Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

April - May 2003


FAILSAFE supports people using the low-chemical elimination diet recommended by the Australian Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers - for health, behaviour and learning problems.


The FAILSAFE Newsletter is now 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.




Children 'Fed Up' with unhealthy menu choices

635 in the media


Research Psychotropic medications for Australian children

Readers' stories: [244] - [251]

Product updates: Soul Pattinson Plain toothpaste; Unlabelled sulphites in gluten free flours; Sulphite challenge with instant mashed potato

Cooks Corner: Madeira cake, Andra's Chicken Noodle Soup



Hi everyone

I am nearing the end of tour of four states, with seven presentations and countless radio and TV interviews to promote my new book "Fed Up with Asthma" and the issue of food intolerance. The book has been extremely well received and I would like to thank all the failsafers who have made the effort to attend my talks. It has been wonderful to meet so many of you. Special thanks to those who hosted the talks. I know how much work it is. Also thanks to the many smiling failsafers who kept passing me failsafe food and drinks as I talked to queues of people. It has been fascinating to hear the stories (see "stuttering" below) and see the rashes (see 635 in the media, below).

If you missed the Brisbane Extra TV segment on how failsafe helped Julie Guilfoyle's children with their asthma, you can catch up on the details at:


http://www.extraonline.com.au/story/details.asp?StoryID=8386. Keep an eye out for a Today Tonight segment featuring failsafe families from Sydney and Brisbane failsafe families, coming soon and a Foxtel segment as part of the parenting series, "The Little Things", starting in May.

Don't forget to bookmark our new web address and check out lots of new information: www.fedup.com.au . Don't worry, the old web address will be available indefinitely too.


- cheers, Sue Dengate (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Children 'Fed Up' with unhealthy menu choices


The extensive Novotel hotel chain recently announced a healthy new menu designed to appeal to young guests. Novotel is the first hotel group to change its children's menus as a result of the Obesity Summits held in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania recently.

Gone from the new Dolfi menus is the standard stodgy kids fare such as fish fingers and frozen fries, deep fried nuggets, greasy pizza and sugary desserts filled with artificial colours. Instead these have been replaced with nutritionally sound options such as grilled chicken fingers in a pita pocket with cherry tomatoes; grilled boneless fish fillet with chunky chips; or tender lamb cutlets with green beans and carrot sticks. Desserts include large chunks of fresh fruit served plain or with ice cream or frozen yoghurt or apple crumble with vanilla custard.

The new Novotel Dolfi Kids menu also follows Dr Rosemary Stanton's research which found that: children want food more like what their parents are served but in appropriate sizes and without the fancy garnishes; children like food they can pick up with their hands; children, if served a hamburger and chips would often only eat the chips; children like fish fingers, not because of the crunchy fried texture but because of they know there are no bones. Importantly, Dr Stanton's research showed overwhelmingly that simple food is always the best.

As part of this family policy, all Novotel hotels allow up to two children 16 years and under to stay free when using existing bedding in their parents room and to enjoy free breakfast when dining with their parents. Novotel's children's policy also makes young guests feel welcome with dedicated Kids Play Corners, a gift on arrival at the hotel and free place mat, cup and puzzle when dining from the Novotel Dolfi Kids menu in the restaurant.


635 in the media


An article about 635 in Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun (9/3/03, p19) entitled "Allergy Hell in food additive" has helped many sufferers to identify the cause of their rashes (see readers stories below). Some people have experienced rashes continuously for up to five years, using antihistamines and cortisone cream daily for years because they were unaware of the trigger. One woman described her 9-month nightmare with a ribo-rash so severe she could hardly walk, sit down or sleep. Thank you to failsafer Sharon Delpol for being prepared to tell her story, and journalist Catherine Lambert for writing the article.




Stuttering is not usually associated with food intolerance but two families have reported their children's stutters clearing up while failsafe. In one case, the child had a mild stutter until the stutter became severe during his sulphite challenge. It then took more than 4 months of failsafe and sulphite free for his stutter to disappear completely. I would like to hear from anyone else who has noticed an improvement in stuttering due to diet.




Research: Psychotropic medications for Australian children


Australian children receive a broad range of psychotropic medications, some at a very young age, researchers report.

Investigators from Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne say that combinations of psychotropic medications are used regularly in paediatric practice in Australia, including to children less than three years of age.

The investigators say that paediatricians were more likely to prescribe clonidine for sleep problems than were psychiatrists. Psychiatrists were more likely to prescribe SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors such as Prozac) and mood stabilisers for depression and SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

More than 5% of practitioners had prescribed clonidine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), dexamphetamine and typical neuroleptics for children younger than three years of age.

"The safety and efficacy of several of the agents prescribed have not been adequately researched in children," the investigators state. "There is an urgent need for paediatric psychopharmacology research to inform current prescribing practice." Efron and others, "Prescribing of psychotropic medications for children by Australian pediatricians and child psychiatrists", Pediatrics, 2003;111(2):372-375.



Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?


One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the list on the website Checklist of common mistakes. With new guidelines for extra sensitive salicylate responders, thanks to Robin from the email discussion group. Readers tell us this list is very useful.


Readers' stories


[251] Unlisted sulphites (April 2003)


I am the mother of an eleven year old asthmatic whose asthma is very well-controlled by avoiding certain food products. I have been caught unawares twice this month with flours containing sulphur dioxide. Both times the sulphur dioxide was not listed on the packet as it was under the necessary dosage to be listed, but within 12 hours of ingesting the product, my very well controlled asthmatic daughter started to wheeze and needed medication. Both times I rang the company who assured me the product did not contain sulphites, but when I pushed the company for more information it was revealed that in the processing, sulphites are added at the flour processing stage. Both times the products were labelled as 100% pure products.

This ingredient SHOULD BE LISTED, no matter how much is contained in the product. My daughter is obviously very sensitive. Traces of peanuts, eggs and dairy are now listed on food packages due to anaphylactic reactions of some children, why not for sulphur dioxide when it can also cause life threatening reactions? - Susan Bragg, NSW



[250] "Best information regarding asthma" (April 2003)


My second daughter (aged 7½), has always been the most 'difficult' one of my three children. Over the years we have had to put up with regular tantrums, defiance, rudeness and out of proportion reactions when things didn't go her own way. She also often complained of tummy aches and had little energy.

In early 2002 I read Sue Dengate's book 'Fed Up'. What I read described my daughter exactly. I discovered there is a name for her behaviour - oppositional defiance - and that it can be caused by intolerance to artificial or natural food chemicals. Our family decided to do an elimination diet using 'The Failsafe Cookbook' for guidance. We discovered that our daughter reacts severely to certain food colours and preservatives found in some breads and other food products. She also has an intolerance to natural food chemicals called salicylates.

The change in our diet has been enough to make a huge difference in our daughter's behaviour. She is now a happy, co-operative member of our family. She has a lot more energy and no longer overreacts when things don't go her way.

Asthma has also been a problem in our family. "Fed Up with Asthma" has given me the best information regarding asthma triggers and medications that I have ever read. Amazingly, in the six months since that we have been eating failsafe foods, no one in our family has suffered an asthma attack. - Alice de Brenni, NT



[249] From an asthmatic failsafer (April 2003)


Great News!! I have just finished week two of the elimination part of the diet and have found that I have gone from using my Ventolin at least once a day to not at all. I am still taking my preventative medicine tho and I still carry my Ventolin with me wherever I go. I have dined out a couple of times with friends but I have researched and am equipped for any situation! I love natural oysters so that is what I eat when I dine out with friends!! (with G&Ts). I am really looking forward to finding out which foods affect my asthma. - reader NT (so far, the salicylate and amine challenges have not affected her asthma, we'll keep you posted)



[248] Mature onset asthma (April 2003)


My mother has "mature onset" asthma. We know she is super sensitive to sulphur in medications etc. but she remains in denial about changing her diet. - by email



[247] 635: Ten week rash from 635 (April 2003)


I have never suffered any kind of food allergy in my life (43 years) and then about ten weeks ago I found myself suffering from an extremely intense and constant itch of my hands and arms. After two days of this I found I had come out in hives, starting on my upper chest, abdomen and back. It then spread to my arms and my legs and from then on each day might be different combinations of location of the hives, but always somewhere. They were worse at night causing intense itch and lack of sleep, I can't begin to tell you how unbearable the itch was and how it affected my everyday living and my ability to work. On several occasions my lips have been swollen and I find on occasion that although my upper lip doesn't look particularly swollen, it feels 'thick' and like I have been to the dentist. Once my eyelids puffed up too. Through studying the foods that I had eaten I became almost 100% certain that it was 635 causing my problem. For almost two weeks I avoided all foods containing this additive and was finally able to come off the antihistamines I had been forced to live on. I then ate a seasoned lamb steak bought from my local butcher and the next night the hives were back. Guess what? On contacting the butcher concerned, he was able to tell me that the seasoning used on those steaks contained 635.

I wish this product had never been put on the market. I'm sure it is what, to put it frankly, has caused me absolute hell almost continuously for over two months.


- Debbie, by email



[246] 635: itch was unbearable (April 2003)


A couple of days after initially eating a meal my partner and I made using a recipe mix containing flavour enhancer 635, I broke out in a rash over my neck and upper torso. This quickly spread to the rest of my body the following day. The itch is unbearable, especially around my neck area, arms and breasts. The doctor didn't seem to believe that it could have been this enhancer, even after I showed her an article published in the Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun on 9 March 2003 entitled "Allergy hell in food additive".

It looks to me that there are many people who are intolerant to this additive and I believe it should be banned. This is the first time I have ever had a rash of this magnitude develop and I am not impressed. - reader, by email



[245] Three son's behaviour improved (April 2003)


I have 3 sons aged 7½, 5 and 2. The two older boys are very 'active' and display the type of behaviour that is evident in the emails from the other parents found on your website. Needless to say, I'm always on the go and have had a lot of trouble with my 5 year old who has just started school this year. Since I have found out about your website, I have changed the bread the boys eat and am trying to cut out all unsafe additives in their diet. Their behaviour has improved as a result of it. Thank You!! - reader, NSW



[244] Effects of MSG (April 2003)


I have worked out that my son's bad behaviour is all due to added MSG. He is OK on cheese and other natural MSG products - but give him a KFC chicken nugget packet and their chicken salt chips with the so called "secret herbs and spices" and you can see the reaction within 30 to 60 minutes. I'm not surprised as I get very similar reactions with MSG although my reaction is different to my son's behavioural reactions. I have Irritable Bowel and my reaction to MSG is to have a bad IBS attack. Sometimes I get an almost "high on drugs" feeling where my skin starts to crawl. - reader, email


MORE READERS' STORIES on the website


Product updates


Soul Pattinson Plain toothpaste


Good news! My apologies for the mistake about Soul Pattinson Plain toothpaste in the last newsletter. It is not to be discontinued and is available by mail order through their head retail store in Sydney:

Washington H Soul Pattinson Chemist, 160 Pitt Street Mall, Sydney NSW 2000; Tel : 02 9232 7166, Fax : 02 9231 3348, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Unlabelled sulphites in gluten free flours


Have now been reported in potato, tapioca, arrowroot and corn flours, including White Wings cornflour. Check with your manufacturer.


Sulphite challenge with instant mashed potato


If using instant mashed potato for your sulphite challenge with instant mashed potato, be aware that it also contains BHA (320). Avoid the own brand which contains ribonucleotides (635)!


Your questions:


Q. My son is 4 years old and he has been diagnosed with borderline ADHD and the children's doctor has recommended I take him off all preservatives and colours. I am wondering if there is a list of what preservatives are the best to avoid?

A. It is good to hear that doctors are now recommending avoidance of food additives. However, children with ADHD are equally likely to be affected by natural food chemicals called salicylates. It would have been more helpful for your doctor to refer you to a failsafe-friendly dietitian for a 3-week trial of the elimination diet (a list of failsafe-friendly dietitians is available, ask us).


Q. My butcher is going to try and make bacon or corned beef without nitrates. Its all too complicated for me but am happy to let him try BUT he needs to know if he can use saltpetre. Have you ever heard of this? He said this is what butchers would have used before nitrates. He wonders if it is nitrates under an old fashioned name.

A. Saltpetre is an alternative name for potassium nitrate and Chile saltpetre is an alternative name for sodium nitrate. Both are naturally occurring minerals used in the manufacture of gunpowder, in metallurgy, as a fertiliser, preservative, colour-fixer and curing salt. Potassium nitrate can also be artificially manufactured. Saltpetre is not failsafe. If you have passed your amine challenge, you can do a nitrate challenge (large serves of bacon or corned beef every day for three days while otherwise failsafe) to see whether you react.

Check out the Questions and Answers section in the website for many more details.

Around the groups: getting in touch

Thank you to everyone who has emailed me. Some of my replies get bounced - especially bigpond addresses. So if you haven't received an answer, please write again - and give me an alternative email address or phone number, just in case.

* Would the mother who wrote about 'soy breast milk' please write again. I deleted your email by mistake.

* Also some emails from people to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. asking for brochures were deleted by error. Please ask again if you have had no response.


Local email discussion groups


Local email discussion groups are proving to be extremely popular and effective as a means of local support and knowing where to get food. Groups are starting soon in Canberra, Sydney and Christchurch. The new Darwin one is called finNT. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help on setting one up on Yahoo that you can run easily from home for your area.


Support contacts


There are now over 40 support contacts in Australia, New Zealand and overseas - see website.

Are there any failsafers in Canada who would like to help a new failsafer? Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Sue Dengate will be giving talks as follows:


Monday 31 March 2003 - Alice Springs - phone Andra 8952 8057 if you are interested in either a meeting of the food intolerance network, or attending a talk.


If you live in Adelaide and would like to attend or host a failsafe talk at the end of July, please contact me.

Tuesday 29th July 2003 - Bordertown, SA - conference, details TBA


Sun-Tues 28-30 September, 2003 - Darwin, Australian Association of Special Education national conference, details TBA




Printable trifold brochures on food intolerance and oppositional defiance are now available.

Collect from the Yahoo website if you are a member (which is free). Access http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter then click on "File" on the left. Select blueleafletfinal.pdf or oddleaflet.pdf and doubleclick. Your Acrobat Reader should open it in a form you can save and/or print.

Or, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. requesting the brochure and we'll email you a pdf file that you can print in colour or black and white and which you are free to copy.

Or, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for mailed copies of our new glossy paper, two colour versions. We'll send you one of each for free (and you are welcome to photocopy them), or $5.00 for 20 or $10 for 45 including postage. This is only to cover costs. Cheques payable to Darwin ADD Support Group.

We loved this comment from one satisfied failsafer:

"Ah, the answer to my prayers. I had no idea the brochure even existed, but thanks so much for directing me to it. I am not very Internet savvy, however I found it easy enough. Regarding possible opposition to failsafing within the child care setting ... now all I have to do is hand over a copy of this and let them ask questions! Thanks again. I highly recommend everyone print this out if you don't already have a copy, it sure cuts out the "but WHY can't your kid have (insert food here)?" questions. Great for grandparents too."

Cooks' corner


Madeira Cake


175g (6 oz) butter

175g (6 oz) sugar

1/4 tsp citric acid

3 eggs

175g (6 oz) self-raising flour

Cream butter, sugar and citric acid. Beat eggs and add alternately with flour to creamed mixture. Bake 180'C (350'F) for 1 hour in a greased tin. Great with citric icing (Failsafe Cookbook p165). There's a gluten-free version of this recipe in Failsafe Cookbook p186)


Andra's Chicken Noodle Soup


This noodle soup makes a great one-pot dinner when served with garlic rolls.

3 tblspns canola oil

2 cups chopped cabbage

4 stalks chopped celery

1 chopped leek

1 small carrot (optional)

2 litres water

2 cubed chicken breasts (uncooked)

2 cups chopped green beans

250g packet of 'Fantastic' rice noodles or equivalent

salt to taste

Gently stir-fry cabbage, celery, leek and carrot in oil. Add water and simmer 30-40 mins. Add chicken and beans and simmer 5 mins, then add rice noodles and simmer 10 mins.

Serve with garlic rolls. - Andra in Alice Springs



The FAILSAFE Discussion Groups : On-going support is the key to success with FAILSAFE eating. Access the wealth of experience and information in this free email group and share recipes and stories with people from around the world, particularly from Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and USA. You will receive a daily digest of all emails, or choose individual emails if you want, and can respond to individuals or the group by email or over the web. There is also an on-line chat facility.

We recommend that you have the diet booklets from the hospital or have read one of the following books: Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook, or Friendly Food before joining the group.

Groups are generally closed when they have 100 members to maintain a community of support. There are now several groups:

If you are just starting out, we suggest that you join the FAILSAFE2 Discussion Group by sending an email with subscribe in the subject line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe2). Some experienced failsafers are there to help.

The FAILSAFE USA Discussion Group has just started for USA members. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafeUSA)

The FAILSAFE Adult Discussion Group has just started for adults seeking support. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafeadult )

The new FAILSAFE Baby Group is a small group for those wrestling with babies with food intolerance problems This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafebaby2.

The FAILSAFE Basic Discussion Group is currently closed. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafebasic

The original large FAILSAFE Discussion Group is limited to existing members or those with extra needs such as severe food intolerance or gluten intolerance This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe).


The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every two months. Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter


© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804, Australia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Thanks to members of the failsafe discussion groups. Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook and Different Kids by Sue Dengate Random House, and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books.


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