Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

October 1999


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

Failsafe is now available free by email. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Use of food additives to increase


Consumer groups are outraged by a proposal to increase the use of food additives from October 22 on the recommendation of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA).

In a recent review of the use of food additives, ANZFA concluded that the new standard for food additives "facilitated both consumer choice and innovation in technology by applying the minimum restriction on use ...".

"Consumer choice"? Virtually all requests by the food industry to increase the use of food additives were granted while consumer concerns were dismissed. Consumers who want to avoid problem-causing additives will have drastically reduced choice!

ANZFA dismisses reactions to food additives (see below) and advises that "people who have food intolerance should be educated by their medical or dietetic practitioner as to a suitable diet".


Reactions to food additives are related to dose. As the daily dose increases, more people will react. In theory, anyone will react if the dose is high enough. Because reactions can build up very slowly or occur many hours or even days after ingestion people are often unaware of the cause of their problem.

In our experience, it is difficult to avoid problem additives because

• food labelling is incomplete and not available in takeaways or restaurants

• sometimes there are no additive-free alternatives for such essential items as bread or cooking oil


How necessary are food additives?


Among others, the bread preservative (calcium propionate 282) will soon be permitted in a very wide range of healthy foods including fruit and vegetable juices.

According to Mark Laucke of Laucke's flour mills in South Australia, the use of 282 in bread can be avoided by good hygiene such as wiping bakery work benches and slicer blades with vinegar once a week.


Our conclusion


There are 50 food additives (see "Big 50" overleaf) which are associated with common problems. Every time these additives are used, someone, somewhere will be affected. This network endorses the precautionary principle.


We recommend a policy which puts people first and minimises - not encourages - the use of food additives.




• Talk to your local member

• Write to your local health minister (address, fax or email details from your local member)

• Contact the federal minister for health, Dr Michael Woolridge, c/- Parliament House, Canberra (fax 02 6273 4146)

• Write to your local newspaper

• Pass this newsletter on





Food pollution


- reader comment -


I am a middle aged male employed in a professional capacity. I have a family. For at least 25 years of my life I suffered migraine headaches. I saw doctors and specialists, I had CAT scans and no physical causes were found.

In 1982 I was advised by a specialist to take large doses of aspirin together with ergotamine. I had headaches at least every second day for many years. In the 1990s I took sumatriptin tablets (Imigran) which worked about as well as anything but were very expensive.

By 1995 I was ready to try anything and commenced the Elimination Diet. I had a continuous migraine for 6 days but stuck to it. I then started to improve dramatically. I take the occasional Panadol and this is almost always related to a dietary excursion.

I have stuck to the elimination diet and have no wish to start eating strongly flavoured but poisonous foods again ... I have learned to appreciate the food I eat and find a lot of enjoyment in subtle flavours.


The more I read about food intolerance the more concerned I get. When I read your letter to Ministers [FINA website] my reaction is one of EXTREME ANGER. How can ANZFA possibly even consider softening of labelling regulations. I have been caught myself by ingredients lists that appear innocuous except for the word flavours or possibly oils with undisclosed antioxidants.


I now feel very strongly that there must be changes made to stop food pollution.

How can a society where people will chain themselves to construction equipment to stop mining of toxic materials blithely tolerate the addition of things like BHA, BHT and TBHQ to the very food we eat?

I am becoming very passionate about food intolerance issues as I read more.

Please let me know what I can do. [Many thanks! See box]





Additives marked with * can be used in larger doses and/or more foods after October 22, 1999


Possible reactions in children and adults:

• asthma

• irritable bowel symptoms

• itchy skin rashes

• headaches, migraines, tinnitus

• irritability (short fuse), restlessness, sleep disturbance, impairment of memory or concentration (foggy brain), hyperactivity, lethargy, anxiety, depression


Children, women of childbearing age and people who eat large quantities of processed food are most likely to be affected. If additives are eaten every day they can provoke chronic or recurrent symptoms with no obvious cause.


Artificial colours

102, 107, 110, 122, 123*, 124-129, 133, 142, 151, 155 many processed foods even chocolate biscuits

Annatto natural colour

160(b)* widely used eg. dairy foods, margarines


1. Sorbic acids

200 - 203* widely used eg fruit drinks, margarine

2. Benzoic acids

210 - 213* in drinks (soft drinks, cordials, juice), fruit products

3. Sulphites

220 - 228* most widely used additive from bread and most widely used additive from bread and sausages to wine and fruit drinks, strongly associated with asthma

4. Nitrates & nitrites

249 - 252 in processed meats like ham, salami

5. Propionic acids

280 - 283* in breads, soon in fruit juice and others

6. Antioxidants

310 - 321* in oils, margarines, chips, french fries, takeaway fried foods and snack foods



621-625, 627**, 631**, 635** in tasty foods



in many processed foods

** not yet proven


More information


Clarke, L and others, Dietitians Association of Australia review paper: 'The dietary management of allergy and food intolerance in adults and children', Aust J Nutr & Diet (1996) 53:3

Swain A and others, 'Friendly Food', Murdoch Books, 1991 (available in bookstores)

Dengate, S,. 'Fed Up', Random House, 1998 (available in bookstores)

Australia New Zealand Food Authority. P150 a Joint General Standard for Food Additives Inquiry Report 1999, P161 as above

Consumer Food Network: www.ozemail.com.au/~confoodnet

FINA: www.fedup.com.au




This newsletter available free by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail for $10 per year from PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804. Thanks to Margie Turner, Ashley, Kerry, Deborah Halliwell, and readers for reports. © Sue Dengate (text). Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up by Sue Dengate Random House, 1998 and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books, 1991.