Failsafe 95 January - April 2020


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.


Failsafe lunchbox inspiration

How to tolerate more salicylates?

Saved by diet (children AND adults)

Study: diet can cause insomnia in adults

Special offer:  Wein personal air supply battery model $124.09

Research: Interactions of food and drugs

In brief: Goodbye to the local contacts list; Semi-retirement of Dr Robert Loblay and Dr Anne Swain, RPAH Allergy Unit; Food label industry workshops; Increased ingredient information on medicines

Your questions: My son had a rash on his face after vegemite?

Success stories: [1552] – [1558]

Failsafe shopping list: Friendly Food offer, Friendly Food updates, Failsafe sausages list updated.

Factsheets: over 100 science-based information sheets on symptoms and additives plus video resources.

Support community: Failsafers talking to each other.

Cook's corner: Bubble and squeak; Access to thousands of delicious recipes through At the Failsafe Table

Thanks and admin:



In this newsletter (and Howard and I agree - this might just be the strongest newsletter we have ever produced, due to the extraordinary feedback from failsafers):

When an airport security officer said: 'I just want to say thank you - you saved my son', it inspired me to write the post 'saved by diet'. Comments include 'Fabulous post Sue and Howard … you two and Failsafe saved my family's life … my sanity…my two boys' quality of life (and in turn my marriage). Thanks - Jenny'

Also in this newsletter, the very popular Failsafe lunchbox inspiration and a study linking insomnia in adults to highly processed foods. Our readers agree, eg. "annatto (natural colour 160b) ... keeps my husband and 3 children awake and feeling wired for hours if they have it at dinner time" - Jessica.

There's also the latest information about labels on foods and medications

Due to changing needs, we have closed our local contacts list, resulting in some heartwarming stories such as Jan's from the UK: "... through Failsafe our family found our triggers in detail, and moved on to a relatively normal life (!) … [I share] my joy and gratitude that we found the diet, and what a difference it made to my family ...". Thank you to the former local contacts! - and to the very helpful  failsafers in our facebook group:, "this group is  …  filled with such amazing and supportive people who are all genuinely trying to help each other … has helped me and my son so much ..." - Sharl from story [1552] Failsafe support continues here.

Reader stories range from facebook threads on  ADHD in adults such as  "… amines make my ADHD, emotions, etc. much worse" to bladder irritation and interstitial cystitis in adults eg. "I used to get that when I ate a diet high in sals …", and children eg. "My 4.5 year old daughter...started wetting her pants at 2.5 years old (after being dry…for 6 months)...all cleared up by simply removing soy sauce and reducing high amine foods."

Another story answers a question - Is it sensible for those with food intolerances to avoid certain career paths? with 18 answers such as "I'm a nurse I was healthy when I started but it's a nightmare now...exposure to multiple strong perfumes, aerosols, cleaning products, smoke etc…" - Peta

Cooks corner recipe: bubble and squeak (with a story). Now read on....

 - Sue Dengate

Failsafe lunchbox inspiration

Lunchboxes can be an issue. Many failsafers have contributed suggestions through the Sue Dengate facebook group, closed failsafe group, failsafe lunchbox menu and by email, like this:


    ....We are mod sal hence the peeled carrot, I usually pack celery with cream cheese instead but ran out! Everything else is ok for strict elimination … lunchbox is Go Green … iceberg lettuce is low sal … bread is Woolworths in-house wholemeal …  in the compartment on the right, the snacks are chick bits (skinnymixers Lunchbox Chicken Loaf slightly modified to make FS), Anzacs (without coconut!), Jatz, muesli bar and magic bean carob cake (slightly modified to make FS) – Karissa

There’s a detailed new blog from Sue

•    Where to find failsafe recipes?
•    Inspiration on lunchboxes from breads to fillings
•    Answers to questions like this: Q. I am after GF and DF lunchbox ideas for a very active and hungry 5 year old who is on the strict FS diet - low tolerance....- Biddy
•    Suitable fedup website recipes
•    And even some failsafe packets without nasty additives.

Thanks to all who contributed!


How to tolerate more salicylates?


A highly popular blog from Sue Dengate  in answer to a reader who wanted suggestions about how to tolerate more salicylates.

We support the RPAH elimination diet from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit in Sydney. According to their researchers, food intolerance runs in families but it can also be triggered or made worse by stress, illness, exposure to medications or chemicals such as pesticides, female hormones, and age. Symptoms can come and go and change throughout life.

Sue details 7 ways to manage this issue in her blog

1.    guided reintroduction
2.    the "holiday effect"
3.    the "exercise effect"
4.    stress reduction
5.    brain rewiring
6.    chili trial
7.    Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Saved by diet (children AND adults)


A few days ago I was in a queue in a crowded airport, when one of the staff asked me "is your name Sue Dengate?" At first I thought she wanted to check my ticket - I didn't have one, I was just helping with visitors - but no. Instead, she said:

 "I wanted to say thank you. You saved my son."

It was too busy and noisy to ask questions. But now I wonder, what was her story?

So I looked at our website to see what others had said about being saved by diet.

Even I was amazed, after all these years working with food intolerance.

See really heart-warming and genuinely inspiring stories from our many failsafers, children and adults

And this feedback since the blog appeared

Fabulous post Sue and Howard. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve told that you two and Failsafe saved my family’s life. It saved my sanity and it saved my boys’ quality of life (and in turn my marriage). Thanks ❤ - Jenny

You have saved my son too!! And you have saved my mental health!! - Charmaine

Study: diet can cause insomnia in adults


Another very popular recent blog from Sue Dengate urged attention to diet for insomnia, which affects about 30% of adults.

In a recent study, researchers examined data from more than 50,000 postmenopausal women who kept food diaries as part of the Women’s Health Initiative. Women who ate more sugars, starches and refined grains reported more insomnia - those who ate more unprocessed food such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables had less sleeping problems.

The researchers concluded that the cause might be sugar, but our readers, often using the RPAH elimination diet, have found that additives and natural food chemicals - including colours, preservatives, flavours, MSG-type flavour enhancers, natural salicylates and/or amines - can trigger sleep problems at all ages. Everyone is different.

"I have been an insomniac since I was 16 ... it has been a major issue in my life. I have lived on approximately four hours sleep a day. I have spent thousands of dollars in trying to find the answer. ...  I have only read probably one quarter of your book. But the next day I eliminated wheat, dairy and all preservatives/additives ... and I suddenly found myself able to fall asleep in ten minutes ... " - Ingrid from story [150]

Read full blog with scientific references, reader reports and what you can do.

Also see Sleepless babies and diet

More in the factsheet Diet, sleep disturbance and insomnia with an attached story collection.

Special offer:  Wein personal air supply battery model $124.09


We have only 14 remaining of the Wein personal air supply battery model AS180i (lasts for >60 continuous hours), usually $134.09 now at $124.09 with a bonus free battery in addition to that supplied with unit. 

Deals with bushfire smoke and viruses  - with virus particles similar in size to the coronavirus, the ionizers make masks very much more effective. Researchers theorized that the added electrostatic charges on the mask fibres cause a significant enhancement effect (about 5-fold for the Vortex VI-3500 ionic purifier) as well as reducing the numbers of particles in the environment. Read more


Drugs, additives and ingredients used to make your food that you don't know about

Did you know farmed salmon is actually white or pale grey? The nature-identical synthetic additive astaxanthin gives it that ‘salmon’ colour through the fish feed, but doesn’t appear on the label in Australia.


Consider signing this petition


Interactions of food and drugs

Few people or doctors consider what they are eating when taking medication, but as this independent and authoritative website shows, you need to know what you are doing. Free pdf download available (6 pages) on killer combinations of foods with medicines - important instructions on how to best take certain drugs like hydrochlorothiazide, digoxin, warfarin and ranitidine.

Goodbye to the local contacts list

Changing needs and privacy concerns have prompted the closure of the local and overseas contacts list. The best form of support is the Sue Dengate facebook group with over 15,000 members, including dietitians and very experienced failsafers - this is an open forum meaning the public can see your posts. Or the closed failsafe group  with over 5,000 members - the public cannot see your posts. Grateful thanks to the many local and overseas contacts who have provided friendly and useful support for many past years: Alison, Andra, Andrea, Anna, Anne, Anne-Marie, Annette, Belinda, Brenda, Bron, Cara, Carol, Caroline, Carsten, Cath, Cathy, Charmaine, Chris, Dani, Danielle, Darren, Deb, Dianne, Elaine, Eleanor, Emma, Fay, Faye, Fiona, Hayley, Helen, Jan, Jane, Jenny (2 of them), Jo,  Julie, Julieanne, Kazz, Kylie, Linda, Lisa, Lucy, Martina, Monica, Nerida, Nikki, Nyssa, Pam, Peta, Pip, Rachel, Rebecca, Robin, Robyn, Rossana, Shannon, Shelley, Sheryl, Skye, Sonia , Sonja, Stephanie, Sue (3 of them), Susan, Suzie, Sylvia, Symone, Tina , Tracey, and Tracy. See more at and some feedback [1559]

Semi-retirement of Dr Robert Loblay and Dr Anne Swain, RPAH Allergy Unit

Failsafers will be sorry to hear that Drs Loblay and Swain are no longer taking patients as of last November. They have been a source of sound science, strength and support for so many for so many years. Their legacy continues at the unit however.

Food label industry workshops

Run by Food Legal, these are selling out fast and “empower you to assess the regulatory risk of the latest emerging and trending claims”, in other words to skirt the edge of the law. Trending on every processed food you will shortly buy: Vegan friendly, Plant-based, Raw, Superfood, All natural, Healthy, Made in Australia, Sustainable. For instance, a decision in the US just found that it is not misleading for the label to state “diet” even though the product had no weight loss benefit: “the descriptor ‘diet’ ... is not false or descriptive simply because some consumers may ‘unreasonably interpret the term differently’ “(Dr Pepper, US Court of Appeals, December 2019)!

Increased ingredient information on medicines

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is taking baby steps from June 2020 to include the names of excipient ingredients, as opposed to only active ingredients, but only using the generic terms 'flavour', 'fragrance' and 'colour'. Deliberately limited so as to protect “commercially sensitive information”, in other words protecting the company not the consumer.

Q: My son had a rash on his face after vegemite?

I presume you have seen the explanation from Kraft: "MSG is not added to Vegemite, however the yeast extract used as an ingredient is known to contain naturally occurring glutamates. One type of glutamate is MSG (monosodium glutamate)". Rashes are a well-known side effect of MSG and other glutamates in some people. See story [1445] about getting rid of rash with diet for example. More at factsheet Eczema, hives and rashes

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.

People tell us that stories are so useful and positive!

[1559] Feedback from local contacts (February 2020)

A local contact was a lifesaver at the time when I discovered failsafe, and someone on the other end of the phone was really helpful, even just to de-stress to - Robin

Thank you for making me learn how to cook, though stressful at first I actually learned to love it, and still make most things from scratch even now :). We continue to follow a lot of the Failsafe guidelines, as my husband gets migraines from too many amines - which we learned through the Failsafe journey also and I have quite a few friends who have found answers to their own issues through witnessing our 15 year journey. Thanks for your life changing contribution to families everywhere - Jenny

As a local contact we normally had a flurry of emails/phone calls where I offer support/know how, and just listen to their story, which has often remained unheard, as you know.  These days I signpost them to join the active Failsafe facebook group for the nitty-gritty.  However I think the very fact that through Failsafe our family found our triggers in detail, and moved on to a relatively normal life (!) is tremendously encouraging for them.  I can talk about the practicalities of running a special diet, which I have done for 20 years, common mistakes, handy tips, and offer them the knowledge that it will not always be this hard.  Maybe most of all I shower them with my joy and gratitude that we found the diet, and what a difference it made to my family, and that seems to give hope and boosts determination. Thank you both for all the dedicated, caring and intelligent work that you guys have put into to changing umpteen families' lives - Jan UK

[1558] Anyone been successful in using failsafe for adult adhd? (January 2020)

I don’t have a formal diagnosis, but my son is ADHD & autistic, I believe he has my genetics. I react to amines with emotional outbursts quite strongly, plus flavour & colours - Amy

I am very interested in answers to this as my partner has ADHD and after using the diet for my son I am now noticing some definite reactions (exacerbated stress, emotional outbursts) to numbers, colours etc. He is yet to believe me though - Ida

Using failsafe has had a massive impact on my depression, my mood swings, and my focus capabilities. I was never diagnosed with ADHD but seem to have many of the symptoms that I can manage with Failsafe diet. Amines are the main culprit - Anna

I have ADHD and while FS doesn’t completely ‘cure it’, my symptoms are much better and more manageable. I’m very similar to those above - amines make my ADHD, emotions, etc. much worse - Jenny

I’ve had a patient I was seeing for gut issues who also had ADHD. She had an improvement & was able to reduce medication – Jo (a dietitian)

Amines are disasters for me - I’m 45 and was diagnosed when I was 8. Diet has saved my life and I have two sons with adhd and it worked for them and also gave info to a friend whose son and husband had it too and they found it helped. I have been cutting amines from my diet for thirty years now and find when I stray from a proper diet all the old symptoms come back and mood swings and the ability to focus are really altered. Thanks to failsafe I can manage - Lee

I'm 52, love my ADHD superpower, better since I'm low Sals though not so much irritation and headaches.  Sounds funny to most but since I changed my words and the way I look being ADHD, I've overcome so much.  Enjoy have fun, run be free – Sue

I did the elimination diet before being diagnosed with ADHD. I am sensitive to salicylates, amines, artificial colours, preservatives and antioxidants, mostly with behavioral reactions. Colours I react violently. The diet helped a lot, but the ADHD diagnosis and medication filled in the gaps and cleared the rest of the brain fog - Jay

Yes. I am a big responder to salicylates, I can tolerate a very little bit, but if I have too many my brain goes whack, and jumps everywhere, my blood sugars turn into reactive hypoglycemia and I can't think straight. I take venlafaxine as well because it helps both my depression and adhd. However it's staying away from gluten and salicylates that help me stay sane and keep my sugars and thought processes stable - Tiah

[1557] Success story on hives/rashes (January 2020)


Just wanting to share Mr 4 is now 3 weeks with no antihistamine. After using 15ml of phenergan every night prior to starting this diet, it seems like a dream come true. So excited to be starting the slow journey to hopefully liberalize his diet. I never thought it would happen. It took 3-4 months for my super responder to reach baseline so hang in there if it's taking you longer than you first thought. So grateful we have found our miracle cure. So thankful for everyone's support from the Sue Dengate facebook group – Charmaine

[1556] Urination issues and food intolerance – facebook thread (January 2020)

Does anyone have urine infection like symptoms after having salicylates... I don’t actually have a UTI (urinary tract infection), it just feels like it sometimes after having sals??? - Rose

Yes! I get like an urgency to pee even when it's completely empty. Especially at night - Alex

Yes! But when I am careful and watch my SALS, the urgency and need lessens. Took me a while to figure it all out....I'm a slow learner. :) - Clare|

It affects our 3yo in this way. He overflows nappies at night time & often wakes very distressed when he needs to pee overnight telling us it hurts - Connie

My 4.5 year old daughter has a problem with amines, she started wetting her pants at about 2.5 years old (after being dry and self toilet trained for 6 months), it got so bad we were up at the hospital at one point as she was urgently urinating every 30-45 mins for a few days, it was horrible - Melinda see full story [1555] below

It’s very frustrating, I went to the doctors for a good 4 years and kept being turned away and told it was IBS in the end I thought I was going insane! – Jan

Clear salicylates reaction here. When my dd started school (and had strawberries and watermelon in her lunch box) she started wetting her pants. Once going failsafe this stopped. She has now been failsafe for years and only has minor issues when filling her bucket. I discovered I was sals sensitive when I went low salicylate to support someone else then had 2 small slices of watermelon. I felt like I had a UTI and had to pee every 30 mins all day. I also stick to within my limits mostly - my bucket is bigger than my dds - Tanya

This is what happens to me but never turning into an actual UTI - Helen

After amines... frequency and urgency. Same for husband and 3yo – Edith

Yes, every time! Took me a while to figure it out. I get a burning sensation in my bladder, when I try to urinate, nothing happens! - Robin

When my son was very sensitive, one piece of carrot or using any toothpaste would make him wet the bed at night – Anne

Antioxidants were worst here - Tracy

I used to get that when I ate a diet high in sals. Don’t have a problem now I watch my sal intake strictly ? - Jen

Yes!!! Omg and my youngest all the time..... It's hell if we aren't strict - Terry

I’ve seen this a lot - an irritable bladder or interstitial cystitis - dietitian

Yep, three of us in this house react like that with sals (and certain flavour additives too) – Amy

[1555] Amines and urinary urgency (January 2020)

My 4.5 year old daughter has a problem with amines, she started wetting her pants at about 2.5 years old (after being dry and self toilet trained for 6 months without accidents), it got so bad we were up at the hospital at one point as she was urgently urinating every 30-45 mins for a few days, it was horrible.

I went to Drs numerous times about it over a year, sometimes we would be in the Drs office and her urgency to urinate was so great that we had to duck out to use the toilet mid-appointment, then after the appointment we would get to the car and she would have to urgently go again but going back to the clinic was too far for her to hold it so she would have to wee in a garden next to the car. Our Dr put it down to her being constipated and it pushing on her bladder and kept telling me kids don't need to be toilet trained until they are 4, just keep training her, even though I knew this was not the problem, she knew how to go to the toilet and we did have weeks when she was dry and weeks when she wasn't so I didn't think it was a "lazy" issue. I tried to get a referral numerous times to our local hospital but I was told we have to wait until after she is 4 because it isn't classed as a problem until then. Daycare also mentioned to me that they way she drank and urinated looked similar to a child they had that had diabetes but this was ruled out.

She always had long bouts of screaming since she was a baby, along with what felt like constant nappy rash. Some time after she was 2 she started getting hives on her face when she had soy sauce (sushi is her favourite food and we would have it a few times a month). If she got the sauce on her fingers and scratched herself she would then have hives where her fingers had touched. I had gone to numerous Drs and a pediatrician concerned about her screaming sessions and the only thing that came up in the tests was low iron. I also asked the Dr about the soy sauce and it giving her hives and I was told if it doesn't bother her, keep giving it to her, however the tantrums were so frequent we didn't think it was bothering her and I trusted the Dr's advice.

Then when she was 3.5 years old we had had a few weeks break from eating sushi and then she ate some with soy sauce. She then got tired shortly after, hopped into bed and wanted to go to sleep, she got hives around her mouth. It was like a switch had gone on where she was then defiant and had to say no to everything that was asked of her, she was very angry and our little girl even spat at me. She then started urinating very frequently and was busting to go, this lasted a few days and I also noticed she was mixing some of her words up like she was confused. She wasn't back to her normal self until about 1.5-2 weeks later. Finally with all these problem symptoms happening at once after we had had a bit of a good run, the penny dropped that it was the food doing this to her.

She has since been tested for a skin prick soy allergy which came back negative and the nurse at the allergy clinic suggested an intolerance to amines. I tested her skin with 4 different types of soy sauce to see if it was ribo rash causing this (635 flavour enhancer) but she got hives from all four sauces even the one with very simple ingredients in it.

She still has sushi but without the soy sauce and since we cut the out of her diet she hasn't wet her pants, she hasn't had urine urgency at home or at daycare and her long screaming fits reduced dramatically from a few times a month to about 2 a year. Her iron levels are also at a normal level. I have since pointed out to the medical professionals we saw that it was the soy sauce that was the culprit and I'd read an article that said it can irritate the bladder however none of them had heard of such a thing. I do wish we had gotten the proper help earlier on. I look back at how often she screamed, how irritated she must have been and the hours we spent trying to calm her down, that all cleared up by simply removing soy sauce and reducing high amine foods.

Here is a photo of her face after having soy sauce and her lower back after it dripped on her fingers and she scratched herself - Melinda


[1554] Food intolerance and occupations – facebook thread (December 2019)

Q: Is it sensible for those with food intolerances to avoid certain career paths?

Some helpful answers, interestingly mostly perfume/fume sensitivities which go with food intolerance:

The hospitality industry isn’t good to work in especially if you are in the kitchen with all the foods and have to taste what you make. Also the cleaning agents aren't great either. And being a barista is bad too as your skin absorbs the coffee you work with.  The only good occupation I've found is being a stay at home mum but that won’t last forever - Laura

Cleaning was hard, but gloves and good quality paint mask helped immensely - Teresa

I am an artist and art teacher. I make sure we have good ventilation in the classroom and insist on students using the non-toxic /smell free versions of paint and solvents while in my classroom. But it can be hard - there are some days when I am overloaded with chemicals. I gave up oil painting but now work with sculpture, watercolour etc. Oil painting is actually doable with good ventilation and good quality smell-free chemicals. Just have to be careful to change clothes and shower properly after each painting session!- Yen

I work retail and it can be difficult at times. I have managed ok but there are certain things I can’t do at work like cleaning as the chemicals cause bad reactions on my skin, I can’t work in the fresh food departments because of chemicals again but also the use of gloves irritates my skin and constant hand washing with the hand soap at work causes severe dry skin and a rash. I also have difficulty with colleagues and customers who wear too much perfume/fragrances deodorants and deal with it as best I can. It’s hard some days especially if I’ve already had a reaction to a food work just makes it harder but I’m getting better on that front so can deal with the other reactions better as well – Joanna

I have quite a unique job. I am an accommodation worker and look after 31 units and rooms onsite so am in the office half the time and waking around the building at other times. I tackled my workplace and asked for reasonable adjustments to be made - basically asking that colleagues do not wear fragrances and changed my desk to more of a corner area to avoid passing people all the time as they still have to wear deodorants. I have to do weekly room inspections which can sometimes set me off if a resident has just cleaned that day or has any of those plug ins actively running or the new diffuser things. I wear a mini air purifier all the time at work and bought good quality rechargeable batteries and charger for my desk so that I have a constant supply of batteries. It is doable. If a person forgets and wears something strong I can use a computer in a meeting room away from the office or go to another branch where they sit me away from others. It took a few years for this to occur though but as soon as I mentioned MCS is basically recognised as a disability my boss and the organisation decided it wasn’t worth taking a risk from a health and safety perspective – Sarah

I am a chemist and I’m hoping to move into more measurement and calculations roles rather than synthetic chemistry (so many amines and some salicylates too). At the moment I’m just really careful with wearing gloves and working in fumehoods, and I bring my own soap! - Jen

I have been a nurse for 30 years & over the last couple years have started getting migraines from the hand washing chemicals-the basin washing is bad enough but now u r expected to use the hand gels 100s of times per day. Looking for alternate employment after a break being a carer for my Mum. Even research recruiting which I have done in the past is a no go due to the severity of my reactions to even small amounts of hand washing per day. I may go into working with the disabled as I can take my own soap - Jenny

Disability Support worker in a group home.... hand soap, spray deodorants used on clients , chemical spray deodorisers, aromatherapy diffusers, bug sprays....have asked for support from other workers, rarely get it! - Carol

Baking and cooking were my hobbies and now I can't event do new recipes for other people cause I can't taste it, couldn't imagine being a chef - Deb

I had to quit my art course at TAFE because the paint fumes were too much for me, but on the other hand I can use acrylic paints without too much issue. Art type stuff there’s a lot of fumes but if you wanted to pursue art yourself you can figure out what works for you. I did cake decorating for a while but gave it up as a career option...I love it and I’m good at it, but people kept ordering chocolate mud cake and I couldn’t stand having the house full of chocolate cake smells all the time! And having to melt and temper chocolate was torture. I would certainly never consider a career in hairdressing or candle making or perfume sales...if I’m going to be sick from salicylates I’d rather be eating fruit! But if it’s your passion then it’s a matter of seeing if you can find a balance that works for you. My friend has her own hairdresser studio in her backyard for example...that sort of setup would hugely reduce the amount of fumes, and you could get fresh air through as well - Ruth

I have quite severe food intolerances, I coped as a theatre nurse for 20yrs, now I can’t cope with the hand wash & diathermy smoke - Kate

I work in a small office and love it. We only have 9 staff and they understand my sensitivities but not always easy to find a job like that – Lea

I worked in pharmacy as a teenager. Couldn’t stand the soap aisle. Went farming and hay fever was awful issue! The supermarket aisle of soap powders is horrendously stinky. The pest control aisle of garden centre or hardware store ugh! Paint fumes, new cars another no go. Big malls or big corporations with automatic “air fresheners” or “ bug controls sprays” may not be avoidable either. So many traps out there. A job in fresh air at the seaside maybe? - Chris

I'm a nurse I was healthy when I started but it's a nightmare now...exposure to multiple strong perfumes, aerosols, cleaning products, smoke etc. I have migraines and asthma too and it's awful for that as well noisy, bright lights etc - Peta

Aircon in the office was nearly always a problem for me so that would be limiting if you couldn't manage it - Beth

I’m a primary teacher. It’s quite ok because I have a fair amount of control over my work environment. I can tell the students not to wear any spray on deodorants or perfumes. I’ve had one issue with super strong smelling laundry detergent or fabric softener on a child’s uniform. Also some colleagues I’ve had to sit in meetings with after school have strong perfume. I have asked them not to wear it but sometimes they forget. I can choose to open or close the doors and windows and whether to turn on aircon or not. I bring in my own Norwex cloths and have children clean desks with those instead of smelly chemical cleaners. I also use them on the whiteboard instead of the strong smelling whiteboard cleaner. My worst day was a whole day of professional development in a room that smelt very strongly of a chemical like whiteboard cleaner. I had a migraine by the end of the day - Mary

I am sensitive to fluorescent lights. They give me sever migraines and make me fall asleep or at the very least give me an extremely foggy head and make it impossible to concentrate. I have found that if there is enough natural light in the room it’s ok - Lee

Being in public is unsafe enough for me to experience negative effects e.g. reactions to fragrances; so I'd think being around a concentrated lot of triggering artificial chemicals, as in a nail salon, would be still more immediately problematic.  I work across my company's clinic and within the client's home, as an intensive therapist for a child with ASD. The triggers I can't control are synthetic fragrances used in the rooms and by other staff/clients, cleaning products, and tobacco smoke. Masks can help a bit, but my eyes are still exposed and I don't use the mask when with my child. I should see if I can request the client from refraining from smoking or wearing perfume around me, but I'm a bit nervous to do that still! The gym is the worst place for me, as most people decide to add strong, often synthetic, fragrances and it's just impossible to get through a workout with a mask on! – Mitha

[1553] One liners (December 2019)

Finding out about this diet on the internet literally saved my life – Sharyn

Thanks so much for adding me to the dietitian registry.  I have seen profound results with several of my clients.  It's quite eye-opening for sure!! -  a dietitian

We have been doing this diet about 12 weeks or so. It has worked wonders for my son. It has certainly been life changing. He has gone from being covered in a hive like rash every day of his life, to just having a bit of eczema – Charmaine


[1552] Sue Dengate facebook group provides “incredible” support (December 2019)

I just wanted to put it out there that I think this group is absolutely incredible. It is filled with such amazing and supportive people who are all genuinely trying to help each other. This group has helped me and my son so much. It's so insanely wonderful having expert advice at your fingertips 24/7 and people who truly understand what you are going through. I am finding it hard to even imagine how I was coping 3 months ago prior to joining this group. It's been totally life changing. I feel like I have this whole team of people who I have never met befriending me and helping me through this painfully difficult journey, when previously I felt basically totally alone with lots of friends, but nobody who actually understood anything we were dealing with – Sharl

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


NOTE the failsafe shopping lists on are being progressively updated to reflect the changes above. If using the shopping lists, check for a current date at the bottom of the list!

The failsafe sausages list has been updated again. Please email directly with changes, preferably in the format in the list, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. People continue to rave about the real flavour of these sausages!

Friendly Food update (2) - see other update in the previous newsletter

Dr Anne Swain kindly answered that there is an error on page 23 under Dried Fruit that will be corrected in future editions. The correct info is

Salicylates VERY HIGH    Apple, Apricot, Peach
Amines VERY HIGH         Banana, Paw paw

The completely revised and updated Friendly Food from RPAH is now available at $38.00 including post and GST from the Food Intolerance Network store

Friendly Foodsmall

SPECIAL OFFER because it costs no more to post these:

  • Friendly Food (at cost) $38.00 incl postage & GST
  • add Fed Up for only $18.00 (32% discount)
  • add Failsafe Cookbook for only $27.00 (22% discount)
  • add Fed Up and Failsafe Cookbook for only $45.00 (25% discount)
  • add DVD Fed Up with Children's Behaviour for only $14.00 (45% discount)
  • add 'The Set' (Fed Up, Failsafe Cookbook & DVD) for only $60.00 (25% discount)


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)

Don't forget that there is great collection of short videos to help answer your questions and understand food intolerance.

Thanks for your continuing support of each other!

A video-graphic introduction to food intolerance from one of our Network members (2 mins): Food intolerances, what are they? Thanks to Steph Aromataris


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 (now over 15,000 members, open forum meaning the public can see your posts).

Closed failsafe group with over 5,000 members (the public cannot see your posts)
USA facebook group
NZ facebook group (membership preference given to those living in New Zealand)
UK facebook group again accessible

twitter-bird-blue-on-whitetweet as @failsafers (note the plural). See all tweets

The Food Intolerance Network website has had over 12 million visits

Dietitians: for failsafe-friendly dietitians, see the regularly updated 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. Welcome to Amanda Moon now located in Adelaide and very experienced.


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 $14.50 including postage through the shop on As a reward for reading this newsletter so thoroughly, the first two people to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their mailing address will receive a copy of our DVD free!

brochureflags flagFinland

: 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. Brochure in Chinese. Latest brochure in Finnish.

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 latest collection is on violence and aggression (54 pages)

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


Bubble and squeak


 Long-term failsafer Tracy reminds us that the emotional story behind the recipe is often just what someone reading along needs to see. ? :

I made Bubble and Squeak for dinner and to freeze, which shouldn't be a big deal, but I'm proud of myself ?

This has been a really tough journey and the many, many unexpected reactions I've had which have delayed my progress with challenges have made me hesitant to cook new foods so I found myself in a huge food rut.

For Christmas my youngest sister asked me to help plan a meal we all could eat, because she wanted us all to be eating the same thing (and not just my regular, plain, boring food). That was a difficult request... I didn't want to. I'm scared of having a reaction while I'm trying to get through challenges, but Christmas is special.

So I made new food, and that's kick started me into bringing new recipes into my routine.

It's a bit silly to share the emotional journey behind one recipe, but I know you guys get it. Sometimes the elimination and challenge process is really hard. And so a simple meal is a big deal for me today.

If anyone wants the recipe here's the link. My dietitian has a website with a whole bunch of great recipes, and this one was nice and easy to start with ? - thanks to Jess

You can also find more recipe ideas at or Failsafe Cookbook

Every failsafer should get the regular newsletter from The Failsafe Table - it is fantastic February - March issue just out with inspiring recipes and photos.


There's a recipe index of ANY Failsafe recipes on ANY blog. So far there are more than 1,000 recipes with great photos 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

Privacy statement about emails and reports: Your email addresses and stories are never shared with anyone without your express permission. Names in stories are often changed to better protect the privacy of those providing them but the original emails are held in a secure location to provide evidence that these are real reports and that express permission to share them has been granted.

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. or use the unsubscribe button if your newsletter comes from MailChimp.

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

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"

20 copies Fed Up Revised and updated at $US12.50
8 copies Failsafe Cookbook Updated at $US22.00
11 copies Fed Up With Children' Behaviour (NTSC format) - DVD at $US14.50

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 2020 (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

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