthma and my occasional hives/itchiness enormously. It is only since I have been on the challenges that my itches and hives have come back - this has helped me to determine what I am intolerant to.  I previously had no idea that what I was eating was causing my asthma so this was a big wake up call for me - Jenny, South Australia.

[1386] Life-threatening reaction to anti-inflammatory drugs plus blackberries: "A&E seemed totally unaware of the salicylate link" (March 2016)


I had an heart attack 4 years ago at the age of 48, had two stents fitted, and was told that I would be taking aspirin every day for the rest of my life.

I had been treated for asthma for decades until my heart attack, only to realise afterwards my heart that was leaving me breathless not asthma. For a few months I felt I had been given a new pair of lungs, but my health gradually declined, with pain, cramps, nausea, and rashes/hives.

I had been prescribed two medications. A consultant suggested cutting out the aspirin and sticking with the Prasugrel. In the following months my condition improved to the extent that I took up hiking and trekking and everything seemed to be going fine.

One day at the gym I felt feverish, lethargic and started suffering with vertigo. Assuming I had Meniere's disease, my own doctor gave me a double dose of an anti-vertigo drug that was followed accidently by another double dose from an ENT consultant. This quadruple dose had severe effects on my heart and I started getting palpitations. When they realised what had happened, I was given anti-inflammatories to see if the vertigo could be helped by allowing the middle ear to drain more easily. Instead my condition worsened as I began getting chest pains, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips and severe throat pain and rashes.

The next episode finally solved a lot of issues. While on a walk through the English countryside, my girlfriend and I stumbled on some wild blackberries and picked about a kilo. That night, we made blackberry jam/jelly with occasional tasters. The next morning I awoke with some rashes around my elbow but thought little of it and put it down to a mild side effect of the anti-inflammatories, went to work as usual, however the following morning I felt very lethargic but managed to get up for work and while doing so ate a slice of toast liberally lavished with a good dollop of homemade blackberry jelly. Later that day I found virtually all my arms and neck covered in hives and rashes, I had difficulty breathing and was eventually taken to Accident & Emergency in an ambulance ... My partner was aware of my rashes etc and after we had joked about it being the jam/jelly, she did some research and discovered that blackberries are very high in salicylates which is also the reason that people have an allergic reaction to aspirin. When I mentioned this at A&E they seemed totally unaware of this link, and carried on treating me for a suspected heart attack.

I visited my doctor today who has now advised me not to take anti-inflammatories as they are likely to contain salicylates and has now put a note on my records that I am not to be prescribed any medication that contains them. Why was it not obvious to trained medical staff that if you have an allergic reaction to aspirin, it is quite likely that it is because of salicylates and that care should then be taken when prescribing further medicines?

In general I am beginning to lose faith in the medical profession:

- I was treated for asthma instead of heart disease

- I was given life threatening drugs for someone with heart disease

- I was given medicine that contained ingredients to which I might (very likely) have an allergic reaction.

- they did not make a connection between Aspirin and Salicylates

My advice for anyone who has suffered from heart disease and advised to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for a healthy lifestyle: if you've had a reaction to aspirin or other anti-inflammatories, be cautious of salicylates in food, drink, medication, toiletries and even cosmetics. - Tony, UK

See more details with medical references

[1385] Cocamides have been the scourge of my life! (March 2016)

I have a skin rash that I now know it is an allergic reaction to coconut, and any organic compounds derived from it (Cocamides), in shampoos and body washes.

I always have to check the surfactants (foaming agents).  My allergic response could start off as a slight reaction that can accumulate, or it can show itself as immediate severe inflammation.  Ironically Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) was in a lot of products recommended by my various dermatologists, such as Born to be Mild, Hegor 150 shampoo, Demodex Solutions, Cetaphil Restoraderm.  These were prescribed for possible Acne, Rosacea, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, folliculitis - the diagnoses I got from these 'experts' were endless.  And so wrong!

By the way, I am 63 now and it was in the late sixties when I first experienced a low level of irritation on my face and chest.  Co-incidentally that was around the time Johnson & Johnson patented its first CAPB detergent-based shampoo: “No more tears” Baby Shampoo.  I was also seduced by the amazing smell of Revlon Flex balsam shampoo when I visited Australia in 1973.  I remember going from one shampoo to the next one, not realising that it was the Cocamides in them that were causing me problems in the first place!

I feel very strongly that there should be a warning about Cocamides, especially CAPB on bottles, but I keep reading that they are safe!  I find that so insulting when I look back and see how badly they impacted on my life - Sally by email

[1384] "Failsafe has been the best medication" (March 2016)


“Tonight I have cried, once again due to the behaviour of my children but tonight, for a totally different reason. They are beautiful, loving, singing, playing, helpful and laughing! My kids are 14mths apart so they really bounce off each other. My daughter (only GP diagnosed) has ODD and my son has (GP diagnosed) ADHD which is why I turned to this diet as they wanted to medicate immediately.

“They have only been doing the diet a week but already we have seen a 180 turn around! My daughter is listening, respectful, being helpful and making good choices towards her actions. My son is the most changed before he was hyperactive, easily bored, inattentive, unmotivated, whiny, foggy in the head, irritable and constantly making silly noises now, he gets excited but not hyper, he plays by himself - he actually sat still and watched a movie yesterday! He's singing!!! We always sang songs with him but whinged and covered his ears before but now he’s singing nursery rhymes! But the best bit is he's so cuddly and loving now. Tonight he said "I can't wait for our family day. I love my family". He's 4.

“This journey hasn't even started and I'm seeing results. Failsafe has been the best medication! I know exactly what's in it and what is going on. Thank you Sue Dengate and Howard Dengate from the bottom of my heart. Your passion, determination and education has helped change another family and two children to live happy, healthier lives. Thank you. Xxxx” - Kristy in facebook group

Comment from Tracy Gaze:

Speaking as a mental health professional, children are often diagnosed and medicated by GP, with or without a single appointment as assessment with a paediatrician. When a true paediatrician becomes available, it's not uncommon for many of these to be misdiagnosis, but they still had the diagnosis up to that point.

For diagnosed ADHD, even where paediatricians and psychologists and occupational therapists have been involved, there are still four main possibilities:

1. Misdiagnosed food intolerance, where identifying and avoiding triggers removes the symptoms of note.
2. Misdiagnosed other condition, such as sensory processing disorders or verbal processing disorders or there are others. Dietary change makes no difference.
3. Accurately diagnosed ADD/ADHD. The brain scans and things required for confidence in diagnosis aren't often done, but when they are it's clear that there are a handful of patterns that are physical and everpresent. Dietary change makes no difference.
4. Comorbid food intolerance and disorder, where removing food triggers makes a huge difference but does not remove the physical disorder.

Note that the fourth is common, where dietary intervention makes a huge difference and makes things much easier, but where the condition remains and medications are still needed for maximising daily functioning. Diet and other approaches are important and may reduce symptoms to manageable without the need of medication, but to emotionally resist medication because you don't want your child to need it doesn't help anyone. Note that in recent years prescription of stimulants is restricted to only some GPs, and not all can prescribe.

Comment from Howard Dengate:

Don't forget there can be withdrawal symptoms - the worst behaviour again, tapering off.

[1383] Geographic tongue (February 2016)

My son has just been diagnosed with Geographical tongue and he is in a lot of pain. It seems a coincidence that it happened just after hubby and he went to McDonald's and had a huge feast. A few hours afterwards my son went into such an angry rage for approx 6 hrs. He was uncontrollable, couldn't talk to him or reason with him. Screaming with rage in my face and his 2 year old sister's face and his tongue flared up at the same time. His behaviour has calmed down again but tongue still so red and sore. Is this just a coincidence or is there a connection?  - Shez

One of my boys (4) has geographic tongue. It has never once hurt him and we first noticed it before he was 2. He probably has it more often than he doesn't. We have had him tested for all sorts of things when he was little. We put it down to an intolerance to wheat back them but he seems to have settled down now. Nothing in particular makes it flare up just happens  - Jaycinta

One of my boys has it as well and same as your boy it has never hurt him - Louise

Salicylates response here for something similar, although not diagnosed. And yes, horribly painful - Judith

My daughter had a geographical tongue. Later it did settle down but now at 15 whenever she eats certain foods her lips go red, dry and cracked. Certain colours and additives like in bbq flavoured chips or corn chips sets it off - Christine

Howard's comment: For many it runs a course of about 7 days, is painful and there is little that helps the pain.

From Failsafe Cookbook: Geographic tongue (benign migratory glossitis) - in this condition, bald spots surrounded by white edges make the tongue look like a map of the world. It’s in the same category as irritable bowel symptoms, since the mouth is the beginning of the digestive system. Any of the usual culprits can be involved, including salicylates and dairy products.

See more IBS factsheet

Don’t forget, you can search for stories/symptoms or scroll through all current stories


**WARNING** Macca's French Fries are NOT failsafe AGAIN! "We have two fries suppliers, one who uses a par frying oil which contains antioxidant 320”. It looks as though Macdonalds' fries are off the menu again. See full blog


White potatoes are getting very hard to find in shops and the yellow/cream ones are moderate in salicylates. Please complain to Woolworths and Coles (just talk to their people in the vegie section and say what you want). Woolworths said “Unfortunately the potato white is currently no longer ranged within Woolworths Stores” but promised three months ago to change that....Coles did listen and we can now buy REAL white ones, labelled as such (unlike the image below)! See blog on what's wrong with potatoes (nothing)

Here is a useful link showing Australian varieties and colours


Failsafe toothpastes: Oral Hygiene Solutions website is now 



Failsafe management for colds and flu


It is common for failsafers to report that they no longer suffer frequent colds or flu when they are established on failsafe eating. Of course, if you break your diet, you are not protected. 

So here’s a detailed blog on what is helpful if you do catch a lurg:

Water - thins mucus and prevents congestion
Heat - dissolves mucus
To soothe a sore throat
To deal with cough
RPAH Approved Medications (page 118, Handbook)
Scientific references

New factsheet:Suicide prevention by diet 

Revised factsheet: Depression and food intolerance

Factsheets provide science-based access to information on added and natural chemicals, on symptoms and support. See full list of over 100 factsheets and remember that you can use the search function to search all factsheets (Information>Factsheets>Search all factsheets)


Thanks for your continuing support of each other!

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. You can also ask for our Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate mistakes sheets This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Online support: Sue Dengate facebook group (over 11,000 members) and/or the Failsafe forum (more private). If you want to use an email support group, join at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There are special interest email support groups too.

There’s a new UK facebook page and of course the active USA facebook page
twitter-bird-blue-on-whitetweet as @failsafers (note the plural).

Food Intolerance Network hit 8 million visitors in February 2016. More than 5,000 people a day visit the website. Interest in food intolerance and in eating food without additives continues to grow.

Local contacts: 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.

Dietitians: for failsafe-friendly dietitians, see There is no longer any need to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this list.


DVD "Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour” has
subtitles in six languages. (In PAL format only, not available with subtitles in NTSC format. But NTSC format DVDs are at a reduced price of only $15.50 through


: are available in many languages
in a printer-friendly format (thanks to Failsafe members for translating!). Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help with other languages. Latest brochure in Chinese.

All Failsafe Newsletters can be searched and printed. There is a wealth of research, issue discussion, recipes, personal reports and recipes now available in one place. But some of the links are out of date and you must always check current products rather than relying on historical information.

Success story collections: These are the most popular downloads from the website,
organised by symptom and by additive.

The Food Intolerance Network strongly supports the peer-reviewed publication of evidence regarding the effects of salicylates on health, behaviour and learning and acknowledges that more research needs to be published, particularly using dietary salicylates. However the very foundation of science is observation and these observations over many years show an astonishing and convincing range of real symptoms. We hope that they may assist in stimulating further research publication.

Reintroduction guidelines: for people who are extra sensitive, the new RPAH reintroduction guidelines recommend much smaller servings of salicylate and amine containing foods than previously, see reader comment below. Available on request from
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you so much for the new RPAH reintroduction recommendations. I now understand why when I tried to ascertain my tolerance levels and did as my dietician recommended (try 1/2 a cup of salicylates) that my symptoms returned very quickly. ½ a cup is 100 times ¼ of a teaspoon, and given my scent problems I’m probably highly sensitive. Now I can try again. - failsafer, NZ


Nomato or No-Tomato Sauce

Thanks very much to Sandra at Cooking for Oscar for this “awesome substitute for tomato sauce”


1 cup red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
2 large pear halves in syrup (approximately 150g) or one large ripe peeled pear
1 cup water
1 tsp citric acid
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 stick celery (trimmed and chopped)
4 spring onions (chopped)
3 heaped tsp minced garlic
10 saffron threads (soaked in a bit of water; optional)
2 Medium Carrots (peeled and chopped; optional as moderate in salicylates)

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan on low heat. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, pour into food processor and blend until very smooth.  Return the sauce to the saucepan. If the sauce is a bit thick add some more water. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

There are 3 options for storing: Pour into sterilised jars and seal; store in the fridge in an airtight container for about 2 weeks; or pour into bags or containers and store in the freezer.

Chicken soup

As recommended in the blog on failsafe management for colds and flu


1/2 tbsp failsafe oil (eg canola)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (if desired)
3-4 spring onions including green parts, chopped fine
500g chicken (skinned thighs give the best flavour), diced small
1.5 litres hot water
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 swede, peeled and diced small
1 carrot (moderate in salicylates), peeled and diced small
2-3 sticks of celery, chopped fine
Salt to taste

In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil and stir the spring onions (and garlic if desired) until translucent, add chicken and stir until browned. Add water and vegetables, bring to boil and simmer for 30-40 mins, covered (alternatively pressure cook for about 7 mins). You can add a tbsp of pearled barley or a handful of noodles too if desired.

Pear sorbet

As recommended in the blog on failsafe management for colds and flu


2 large ripe pears, or 1 x 400g can pears in syrup (not in juice)
1/2 tsp citric acid

Peel ripe pears or drain canned pears. Dice and add citric acid to stop browning. Process to a pulp in a food processor or Thermomix or use a wand blender. Freeze. To make the sorbet, thaw until it can be broken up with a spoon, whizz in blender or by Thermomix to give a cold slushy mixture. Serve immediately.

OR for a more diluted slushie effect, use the Thermomix recipe on page 149, with 300 g of fruit and 700 g of ice cubes.


As recommended in the blog on failsafe management for colds and flu


3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp citric acid

Put water, sugar and citric acid in a heavy saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Increase heat, boil rapidly for approximately 15-20 minutes (20 mins for hard toffee, the mixture will turn slightly brown) or until a small amount of mixture will crack when tested in cold water. Remove toffee from heat, allow bubbles to subside, pour into paper patty cases.

Aligot for failsafers

Originally French peasant food, aligot is now regarded as an Aubrac regional speciality that is particularly warming in winter.  We found this delicious recipe that tasted like what we ate in France, although it is too high in amines and fat for me to want to eat regularly.  However, adding garlic and even a small amount of any kind of cheese including cream cheese or quark (failsafe if you can manage dairy; soymilk and Nuttelex if not)  and mashing the potatoes in a Thermomix or food processor for that weird stretchy texture can make a special dish.


800g steamed peeled white potato, drained and still hot (Sebago is a good mashing variety)
up to 4 cloves crushed garlic
up to 400g cream cheese, quark (or grated mozzarella if you can tolerate amines). As little as 100g gives flavour, but 400g mozzarella is required to give the stringy aligot texture, by which time the fat content is 7%.

Stove-top: mash the potato and garlic in a saucepan with 100-200mls water to a soft texture. Heat on a moderate setting, stirring in vigorously the amount of dairy product that you want. Serve immediately, often with a sausage.

Thermomix/food processor: add 100-200mls water and whizz the potato and garlic for 1 minute at moderate speed. The texture should be very creamy. Still stirring and heating, add the amount of dairy product you want for about 1 minute. Serve immediately, often with a sausage.

Many more recipes

At and you really can't do better than to get the regular newsletter from At the Failsafe Table


There's a recipe index of ANY Failsafe recipes on ANY blog. So far there are more than 885 recipes and ideas all categorised to make it easy to search 

Failsafe Thermomix group with recipes and a place to ask questions etc

I bought a Thermomix a couple of months ago, and absolutely love it. These machines are totally awesome, so pure and clean, and I truly believe that if we’d had a Thermomix years ago when our son was at his worst, it would have saved us a lot of heartache, as well as time and money - Susan.

And the very useful weekly meal plan website


The FAILSAFE Newsletter is available free by email. Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Unsubscribe by sending a blank message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sue Dengate’s books and DVD and the failsafe magnifying card and sulphite test strips are available through

Special offer for USA and Canada: Random House has taken over distribution of Sue's books in the USA and Canada, but our current warehouse in upstate New York continues to offer special prices until all gone: Go to and search for "Sue Dengate"

30 copies Fed Up Revised and updated at $12.50
16 copies Failsafe Cookbook Updated at $22.00
23 copies Fed Up With Children' Behaviour (NTSC format) - DVD at $15.50

Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook are now available as an ebook: for Kindle, in ePub version suitable for Tablet PCs, PCs, Macs, Laptops, in ePub for digital and iPhone/iPad.

Sue Dengate’s personal story as an ebook only $3.99: Fed Up with Food Intolerance - a personal story 

"Of all your books, your ebook Fed Up with Food Intolerance is my favourite ­ I just couldn’t put it down" - from Fed Up Roadshow 2015

Look inside


This is the story that helped thousands of parents and adults understand this baffling disorder.

Buy direct at
Download a sample for Kindle (.mobi) or for other ereaders (.epub).
Also available through Amazon for Kindle

Disclaimer: the information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for possible underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. Information is drawn from the scientific literature, web research, group members and personal enquiry; while all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and the Food Intolerance Network and Sue Dengate cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions.

© Sue Dengate 2016 (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to the many members who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter and particularly to Teresa and Tracy for their help with facebook and story collections. Further reading and viewing: Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate.