I had no idea that other people were suffering in a similar manner to myself. I am more than happy to contribute my case to your case file.

Last July (2002) I consumed roast chicken that caused a dramatic rash to appear all over my body. I was sure the roast chicken was the cause as I had noticed on two previous occasions severe thirst and disorientation after consuming roast chicken bought from a Woolworth’s supermarket.  On the third occasion I had the same symptoms plus the rash. The rash was so severe that I was required to take oral cortisone to suppress it, as antihistamines had no effect. I enquired with Woolworths as to the ingredients used in seasoning the chicken and was informed that 635 was the sole flavour enhancer.  I saw an allergist about a month later who dismissed my view, saying that it was more likely to be a non-specific reaction that would eventually die down and disappear. I didn't subscribe to that diagnosis and decided to stay away from roast chicken for my health's sake. I began to notice that it would flare up occasionally (this is after taking the antihistamine zyrtec continuously for 3 months) after eating out or consuming commercially produced foods. I was particularly upset to discover that some of these products did not contain 635 but 631 which gave me the impression that I was becoming hypersensitive to additional food additives. I now realise from the fact sheet available from the ACA web site that 635 is a combination of 631 and 627! I have found 631 in a commercially available salad dressing to which I reacted badly. The rash usually starts on my upper thighs around my backside and travels down my legs. It also appears on my back and shoulders. At its worst when it first appeared it was also on my face and torso. The welts were large, covering a wide area, very hot and maddeningly itchy.

The most disturbing aspect of this situation is that 635 is being used in takeaway foods and I also suspect in restaurants. The consumer has no way of knowing that 635 is present in the food.  I am beginning to avoid all commercially prepared food. Can you believe it?  Imagine if I became anaphylactic to this substance. Just last Saturday night I attended a wedding reception and cautiously ate the three course meal provided, avoiding the gravy on the meat, only to find the rash reappearing by the time I got home. Another disturbing symptom that has only accompanied the rash twice (the second time was early last Sunday morning after the reception) is a very strong sensation of 'knotting' in my oesophagus. It’s similar to the feeling of eating a lot of food too quickly and having to wait for it to travel down. It comes in waves, like contractions, and I wonder whether it is the peristalsis of my oesophagus firing unnecessarily. It has woken me from sleep on both occasions and I find that it responds to taking an antihistamine. I am more than willing to be a part of the 'clinical evidence' required to nail this damn additive – Anna by email.