Over a month ago I developed an itchy skin rash which gradually got worse. The doctor could not say what it was even after blood tests. Approximately two years ago I told my husband that I would no longer eat flavoured cornchips (cheese or nacho cheese) because I felt strange after eating them an often woke the next morning with a "hangover" type feeling.  Five weeks ago my daughter and I bought a large packet of nacho cheese cornchips and scoffed the lot, me eating the most. Almost immediately I regretted eating them.

Three days later my rash appeared and got progressively worse.  I can only link it to 635. I feel I have it under control by taking Telfast and using Amcal 1 per cent cortisone cream however it is not yet gone and at times still drives me crazy.  Previous to this I have been healthy and fit and my only other known allergy is to Penicillin. It’s getting on for 6 weeks now and if it is 635 afflicting me with this problem it makes me very angry to think that manufacturers knowingly subject us to
these health risks – Susan, Victoria.

I am writing to share my daughter Freda’s experience. I suspect she is currently recovering from an allergic reaction to 635. She is turning 2 next Saturday and we are hoping she will have recovered sufficiently to celebrate.  I have a history of allergies and asthma in my family, so have always been careful when introducing Freda to new foods. However, until now she has appeared to have escaped the food (and other) allergies which were a problem throughout my childhood, but does have a Penicillin allergy (it gives her a rash).

Ten days ago (Friday) Freda woke with a rash all over her torso. By that evening it had spread all over her body, including face, hands and feet, and she had developed a fever. We took her to Box Hill Hospital, and the doctor advised us she had a virus and it was not contagious. He suggested we give her Panadol 4 hourly to reduce her temperature and give her Phenergan or Claratyne for the itch. During the next five days we gave Freda Claratyne but it did nothing to stop the itch. Her temperature remained up and we eventually gave up on the Panadol. We also found that her mood was deteriorating, particularly in the evening at this time, the rash (which had nearly cleared up) seemed to flare up again in certain trouble spots such as her back and around her nappy. Her glands were up. Her body was very warm.  On Wednesday, after her evening bath, she went berserk when we tried to dress her. She was scratching madly and screaming non-stop  it took two of us to hold her down and get a nappy on her, and we had to give up on the clothes as she was putting up such a fight. After an hour of distress, she fell asleep in our bed. We then dressed her. She had a terrible night, moaning in her sleep, and woke at 230am and screamed for half an hour, trying to pull her clothes and nappy off.

The next morning I took her to our GP and he was perplexed. He was trying to find some sign of infection to explain why her temperature was still up. He advised we switch to using Phenergan to try to control the itch. I gave her three doses of Phenergan - the maximum available - that day, and yet the itching continued. That evening we had a repeat of the screaming and scratching frenzy. We ended up calling an ambulance.  By the time the paramedics arrived, Freda had stopped screaming and was quiet. They were very helpful; one paramedic raised the issue of this possibly being an allergic reaction but was wondering if it was something to do with clothes detergent.

They took us to Box Hill Hospital, and suggested to the nurse in Emergency that Freda might be a bit dehydrated and that she needed some medication to control the itch. The nurse checked Freda’s BP and temperature, looked at her skin, and commented that her temp was fine and that she was in good spirits. Indeed Freda was in a good mood by now and very interested in her surroundings. The nurse did not see Freda scratching in the few minutes she spent with us, so noted on the file that Freda did not appear to be itchy. And yet, Freda had new (bright red) and old (scabby) scratch marks all over her shoulders/back of neck and lower back. The nurse returned ten minutes later and saw Freda trying to scratch inside her ears and mouth, and noted on the file that Freda was scratching these areas. She then left again.  Nobody else attended to us for the next hour. By this time, Freda was falling asleep (still giving the occasional scratch). She was still refusing clothes, and only had a nappy on.  She fell asleep. We dressed her and took her home. We advised someone at the Nurses Station that we were leaving  the nurse lifted Freda’s top to check her skin and advised that we bring her back during the night if there are any problems. I asked her if we could have medication to control the itch and she said no. Freda continued to sleep  we took her home and put her in bed.

The following morning we took Freda to see an allergy specialist. He advised us the rash was urticaria, and his belief was that she did initially have a virus and her body had an allergic reaction in response. He advised it could take up to 2 weeks for the rash/itch to clear up completely. He said the only other explanation would be a food allergy and that if there was no improvement over the weekend we should bring her back this week and make changes to her diet. We are continuing to give Freda Phenergan to help ease the itch. The allergy specialist called me today to ask how Freda was, and I was happy to report that although she is still itchy, her mood has improved and the irritation seems to have decreased. He discounted Flavour Enhancer 635 as a possible cause for Freda’s reaction!!! He said food additives do not produce a long lasting reaction like this… Well, I am not taking any chances.

My mother (a very devoted grandmother) has already been to the supermarket today and spent some time compiling a list of biscuit/chip products that contain 635 so we will know what to avoid. Now aware that 635 can cause the exact symptoms I have seen my daughter suffer during the past few days, I have reflected on her diet. The day before Freda’s rash first appeared, she ate something she had never eaten before: flavoured chips.  My apologies for such a long-winded letter, but these details are all too fresh in my mind and it has been an exhausting and distressing ten days for my family! – Tara, Victoria.

This afternoon I discovered the effects of 635.  When I eat foods like chips and things that are very processed I find my throat feels 'thick'.  It feels a bit lumpy and like I am getting a cold.  Most times after friends parties I get this throat thing... after reading about the 635 I figured it could be related to the CC's etc I eat occasionally. Also I always get it after eating 'Arnotts Shapes' and '2 min noodles' – 14 yo girl, by email.

Just a quick note to say that after catching a small piece on ACA last night I think I'm also a victim. In the last year and a half on about 4 occasions I have broken out in an incredible rash with itching that almost drives me mad. The red lumps end up turning into sores before they finally heal and slowly get better, it takes weeks for it to go away. I get them all over including the palms of my hands, soles of my feet, inside my mouth, (therefore was told I had foot and mouth disease) I get a fever, filthy headaches and have no energy whatsoever. I actually have a mild case right now. The last 2 times I had it I was out of action, not able to work for a week at a time. Hope this will add to your effort to have something done about these shonky chemicals and the shonkier people who are responsible for their use – reader by email.

I have just been "poisoned" by a Coles Hot chicken. After eating it for lunch and dinner I got a terrible migraine with vomiting and nausea. The migraine was terrible and lasted for 5 days.  I read the bag and found that it had it had at least 4 lots of flavour enhancers in it, including the stuffing, marinade and seasoning.   Just another thing I can't eat out in case it came from Coles.   Also Devondale now has flavour enhancer in their soft spread.  Of course I wouldn't buy it but who knows what you get when you buy a sandwich out.  Where will it end?   Everyone is trying to poison me.

I was very angry at the time (and still am) that some people can poison my food and not care that I'm extremely sick and lose 5 days out of my life having to cancel all arrangements etc.  I wrote to Coles …(and) Safeway…(and) Devondale… I will purposely avoid all their products. I also spoke to KFC and found there is nothing I can eat there except a dinner roll as everything has flavour enhancer in it.   It is so difficult now going out to people homes or functions where you get served chicken and feel it's rude to ask where they bought it from but too scared to eat it.  With the Devondale spread it's even worse; it could end up in cakes, scones, sandwiches from anywhere.

Now I have to ask “What brand of butter do you use in your cakes, sandwich etc" before I buy it or eat it.  Life is getter harder with these additives.  The food must be pretty tasteless if they have to use enhancers all the time. – Wendy.

I am a 25 yo man from Melbourne, with no history of allergies what so ever. After catching only the end of the Current Affair segment on 635 I felt not only anger (that they are putting this crap in food!) but a great sense of relief - as for 6 months now - I have been getting severe reactions - without being able to pinpoint the culprit.  For 6 months I have been suffering from hives, itchiness, and severe swelling of the lips and tongue to the point where I couldn't talk properly.  I have seen allergy specialists who charged me a couple of hundred dollars to tell me they have no idea!  And so have been living on antihistamines to prevent the reactions.

Thank you for your exposé on this "poison".  I believe many people out there are suffering - but are just taking antihistamines and living with the problem. If there's anything we can do to help your cause in getting this rubbish off the shelves - be sure to let us know!!!!!!! – Yianni, Victoria.

I have experienced a very severe reaction to Country Ladle soup a couple of weeks ago. I started taking Livatone and the rash started the next day, so naturally I thought it was the tablets. I contacted Dr Cabot's website and informed them of my symptoms. I ended up in hospital as I could not breathe and was administered an IV line. I had the same soup a week ago and had exactly the same symptoms and that was when I thought that it could be the soup, as I stopped taking the Livatone after the first rash appeared. Being diagnosed with Chronic Dermatitis, I was used to a bit of a rash when I come in contact with deodorants, but have never experienced anything like this before. Needless to say I was off work for a week and was given steroids and cortisone cream. I will definitely read ALL labels from now on. – Zonja, Perth.

A few weeks ago I started having a Continental Low Carb instant soup every day. I knew the 635 was in there, but thought I didn't react to it. BIG mistake. No doubt you're expecting a description of the rash and swelling. Yes, I did get those, but not until week 2.

In week 1 my stomach progressively got sicker and sicker. By the end of the week I could only lie on the lounge and visit the loo. The doctor diagnosed mild food poisoning that turned into a very nasty stomach bug.  Antibiotics and no food for three days cleared the bug. So what did I do? I had a miso soup from a local Japanese restaurant. A few hours later my stomach started going odd again and I began to itch. By that night the typical 635 rash and unbearable itch had set in.
For some bizarre reason I didn't think of 635 with the miso. The next day I had one of those damn instant soups again and of course the same thing happened but worse.

Needless to say I have ditched the soup and banned 635. My son is actually quite pleased because one of the things that make him itch makes Mummy itch, so he feels a little less alone about it. The itch and rash have gone, but my lips are still very dry and cracked. But I have LEARNT MY LESSON! – Megan NSW.

I cried when I read the stories on breastfeeding babies because that's our world since my son was born 16 months ago - screaming and arching his back until sore big farts release all day and night. I thought we were low salicylate (citrus, broccoli, tomato...) but it turns out it's all the things we were eating - grapes, watermelon, spinach - a difference is already obvious since cutting out high salicylates. - Tasmania

Thanks for your Fed Up book which was recommended by the allergy clinic - we have been searching for years and getting nowhere but now it seems we have found a large part of the answer to our 6 year old son's behaviour problems. We are still working through the challenges, but to our surprise, the first challenge we did (dairy) was a definite FAIL! We almost didn't even eliminate dairy, because I was sure that was not a problem for him, however I decided to err on the side of caution and I'm glad I did! He became progressively grumpier, looked pale, seemed tired and complained of tummy aches. After a couple of months of beautiful behaviour and no tantrums, we were back to ‘Mr Revolting’. We are now dairy free again, and it has taken about 10 days for him to get back to normal. - NSW

I stopped wearing hairspray about 6 months ago when we went totally failsafe and saw great results with our children's behaviour. Two weeks ago I was going out without the kids, so after putting them to bed I sprayed on some Sunsilk hairspray and liked the way it looked. So the next day I did it again and within a couple of hours my 3 year old son's behaviour changed. He was overactive, very fidgety, hitting and kicking, and headbutted his sister hard enough to give her a blood nose. As time went on he was crying a lot with loud silly behaviour and wanting demands met immediately. That night he could not get to sleep. I wore the hairspray for three days not putting two and two together then we realized it must be the hairspray as their diet is so failsafe it couldn't be the food he was eating. I stopped wearing hairspray and his behaviour returned to normal. I have also noticed that when I visit my mum who uses airfreshener - lots of air freshener - my son's behaviour deteriorates after a few hours. - Vic

Recently I suffered an extremely itchy rash that kept me up at night and became very inflamed and sore from scratching. I consulted the doctor and all he could tell me was that it was a rash, and it could be a virus. That was all he could tell me. That and he asked if I'd ever had chicken pox ... this rash was nothing like a chicken pox rash. The rash itself lasted two weeks and was agony, to say the least. I still bear marks on my arms from scratching. I went through the usual what did you eat routine and nothing out of the ordinary - although I did have Hungry Jack’s in the 30 hour time frame.

(Later) As I tend to avoid most overprocessed foods, I can honestly say that my rash after 3 weeks is much better. The rash I developed was small, intensely itchy bumps over my stomach and back, and my arms. These bumps were constantly itchy, antihistamines helped but did not alleviate much. I couldn't sleep and felt irritable  although that had a lot to do with no sleep. However I still have some marks on my arms where I scratched too hard - reader by email.

A big thank you for your recent informative and inspiring seminar, I bought your book ‘Fed Up with Asthma’ that night and have not been able to put it down - Qld

My son was a chronic biter and after seeing several shows on TV about the additive 282 I took him off that bread and he stopped biting. - by email

My little girl child is diagnosed with autism and in the last two weeks I've eliminated all of these numbers from her diet and she's already looking healthier. - WA

I am continuing to stick to low sals vegies and I think it has made a big difference for my son's sneaky poos, his stools are now firm and well formed and he has been going to the toilet everyday (finally!) - failsafer, Vic

Almost all the bread over here has 282 in it. They call it calcium propionate and everyone thinks it's calcium. Trickers!!! - failsafer, UK

Thanks for talking to my 8 yo daughter when she came to your presentation here last year. She still remembers being a ‘Star’ for a day and it helps with her acceptance of what we ask of her with diet. - failsafer, Vic

I got your book ‘fed up’ a few years ago and since then I have tried the diet off and on but never with much success due to a lack of commitment on my part. My sister had real success with her daughter on the diet. Having recently reevaluated how my children react to food chemicals, I am intending to do the diet again. - by email

When I read your book ‘Fed Up’ I wished that I had read it when my children were younger. I spent thousands of dollars and hours at doctors. In the end I worked everything out for myself and some doctors admitted that I knew more than they did (and some doctors did not admit they were wrong). - Qld

Some days my 16 month old daughter was very hyperactive, followed by a horrendous temper. Your books have saved me - she has been on the elimination diet for 3 weeks now, and I have fallen in love with her all over again, she’s the angel I always knew I had. - by email

My teenage daughter has slapped cheek syndrome, which leaves her with rough, dry skin on her cheeks, upper arms and inner thighs. After trying a variety of conventional and alternative treatments over many years, she has been religiously following your failsafe diet for about three weeks now. She chose to also eliminate all dairy foods. We have already noticed a huge improvement in her skin. So far she is very keen to stick with the diet and doesn't want to attempt any challenges yet! She must be feeling great! - email, ACT

I feel very comfortable with this diet and am not craving anything. Not even chocolate! I emptied the pantry and fridge of everything that wasn't failsafe and gave it all away. (it was heaps). I cook our biscuits and cakes and meals, of course, and it just feels right. Going to the supermarket feels good - 'no, nothing in this isle'....... 'no, nothing in this isle'......  and saving at the checkout! You didn't mention that the failsafe diet was also cheap! I 'd call it the poor mans diet.  I think it is the simplicity that I like most, it's as if everything was just over the top and out of control. Food adverts on the TV make me really cranky now, it is similar to being a reformed smoker, I am now a reformed eater. I am not as conflicted as I was before regarding my son 'missing out’. It really is a lifestyle change and I think I've been wanting that for some years but just didn't have the will power to go 'healthy'. (Actually 'healthy' always made me sick). I have been saying to my partner for five years, if I could find a diet that was healthy and agreed with me, I would stick to it for life - I think I've found it!

After hearing about sodium benzoate in asthma medication at your presentation recently I was a bit shocked, and sure enough it was there in my son’s medication - standard Ventolin Sugar Free Oral Liquid used for under fives. I talked to my GP about my son’s asthma and that the preservative that can cause asthma was in the medication and he was extremely shocked.

My son had suddenly developed asthma when he was two months old, just after his first immunisation shot - although at that age they don't call it asthma. When the asthma finally went away we got the second shot. After that he frequently stopped breathing and was on so much medication we took turns at sitting up with him through the night. Finally we decided that the medication wasn't working constantly enough and took him off it without telling the doctor – and our son slowly got better. He would still have small attacks on occasions so after my husband read your book he decided we should try diet. We noticed there was a difference when we found some sultanas that didn't contain sulphites.  We were doing great and had almost six months free of any medication then last week our son developed an ear infection and was put on Amoxil antibiotics and Panadol for pain, both containing sodium benzoate. Within three days he had an asthma episode. After much enquiry I have found that sodium benzoate is in almost every single baby medication including pain medication (often along with artificial colours and flavours. Our pharmacist said that the small amount of sodium benzoate couldn't possibly create a reaction like asthma, it's unheard of, and as sodium benzoate is so effective as a preservative it is the most commonly used preservative in medication today and likely to be in the future.  God help us!! – mother from Qld.

[See the article Asthma worsened by benzoate contained in some antiasthmatic drugs, by Balatsinou L and others, Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol, 2004 ;17(2):225-6: "Drug and food additives are known to induce pseudo-allergic reactions such as urticaria, eczema, asthma and rhinitis. These reactions are often under-diagnosed, above all in allergic patients treated with additive containing drugs. On the contrary, attention to the additives present in some drug formulations and foods may often permit more correct diagnosis."]

I am a psychologist working with families who require help with their children’s behaviour. I have done a number of home visits with a particular family where the mother is honestly as close to the "perfect parent" as you will ever get. There is nothing I can offer her as a psych in terms of behaviour management, as she is doing everything exactly as I'd recommend. The child I am seeing is four and has Asperger's. His sister, who mum thinks is harder to cope with because she is more unpredictable, is 7ish and has ODD behaviours but not all the time - the kind of kid who goes from angel to nightmare "for no apparent reason". I recently did a home visit and I have never seen anything like it. The girl was sitting there with me chatting away happily, fantastic manners, considerate, playing with her younger brother which such patience etc. Mum fed her homebrand two minute noodles with chicken seasoning ... I kid you not, within 15 minutes, this little angel turned into a whining, defiant, out of it kid who was climbing on furniture, pushing and hitting her brother, screaming in frustration at absolutely nothing and demanding more  noodles. She traced some numbers and mum was taken back by her carelessness and messy job, which she said occurs periodically. It was quite astounding, and I wish I had been able to get that on camera!  - by email.

My seven year old so has been having behaviour problems since he started school.  Earlier this year a child psychologist assessed him with a very high performance IQ but a much lower verbal IQ, so obviously there are learning difficulties although because of his high IQ these have not become apparent yet although there are some signs such as very poor spelling yet an excellent reader.

After some very long and exasperating conversations with the teacher and principal, I took Josh and his reports off to his paediatrician for help. The report explained that Josh doesn’t have ADHD but does display ADHD behaviour. Fifteen minutes later the paed prescribes Ritalin, a six week trial each school day, then see how we go! I am absolutely, to the core, dead set against this medication. In my heart of hearts I couldn’t give it to him. I was furious with the paed and decided to see our GP for further choices.

Next day, I spent one hour in the room with GP. I explained my feelings toward medication for what I truly believe is unnecessary for him and asked about diet. Same answer: six weeks Ritalin then take it from there.

Well, the day before this I came across your book Fed Up with ADHD at our local Big W. At the time I thought "interesting" but let’s see what the doctors say. Well, needless to say that evening after two doctors, and two "not happy with that” solutions, I called my husband and asked him to pick it up on the way home and read it in three days. But first thing next day skipped to the diet section and immediately introduced our family to failsafe foods.

We have been all five on the diet for the last twelve days and all five of us are seeing/feeling results. Some I didn’t even realise how bad they were pre failsafe. But -Joshua’s behaviour has improved so much! He is more compliant at school. He is getting his school work done with far less opposition. The changes in him are definitely due to the diet. The general disposition of everyone in the house is much calmer. It is actually OK for all of us to go out in public and not be constantly at the boys to calm down, behave, and stop fighting. I discovered that Josh can actually sit at the table and eat dinner like the rest of the human race, not with head, feet, knees anything but his bottom, on the chair. I have to agree with one case in "Fed Up" that I am spending an awful lot of time in the kitchen, but the kids are really adapting well to the food even the nightly meal. They are eating stuff they wouldn’t have touched before, even thought they were on very healthy limited processed foods. I just wanted to tell you that your books have been a light at the end of a very long windy tunnel and that your thoughts in the book give us hope that our square peg may not have to be shoved in the round hole after all. Thanks you again so much. - by email

I bought a copy of "Fed Up With Asthma" about 10 months ago. Since then I have been avoiding the food additives highlighted on your card and have had no significant asthma.

You argument seems to fit in perfectly with my history. I grew up in England and developed mild asthma as an adult. This was generally triggered by cats, house dust or overexertion. I moved to New Zealand, where my asthma got much worse. My doctor told me that this was due to the cold, damp Wellington climate.

I moved to Belgium in 2000. Despite living in a colder and damper climate I had no asthma in Belgium. During this time I drank very little wine, preferring the traditional local beers. I also consumed far fewer food additives just by being there. For example bread lasts less than a day as the bakers are fiercely traditional in their methods. The same is true of most other food providers.

On returning to New Zealand in 2004, the asthma started to return. This was despite living in sunny Nelson. I knew that it must have been caused by something regional. Your book helped me to identify the problem as bad food additives.

This afternoon I was shocked to hear an expert on asthma and allergies on Radio New Zealand re-iterating the old message about kids not eating enough dirt. I must have eaten loads as a kid. When I called in he insisted that there was no link to food additives, except perhaps sulphite in wine as a trigger. There is obviously still some way to go. Please keep up the good work! - by email from NZ

My 8 yr old son Jack, who is the failsafer in our house, watched you on a Current Affair on Monday night 4/6/05.

He said, “Is that the lady whose food I eat? The one that wrote the book?"

I told him yes, that's her, why?

He answered, “I’d like to met her!'

"Why?" I asked.

"To thank her for helping me".

It bought a tear to my eye. I said I'd let you know. It's great to know that the hard work, consistency and the occasional battles have been won and he now acknowledges the change himself. So thank you Sue from Jack and the rest of the family.

Your work has changed my son’s life – I know you probably hear it from everyone, but please keep doing what you're doing, it's such important work, and the fruits of your labor are starting to pay off!

I saw you on A Current Affair last week and started my son on failsafe foods on Monday -the transformation is amazing - he is so calm!

Going to the supermarket feels good - 'no, nothing in this aisle'... and saving at the checkout - you didn't mention that the failsafe diet was also cheap! I think it is the simplicity that I like most, everything used to be over the top and out of control.

I was searching the internet for bad behaviour when your report came up and every single symptom you listed described my daughter - I immediately cut 282 out of her diet and the difference in her was almost instant - I am sure that if I hadn't come across this, the doctors would have labelled her ADHD and I would be none the wiser.

My son’s eczema started when we introduced solids – having started reading your book I can see all kinds of foods he currently eats which may be causing a reaction so we’re about to try the elimination diet.

After seven weeks on the failsafe diet, we are much improved - I feel great, my 7 year old no longer wets the bed or has accidents, my 9 year old is no longer depressed and I can actually read his hand writing!!!

My son is the original sticky-pooh boy since introduction of solids and I have never understood why until now so thank you.

I have taken my son to psychologists, school counsellors, child nurse, hearing and ENT specialists, optometrists, etc, been through the ‘why is our son the naughtiest and roughest in school?’, ‘why is our son so defiant and angry?’ then I saw A Current Affair and followed the link to your site - bought the book the next day, read it, totally gobsmacked that there was a name for my son's behaviour, glad it wasn't ADD, and now am compiling my shopping list to try and start a new eating habit for him. Maybe I won't have to sell him after all!

We have been on the failsafe diet for nearly three and have had excellent results for the whole family - I have had no pre-menstrual migraines, my 18 month old’s eczema all but disappeared and my three year old's behaviour has changed dramatically.

I put my nearly two year old daughter on the failsafe diet about 18 months ago for her severe eczema. Since her symptoms were so bad we went gluten free as well but she actually got worse. It wasn’t until she improved on the wheat challenge that I realized the sulphites in the gluten free flours had been affecting her. She still didn’t come completely right and eventually we realized she was affected by sulphites in our bore water (we live on a farm). Then about three weeks ago I gave her a Pascall's white marshmallow and after a two hour sleep she woke with a very itchy rash covering a large part of her body. I believe it was caused by the sulphites in the gelatine in that one marshmallow. Since then we have stopped her sago and soy icecream (due to the sulphites in sago and gelatine) and I believe she is now completely sulphite free. Her skin is now perfect. – reader, Qld

I got asthma for the first time four years ago. At that time, I didn't know what was happening and it took me about two hours to breathe properly again. After my second asthma attack I went to the doctor and my peakflow reading was only 160 - anything under 200, you should be in hospital. I spent about $3000 trying to find out was wrong. I went to ear, nose and throat specialists, respiratory specialists etc. Finally I got the diagnosis of asthma, chronic allergic rhinosinusitis and I found out later by a blood test that I had alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (A1AD) – a genetic enzyme deficiency that can cause lung disease.

I have your books Fed Up, Fed Up with Asthma and the Failsafe Cookbook - all brilliant!!!!  And I I have not been sick since I started the elimination diet. The only doctors’ visits I have needed have been to get approval to reduce the medication. When I first developed asthma, I was put on a preventer which I took 4 times a day. Later they put me on a stronger preventer (Symbicort 200/6 turbohaler). After the diet, when I cut down my preventer medication to half (2 puffs a day) my
peakflow readings never went below 400. When I had a peakflow reading of 500, I decided to reduce it again with the approval of my doctor. I felt so good the next day I decided not to take the preventer medication at night, I now only take the 1 puff of preventer in the morning.

Through the diet, I have found that I react to all the food you say sensitive people might react to: MSG, nitrates, salicylates, amines, colours, preservatives and dairy foods, although MSG is the worst. I do gluten free, egg free baking because I found out my 5 year old is dairy/gluten intolerant and my 6 year old reacts to eggs - they are affected by everything else like me and my 7 year old is also affected by antioxidants. I am also intolerant to chemicals and had very bad side effects from the contraceptive pill.    I hope that other people will achieve the results I have as it has made a huge change in my life, and as a bonus, I have lost 15 kg! – Tracy Grove, NZ

I am a retired RN and I have three daughters and three young granddaughters. Throughout my life I have visited many doctors complaining of bowel problems, nausea, vomiting and feeling generally unwell, only to be told on frequent occasions and after many investigations, that it was all in my head. As a child I can recall frequently feeling very unwell and being diagnosed as having had "bilious attacks', however I can now attribute the cause of these episodes to an intolerance to natural food chemicals.

Because I enjoy cooking I often browse through recipe books in the shops and this is how, some years ago, I came across a copy of 'Friendly Food'. After browsing through it I realised that this book described symptoms which sounded very like mine. Maybe it wasn't in my head after all! I requested a referral from my GP to RPAH Allergy Clinic and after undertaking the elimination diet,  my dietician at the clinic concluded that I was very sensitive to salicylates and I also had some milder reactions to quite a few other substances but not amines.

It is now quite a few years since I was diagnosed and I am delighted that there is now a website and also your great Failsafe Cookbook for guidance. The oldest of my granddaughters has recently been "tamed" from oppositional defiance disorder by using the Failsafe Diet. She is now quite a different child, no longer having restless legs, eczema, or being uncontrollable or defiant. Although she is only five years old she is quite happy to comply with the failsafe food because she now feels so much better. My three daughters all recognise that they do have problems with some foods so it appears that I have unfortunately handed down the problem to both generations.

I am now without too many problems although trying to modify my diet when I attended Weight Watchers was a bit of challenge. However, I did eventually manage to lose 10kg. When travelling to UK and the States I have always come home feeling very much the worse for wear due to food intolerances so I am delighted to see that there are now failsafe contacts overseas should I venture forth again one day. Getting people to understand food intolerances is always a problem and I am now quite used to being asked to say exactly what food items I am allergic to and then I try, often without success, to explain the difference between food intolerances and allergy. I am sure that your glossy brochures will be very useful for this. -  Jane NSW

Before the diet, my son presented with headaches, itchy skin (in elbows, on legs, usually scratching until it bleeds), black circles under his eyes, "jumpy" behaviour, irritability, day and night pants wetting, pains in the tummy and awful loose bowel motions, blocked ears and sleep apnoea as well as incessant snorting and inability to breathe at night. As a baby he had eczema, colic, could not sleep and fussed with breast milk from 4 months ... somebody needs to support vulnerable new mothers to help their fussy kids, not make it worse by shoving disguised dairy foods (or whatever the particular issue is) down their throats, and then advise the mother to let them scream it out because they obviously have us fooled with sleeping and behaviour problems! – by email

My 9 year old son started on the failsafe diet 3 months ago and his is teacher this year said it is like having a totally different child in the class. Before the diet it was impossible to live peacefully. He would have uncontrollable tantrums that would last hours where he would scream, cry, kick, headbang etc and we didn't know what would set him off. When he was going through these rages he would constantly try to hurt himself and kept screaming at me that he was no good, he was a bad boy and I'd be better off with another little boy - it broke my heart every time it happened. I think the longest both of us went without any sleep because of a 'rage' was three days.

The crunch came when he went off at school after lunch one day and it took me hours to calm him down and then time to pacify the school. We were both at our wits end. When I decided that we needed to go failsafe I totally cleaned out my pantry and freezer of everything that wasn't 'safe' and went shopping. My son has adapted really well to the new foods and never complains about it. Because I had no angry foods in the house neither of us looked for them and my son was content to eat what was available. He now sticks strictly to the diet and will not eat anything unless he reads the label first and if he doesn't understand the label he says no because mum hasn't said he could have it and he doesn't know if it's 'safe'.

I am so proud of him today. From a child who was on the verge of being expelled from Year 3 to a happy one in just over 3 months is amazing. It is a joy to get him from school each day as he always comes out skipping/running and grinning like a busted watermelon - no more tears. He has told me more than once he is feeling better now he is not so angry all the time. We are one very grateful household. – by email

The symptom first appeared when I had taken my eight year old son to KFC. There was chicken salt on the chips.  48 hours later, he had woken with extremely swollen lips, they had peeled, split and were bleeding. He had obviously been bleeding in his sleep as well.  I freaked at the thought of what could have happened that night.

After the process of "what did we have in the past couple of day”, I narrowed it down to the chicken salt. I warned my family, close friends and even my neighbours of what I believed to be an allergic reaction and purchased the Food Additives booklet from a health food store.

I came across this problem again with Kraft BBQ shapes, we used to eat these all time as a snack instead of lollies etc.  I don't know whether or not they have changed their contents but we now can't eat them. His reaction time was again 48 hours.

However, the next time it happened, his reaction time had reduced to 1 - 2 hours.  He was at a neighbour’s son's birthday party, and I warned the mother of my son’s possible allergic reaction.  The party lasted for roughly 2 hours. When my son came home, I could see his lips growing as he walked towards me. They were blistering on the inside and bleeding. I immediately asked the mother what she had at the party and found that the cheese sticks she had given them had 635 in
it. I immediately gave him some Polaramine Syrup and his Seretide Puffer and drove him straight to the doctors, amazingly the polaramine had seemed to somewhat control the reaction.

The doctor could see his reaction. His fingers also started to pimple and blister. It was then that I was given a referral to a paediatrician. The doctor was also concerned that my son might be suffering from Stevens Johnson Syndrome [a severe adverse skin reaction to drugs].

By this time my head is spinning. I believe that I could lose my son at the drop of a hat due to the powers that be allowing these chemicals into our foods.  – by email

A friend gave me your book "Fed up" to read and I simply can't believe the difference it has made to our lives. I have four children. Three of them have been terrible sleepers right from birth. I have spent a week at Tresillian house with my 3rd child, where he was handed back to me at the end of the week unchanged. My babies all woke up on average 8 times every night and I have been so sleep deprived over the past 8 years that I became postnatal.  I have a Degree in Early Childhood and have worked as a Director in a Pre-School for many years, and thought that I could control their behaviour by employing techniques acquired through professional training. It was frustrating to find that I couldn't cope. My first child was such a shock! I simply couldn't leave the house with him.

This book came in time for my 4th and final child. My daughter fell into the same terrible broken night sleep pattern as the others. After struggling for 8 months, she did start to settle down, waking perhaps once a night.  This was great until I started her, at age 10 months, on bread. She immediately returned to night waking - for no apparent reason - and also had a clear runny nose.  I found that the bread she was having had 282 in it. SO we stopped feeding it to her. Within a couple of nights she again settled down to a peaceful nights' sleep! AND her nose cleared up! I can't believe that it could have been that simple!

My question to you regards my children when they were babies, constantly struggling to sleep - could this additive (calcium propionate, 282) have been passed on to the baby through my breastmilk, causing a similar reaction??? [The answer is of course, YES, food chemicals are passed through breastmilk – Sue] – by email

I scheduled a meeting with my kids last night and we made up a temptations bag and a truth bag with non food goodies inside e.g. 1/2 hour extra bed time, 1/2 hour extra computer time, game of bowling. They all responded very well and the confessions came out, they were similar to what I thought. Just before bed I reaffirmed how proud of my son I was for his honesty and he got a massive case of the guilts and fessed up to lots more sneaks, redskin, food on excursion from other kids such as salad wrap, black jelly beans, chocolates etc. He said all the kids love my FS muffins and were happy to swap. – by email

My husband has severe and crippling arthritis - the failsafe diet has given him relief and mobility. – by email, NZ

For nearly two years I was being pushed to medicate my child, then I went to a dietitian and got the elimination diet and we found the answer - by email

Regarding flavour enhancer 635, I have had three reactions to this substance, it is in Lays Flamin’ Hot Chips and Flamin’ Hot Munchies, it caused me within minutes to break out in a rash on my face, neck, and anywhere else I had touched on my body. It went away the next day but really scared me this time. – by email

It'll be nice to talk to someone who doesn't think I am being a rigid wowser bent on making my children’s life difficult! – by email, about meeting another failsafer

We could not believe the change in my 11 year old son’s mood as a result of the diet – he was suffering from frequent feelings of depression, accompanied by episodes of weeping and rage at the same time and an anti-depressant was a disaster. After six months, depression is a thing of the past. – by email

My dad sent me Fed up with ADHD from Australia and I have read it again and again. With the exception of the sleeping difficulties it was like reading a biography of my 8 year old son – by email, UK

Until I read your excellent book Fed Up with Asthma I had no idea food additives could trigger asthma, even as a sufferer all my life. The guidance of my invaluable local GP and your exceptional book have helped me to bring my asthma under control. – by email When we went to see a paediatrician 18 months ago she wanted to give us two types of drugs for both kids. If she had mentioned diet I wouldn't have been calling you people with such desperation now. – by email

On two occasions I have been admitted to hospital with breathlessness and suspected symptoms of heart attack - on both occasions, after extensive tests, no abnormalities were found.  I was quite surprised to read in your book the instance of the doctor who had a similar experience. – failsafer, by email

My 7 year old has gotten two merit awards in two weeks and I have nothing but praise about her from her teachers. She has been following the diet since December and although she still needs the Ritalin I find she is much better than last year. - email

I have osteo-arthritis which is much less painful if I adhere to the diet – if I inadvertently eat something that upsets me, I become overwhelmingly weary, my arthritis flares up and I can get bloating and irritable bowel symptoms. l often say in jest, " I cheat! I pay!" – by email

I have had unexplained nausea for years now, foggy brain so bad that I would forget what I was saying, and felt really tired all the time, sometimes needing two sleeps a day. After one month on the diet all this has gone, I expected it to improve on the diet but never thought it would stop completely. – by email

Thanks to your work and for your ongoing support, life at our house has improved enormously. – by email

As for convincing my family that diet is important, we would show them the eczema the day it looked the worst, and they would be convinced! – by email, Sydney

My cousin is 4 weeks into the failsafe diet and is reporting great effects for herself and two daughters (one with ASD) – by email.

My husband said that your book has helped us more than any doctor ever has. – by email

I have taken my 3yo son off all commercial bread products (it's become quite a crusade for me!) with marvellous results.

When my son was 18 months he was only just babbling. He was considered to have the language skills of a 9 month old.

After 6 months of speech therapy he was starting to mimic animal noises with prompting.

By 27 months he had 2 words - mummy and no.

At 30 months I took him off commercial bread and at 34 months, he just started talking one day.

At 36 months (last week) he now has the normal vocabulary of a 3 - 3.5 year old, and the understanding of language of a 4 year old.

He is still having problems with actual speech, he only uses 2 word phrases most of the time and stutters occasionally, but the change in him in 4 months was amazing. He also has less tantrums, sleeps better and is generally easier to get along with. He was going to be assessed for autistic disorders in a few weeks, but since taking him off 282 he has changed (he talks now! and his behaviour is so much better) and I know that his paediatrician will be amazed at his progress.

Occasionally, (about once every second month) we travel to the city and Hungry Jacks is a real treat for us. Unfortunately, he likes the plain burger (just meat and sauce) but we pay for it for the next 24 hours - tantrums, inability to sit still, argumentative, aggressive and generally hard to get along with.

My son has quite an interesting medical history as he was diagnosed at 7 months with Failure to Thrive and at 10 months with maternal induced Vitamin B12 deficiency (he was totally breast fed and it was discovered that I had Pernicious Anaemia). - Naomi, South Australia

'I read as much as I could on the internet site and ordered your books after a very very BAD Christmas Day with my son Nathan (not his real name).  Although we really don't eat that much junk, I was surprised at the number of bad additives in ordinary food. In particular, Christmas goodies are laden with additives!'

As well as additives, Christmas treats of dried fruit and seasonal summer fruits are high in natural food chemicals called salicylates, likely to be a big problem for oppositional kids. I asked Nathan's mother for more details. Luckily, there's a happy ending. Here's her fascinating story:

'On Christmas morning, Nathan (12) was in already in a bad mood. The day before, he had pigged out on grapes and plums - but I didn't really think at that time that that could have been the issue - I mean they were healthy!!! We also had Grandma staying with us, and I think she probably spoiled them a little during her stay with lollies and soft drinks.

On Christmas Day, we were at the other grandparents' place and Nathan's behaviour was getting worse. He was eating the normal Christmas food - chips (BBQ and Sour Cream and Chives), mixed lollies, but particularly red and green M&Ms, rumballs with lots of raisins and dried fruit, plum pudding, custard (artificial colours 110 & 102), sausages, and drinking cans of soft drink one after the other.

Nathan was egging the other boys on to create havoc. After a couple of time outs things seemed to be OK.We were ignoring the bad and hoping that he would come to his senses and enjoy the day.When he sat next to me to look at some old photos, I suggested to him that he needed to apologise (BAD MISTAKE!!). He didn't think he had to and threw a temper tantrum and a chair to the ground. Poppy decided that enough was enough and proceeded to smack him (BIGGER
MISTAKE!!).Needless to say the smacking did nothing but fire poor Nathan up and he decided to run away.

The last time he ran away, it took me nearly 3 hours to find him and he had travelled nearly 15kms. This time luckily it didn't take that long. We had a cool down time together and I managed to get him back to Grandma's in a quiet, subdued mood.

It was Christmas Eve that I ordered your books, after crying out of frustration and despair. They arrived in the new year, and after reading the books, I think that there were two things that triggered it off - one was the pigging out on that fruit and the other was all that junk food.

We didn't go the whole hog with elimination diet - at this stage - but what we have done is followed the 'additives to avoid' card and also limited the types of fruit, sticking mainly with red delicious apples, pears and Cavendish bananas. For the last four weeks of the school holidays, all 4 of our boys (and us) enjoyed a peaceful school holidays. They still argue like boys do, but are not spiteful or aggressive - they're more likely to settle it peacefully.

So now I make bikkies, sausage rolls (which all the boys and hubby love) and I even make my own cordial. Generally if they have something with additives we can see the difference the next day ... Nathan develops a 'hard done by' attitude, and starts yelling at his brothers. He was probably the worst of the four boys, but all had their bad days.

Best of all is that Nathan is smiling more now - he used to be such a misery guts. We've also switched to A2 milk as both the boys had to have soy formula milk when they were little. I noticed the difference in one of the others when we didn't bother to get it one week - he was cranky and irritable. As well, their asthma seems to have disappeared.

I am now convinced of the diet. Even hubby who was initially sceptical but supportive - he knew that something needed to be done - is convinced, and happy to eat his 'bad' food away from home.' - by email

On a recent veterinary talkback radio program, a caller had tried all kinds of prescribed medication for her dog’s constantly itchy skin. When it didn't help she changed vets. The new vet suggested avoiding foods with preservatives and colouring and to add fish to the diet. Within a month the condition had improved and the dog had also lost three kilograms - it was a breed that is prone to put on weight.  - Tom Olthoff, Adelaide

I grew up on nearly "failsafe" food in Norway 20 years ago: homemade bread, oat porridge with sugar, dinner with potatoes every day, meat and fish and a few vegetables. We ate just half or one piece of fruit every day because fruit was very expensive then, and we only drank fruit juice or fizzy drinks for Christmas or birthdays. When I was around 10 years old and got my own pocket money I started buying sweets with my friends and often felt sad and depressed. My Mum told us all about how bad junk was, so I stopped eating sweets and felt much better, and have never touched junk foods again. – reader, UK

My entire family previously responded well to the Gluten Free/Casein Free diet for about 3 weeks, and then began to backslide. I was *so* frustrated until I read about amines and salicylates. Of course, when we went GF/CF we loaded up on fruit, and all the other "bad foods"! No wonder it seemed to have failed. – reader, New Zealand

My son Luke went to kindy for five terms and hated every day. He escaped quite a few times by jumping the gates and fences. He wouldn't interact with other children, had a small attention span and if his teachers said day he would say night. His kindy teachers asked me to have him assessed so that they could get to have someone to work with him one. I went along to a paediatrician but I didn't really get a lot of help. Luke acted like a quiet little angel, so the paediatrician probably thought I was just some over-reacting mother. My own doctor had said there was no need to feed Luke bad foods to show the paediatrician what he becomes like or how bad his skin gets (he has chronic eczema) as the paediatrician would believe me, but I didn't feel that at all.

Luke has just started at school this term. A friend gave me your book and it has been a godsend, my husband said that your book has helped us more than any doctor ever has. Thankyou so very much for being there for all us lost and desperate parents. - SA

Last night I was "surfing the web" looking for information on sneaky poos (my 6 year old daughter has had a lifetime of tummy upsets, with sneaky poos being just one symptom).  I typed in sneaky poos into the search engine and found some pages. As I opened up a few pages, I found they were all about our family, from the behaviour problems my 7 year old son has, to the physical problems the rest of us have ... and there was another common link with the pages ... they were ALL  from your website!!  I spent the next few hours reading reading reading!  I know it will be difficult to change our way of eating so drastically, but you have convinced me it's worth a shot. - Tas

I've known for 30 years that I am salicylate sensitive since suffering temporary hearing loss - and the top of my head felt numb - after taking one regular full day’s dosage of aspirin (8 tablets in 24 hours) prescribed by my doctor. My symptoms cleared up in several days after I stopped the aspirin. But it is only recently that I put two and two together and got four - food salicylates may have played a big role in my steady hearing loss and increasing tinnitus over the years.  I discovered this when I started taking noni this year and my hearing loss accelerated, I got terrible tinnitus, and my head felt "funny".  Then I discovered noni may be high in salicylates. - by email

I’d like to thank you for sharing your life and family with the rest of us. I sat and read the book Fed Up with ADHD from beginning to end and cried the whole way through it. All I kept thinking was that this was a book about my child (although I didn't have the baby or sleeping problems) and how I was feeling. It was a relief to know that it's all normal - for ADHD sufferers. Thanks to you, I can finally feel free. - SA

First of all let me tell you how wonderful it was to find your website and help our 4 1/2 year old son (and the rest of us) lead a much more ‘normal’ life. He's had horrible symptoms of terrible mood swings, off and on stuttering, biting, spitting, banging his head against the wall, excessive bedwetting, an extremely loud voice that he couldn't control, big ‘saucer’ eyes with clenched teeth while running at me to kick and bite me, would go into hysterics when I would ask him to do the simplest of tasks such as dressing himself, pulling his hair hard enough to yank it out of head (and his 14 month old sister's), screaming every name at me he knew, running behind me from across the room gaining momentum to head butt me as hard as he could in the back and spine and as we give him a much needed nap during the day he can't fall asleep until 11:00 pm or midnight!

I’ve ordered your book but until it arrives I've been making some really wonderful meals and snacks for my son just from the info on your website… Since introducing the new diet, he's been basically a new, happier little boy and the mood around the house is SO MUCH CALMER. - USA

Have just discovered your website and it's a great relief to find out that I am not the only adult in the world to have sensitivities (specifically fumes and especially perfumes - solved by getting off buses, changing carriages or seats in trains, changing seats in cinemas and theatres; food additives – and the ubiquitous jasmine and basmati rice - solved by avoiding all Thai/Indian and some other Asian eateries and even some coffee shops and restaurants.) It's been too long a time whereby non-sufferers usually laugh at my "discomfort" and disbelieve: "you're making it up - it's your imagination!" Thank you. - by email

After only one week (and this was my getting ready to start the diet week) I noticed a definite calmness about my 7 year old son. Then he finished off some icecream and within an hour we had a horrible argument which was like his behaviour from the previous week. I sat and cried this morning as I read the failsafers’ stories and the annatto 160b factsheet on the website. My son used to head bang since about 2 years of age – and we still have dents in the walls! I have tried for 5/6 years to track his' diet reactions but they had no rhyme or reason. I just had a psychopath in training. I had always cooked and used behaviour management but there are always those telling stares from other parents and friends - I wasn't tough enough, he was out of control, obviously a single mother working full time produces this "type' of child etc. I didn’t make the food intolerance connection until I read your book. - reader, NSW

I removed the bread preservative 282 from my 7 year old son's diet after coming across your website and recognising many of the behavioural problems we were experiencing with him. He was extremely defiant, flatly refusing to do the simplest thing asked of him - homework was torture for all involved. He was loud, argumentative, talked non-stop, very anxious, had frequent bad dreams and was prone to angry outbursts. Much of this we had grown to live with since he was identified as a preschooler as being highly gifted but I was increasingly concerned about our family dynamics as we spent most of our time yelling at him and wondering how much longer we could survive, and how he was going to cope as he grew older - and therefore stronger and possibly dangerously violent.

He has always loved bread and, being a vegetarian, eats a lot of it, averaging six slices a day. The difference once we started making our own bread was astounding. He immediately became so much calmer and quieter that my husband asked if he was still in the house while he was getting ready for school in the mornings. He became much less defiant and argumentative, was able to stay still while I put his school tie on, much more polite and affectionate.

It was a lovely change to have him come home from school and give me a spontaneous hug, which is a very rare event as he is so sensitive to touch. He also seems to be able to think more clearly. I removed 282 a few days before the end of term 3 so was able to monitor changes over the holidays, which were the most pleasant we've ever had. In the first week of the new term he came home with a merit award for “staying cool, calm and collected" when faced with a situation which usually would have had him in tears. That same week he gained a further stamp towards a different award, and the following week another one for his homework!

As a visual-spatial learner with a central auditory processing disorder and an IQ in the top 2% he was probably always going to have trouble fitting into a mainstream school, however the difference the removal of 282 has made is so marked we are all going to attempt the failsafe diet.- reader, NSW

•     When I was little I was told to take antihistamines every day for the rest of my life for a persistent itchy throat, but after months of failsafe I have finally worked out that even minute amounts of salicylates are the problem. - WA

•     The possibility of missing out on the wonderful information I receive through your newsletter is just unthinkable - it has saved my life ... not just my sanity! – by email

•     Logan Farm Guilt Free (oven) Fries are such a great item ... my take-away ... LOL - Vic •     I have just read your book "Fed Up" after it was recommended by my son's childcareteacher - I was in tears after reading the first page of your first chapter, as it was like looking in to a mirror.- SA

•     The closest restaurant to our hotel in LA was a Denny’s, but we had to stop eating there when I developed a rash all over my body half an hour after our meal – and they actually provide children with artificial colour sachets to change the colour of their lemonade … WHAT THE ??? - Failsafer visiting the USA

•     Discovering the failsafe diet has changed our lives: we have read Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook, most, if not all, of the newsletters, and we are on the Failsafe USA list and Failsafe 3 - we have had our mistakes and struggles, but we have had so much success with our very difficult 4 year old son that we continually strive to get it right. - USA

•     Thank you for coming to our town and pointing us in the right direction - we now have a dairy-free happy child who has not seen a doctor in about month except the paediatrician - it was the best he had ever seen her, even her speech has improved. – NSW

•     First let me tell you how impressed and grateful I am: I work with children with autism, ADD and learning difficulties and the best way to tell people about the effects of what their children eat is to lend them one of your books. – WA

•     We're on day 2 of the elimination diet today, and all is going well - your Failsafe Cookbook is fantastic with bits of info all through which seem to answer questions as they come into your mind.   – NZ

•     Our son is such a fussy eater that we didn’t give him enough salicylates during the salicylate challenge – we concluded he could tolerate moderate to high salicylates and it has taken us months to recognise that he is noticeably better on low salicylates - Vic

•     My dreadful rash has almost cleared up as long as I avoid ‘the 600 numbers’ [flavour
enhancers 621, 627, 631 and 635] - I have found that one of the worst things if I happen
to be dining out is soup. - SA

•     Our yellow colouring (102) challenge was like going back to the dark ages – my daughter was moody, angry, cried for nothing eg. being told to move, stop screaming etc, she was aggressive, confrontational, "raaahed" at me and her sister, spat and threw things at us, cut off her 2 year old sister’s hair and woke next morning still in a bad mood. - WA

•     My 18 month old son is generally a quiet little guy, until the last two afternoons when I gave him chicken in a biscuit – both days his behaviour changed after about half an hour, he was running around the house yelling loudly, his breathing was very intense and he was a totally different child - I am amazed that it is legal to use additives that can do this to children.- by email

•     We gave our 5 year old failsafe daughter a mandarin as a treat – there were no behavioural changes, but the next day she was unable do read properly and all her numbers were written back to front – it really makes you appreciate what some of these kids go through on a daily basis. - NSW

•     Our three and a half year old son is a lovely child with a few difficulties when on failsafe food but before diet, he had enough symptoms to class him as autistic: little or no eye contact, spent hours alone fixated with various objects ie string, sand, wouldn't accept hugs or show affection, constant tantrums, his development regressed a lot from about 18 months or 2 years with regard to loss of speech, and for quite a while he said only one word repetitively, as well as severe reflux, diarrhoea, eczema and sleep disturbance. - Qld

•     I didn't even think that my son's behaviour and symptoms could be caused by food. Now I've been eliminating, I can see why. Most of his reactions (eg to colours) are delayed by at least a day, if not two.- by email.

•     I have often thought that my children’s academic success [three teenagers] has something to do with the fact that they just don't consume the same amount of daily junk compared to the average kid. – Vic

•     Our Beagle dog’s seizures are related to ribonucleotides (flavour enhancer 635). – SA

•     My four year old autistic son’s pain threshold seems to have decreased on the diet – he used to be barely aware of pain if he injured himself, but now responds as any "normal" child would. - NSW

•     I just wish I had done this YEARS ago! It is a delight to see my two kids cooperating and playing nicely with each other as long as they are eating properly! – by email

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Six months ago, I was rushed off to hospital after waking in the middle of the night feeling edgy and hot with swelling of my face, heart palpitations and welts of hives all over my body. Afterwards, I questioned was it something I ate - the wine, the peanuts?

These awful experiences went on for a period of about four months until my brother saw a segment on A Current Affair about reactions to flavour enhancer 635 (also 627 and 631, ribonucleotides). I had missed the show but immediately got onto the website and as soon as I started reading I knew that was exactly what I had. This information is provided by Sue Dengate at www.fedup.com.au on the factsheet called "Ribo Rash".

I read everything I purchase, I do not eat anything if I do not know exactly what is in it, and before I go to a function I speak with the chef or caterers. When dining I choose a meal and then request that the chef can assure me that there is no 635 added. I went through my pantry and discarded any foods with 635 in the ingredients and have not had a reaction of any kind for about two months which is a wonderful breakthrough for me, after experiencing reactions 3-4 times a week.

I request that you please take the time to read the attached information, as my parents are both experiencing similar reactions. My stepfather has a chronic rash and my mother gets hives at least one night a week. They receive "Meals on Wheels" and my stepfather says it is usually after rissoles, stew or soup. Therefore I request that you read the ingredients that you are adding for flavour to these meals. Purchased chickens from Woolworths have the additive in the stuffing, Coles marinated fresh chickens contain 635, Red Rooster have in on the outside, some chicken salt has it as well as some stocks, tinned and packet sauces and soups and it is even in some butter blends. Potato chips, CC's and other flavour enhanced foods are all to be avoided but there are plenty of substitutes, it just means being more vigilant as to what is served.

The elderly in aged care facilities and even patients in hospitals are experiencing these reactions due to flavour enhancer 635. There are plenty of natural herbs and spices that can be added to food for flavour instead of an additive which is causing a lot of suffering and possibly even death.

- letter from Queensland

After the birth of my first son I was diagnosed with post natal depression (PND) and had a few months on an antidepressant (Seroxat).

I was soon pregnant with my second son and while pregnant avoided alcohol (this later turned out to be important). During both pregnancies I ate well, although not failsafe, and felt great.

After my second son was born I was again diagnosed with PND and went back on Seroxat and I was on varying doses of that or similar medication altogether for 6 years. I needed them and they helped me. I could not have coped the first three years with all the stress going on in our lives.

My second son had been a very sick baby, I was stressed with him and an overactive toddler, and when things did balance out for the boys – when we went failsafe – we had a big move and I had a huge amount of stress again with that life change.

In addition, I visited psychologists on a regular basis, had light therapy, and tried other sorts of complementary therapies such as vitamins and herbal therapies but nothing that "replaced" the medication. All helped in various ways at different stages, particularly the first two.

Then eighteen months ago I went totally FAILSAFE and regained my life! I felt like the "old me", pre-children me was back. I had energy, wasn't continually tired, didn't have continual body aches, headaches and wasn't depressed. I didn't "need" red wine and cheese comforts (amines overloads, not to mention other preservatives). After about 5 years of lacking normal energy, and being down, this was and is cause for celebration.

So I celebrated with red wine and realised that this was a primary cause along with the amine overloads that had been causing MANY of my problems.  I'm not a big drinker, but had fallen in the habit of sharing a bottle of wine once or twice a week with my husband.

I still find it hard to believe the difference I have gained in myself from mainly the diet change. I respond to high salicylates and medium amines, but the things that affect me worst have combinations of both, such as wine, cheese, and local hot dog sausages.

At its worst, with the depression I could and would burst into tears over nothing and worst of all lost all my energy. I needed afternoon sleeps as I couldn’t survive a day without them and just achieving half an ordinary persons daily tasks was a huge achievement for me.  I don’t know what others thought of me, but I had a big battle coping over my body’s responses and why I couldn’t do more than make the beds and vacuum half the house in a day. If I did manage to do more on
a good day then I wrote myself off for a couple of days afterwards.

The biggest difference and what constantly surprises me is the return of energy. I had just thought I was overweight and unfit, which was partly true. But now since being failsafe, I can ride the three km into town and home again without a huge effort, and without training! It is just an example of the things that over five years I just took for granted that I couldn’t do – I had huge problems trying to keep to regular exercise, even mild walking programs as when I became depressed I lost all my energy. I notice it now when I challenge the amines.

I have now weaned myself off the tablets totally after taking them for six years. The medication really just masked the problem, it evened out my emotional highs and lows and made it possible to survive by avoiding the deep lows that threatened my life’s worthiness.

Over 5 months I weaned myself successfully from two daily capsules to one capsule every other day. Fist I tried "cold turkey" - which I don't recommend to anyone - but gave up by the fourth day due to dizziness and inability to focus,  as well as nausea and more. Over winter I maintained one every second day (every day date divisible by two) and when spring came, extended the medication free days in-between until I was up to one tablet every 7 days. I missed one and then found I didn’t notice and haven’t taken one since. Despite another stressful period I have entered recently, I am managing well so long as I keep failsafe. - Reader, Europe

Pre-failsafe, 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.

I am only mildly food intolerant but an overdose of amines can give me the blues. My husband is moderately food intolerant and can get dark moods and negative thinking from amines. However neither of us have ever had full blown depression.  - reader, Tas

I have suffered depression since at least age 15 and am 38 now.  I self medicated on huge amounts of alcohol over the years, and was always very emotional and explosive. Either very 'up' or totally down and in a complete mess.

When I fell pregnant at age 29, I sank into a deep depression that only worsened with a long labour and breastfeeding difficulties. I was prescribed Prozac and stayed on this medication for seven years during which time I tried to come off twice with very bad results.

I did a lot of counseling and support group work regarding childhood abuse issues, relationship and communication counseling work with my husband, and received the assistance of a social worker with trying to manage mothering my child. My daughter was three before I received this assistance and also started to work through my own emotional issues. It  took until she was six before I came across Sue's information about diet.  My daughter always had Oppositional Defiant Disorder behaviours and was not interested in learning at school or at home, but it had been presumed that it was I who was not coping.  Which I wasn't anyway, to top it off!  ODD people can appear so normal to others making me seem quite neurotic.

I came off antidepressants again at the beginning of last year after having felt very level for quite a few months in a row. It was a very rocky 12 months. At times I was OK and at others I thought I would not survive unless I went back on the drugs.  At least my husband was far more understanding at this point, but I wouldn't have called it a life.

I know now that we (my daughter and I ) had been bouncing off each other for years.  Her behaviour and concentration improved enormously on the diet. It has changed our lives. We laugh, play, cuddle and talk together instead of constant aggression and fighting.  I cannot remember ever being so level and calm and capable.  I cried with joy (or over the loss?) one night when she was just so caring towards me.  Of course we still have bad times. Everyone does after all. Now we have good times too.

When we tested salicylates, as soon as I woke the next day I could feel the return of my helpless, hopeless, awful black depression. I wanted to strike out at others in my pain. Once again I couldn't think straight to make even the simplest of decisions. I hated myself and anyone that I loved. It took about five days before I started to come up again. I don't ever want to feel like that again and I know what causes it now. To be able to say that feels so good. I have some form of control over a life that was totally out of control. I find the diet very hard in some ways, but I know which I prefer. To maintain my life in any reasonably happy form, I need to be failsafe. - reader, Vic

I always had horrible periods. I was a chronic bitch for two weeks out of every month and also suffered severe cramping with heavy bleeding and frequent clots.

Straight after my son’s birth I knew something was wrong. When I got home I just sat in bed staring into space. I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t do anything, couldn’t sleep. I would start panicking when I heard the baby cry. My mother had to come and look after us, doing all the work and bringing my son to me for feeds. It was awful. I didn’t want to take antidepressants but it was something I had to do to make myself better.

After my second child was born the same thing happened but I went on the diet for her eczema when she was 4 months old and it really helped me, I felt better than I had for months. Then when I weaned her I went back on my normal diet and started feeling anxious and overwhelmed and I couldn’t sleep even though I was on antidepressants. I know I should have realised I needed to go on the diet again but I was in denial. It all seemed too hard. For me giving up chocolate was a really big thing. I had to decide that feeling good was more important than being able to eat chocolate when I was stressed.

After my daughter was born, I took antidepressants for 12 months, then I spent 18 months weaning myself off them very slowly, because if I went any faster I had withdrawal symptoms. During this time I went on the elimination diet for myself. My PMS, other menstrual problems and depression all disappeared. Challenges showed that I am sensitive to nearly everything. If someone had told me when I first got postnatal depression that my problems were due to food intolerance, I would have gone on the diet straight away. I’ve been on this diet for months and now I can’t really remember what it’s like to be depressed.’ - reader, ACT

The first time that I can remember having significant depression was my third year of varsity. At that stage I didn't do much about it, but I do know that good diets tend to go out the window at varsity – I was having a lot of fast foods and fizzy drinks. Whenever I was under stress my 'drug of choice’ was chocolate. I was sure chocolate could get me through anything and could eat up to a block a day.

Somehow I finished my third and fourth years of varsity with good enough grades to get into a job that I thought that I should have.

I started my job about six months after finishing varsity into an environment that was full on learning and living.  Through the first year of steep learning curves I found it more and more difficult to cope, I was crabby, had no self esteem and 'lost myself'.  I couldn't concentrate, and therefore got more down on myself because I felt I wasn't doing well enough so started eating more and more chocolate and fast foods, which caused the cycle to continue, chocolate, stress, depression, lack of self worth …

About a year into this I went to a doctor who said I would be fine, that I was just stressed out with preparing for our wedding, new job, change of city etc, basically to get on with it.

Three years later, I went to another doctor with the same symptoms, this time though I was put onto a 'minor' antidepressant.  This did help to stabilise me, and I was able to make some decisions about where I was and where I wanted to go. I then changed jobs and felt much better, though saying that the much better as a comparative wasn't really still 'good'.

A year and a half ago my sister suggested that I try the failsafe diet for symptoms that my doctors were calling irritable bowel. I had gone off antidepressants for about six months before testing for IBS, but the first thing the doctors did when looking into my bowel problems was to put me back on antidepressants.  During this time I had still been eating my old diet of chocolate, plus other foods that are high in amines.

So for my bowel reasons I went onto failsafe, cutting out everything including wheat and dairy.

This was very hard, and the withdrawal symptoms were awful, my husband put up with me yelling at him for no except that he wouldn't go and get me chocolate!  At any time I transgressed, the withdrawal symptoms would come back.

Being on the diet showed many symptoms that we would have never had associated with food, for example, black rings under the eyes disappearing, lack of concentration leaving and a levelling of the depression that I had been experiencing. Before failsafe I never suspected that depression could even be related to food.  I had decided that it ran in the family so I was just prone to it.  After the diet, I suspected that amines were going to be the big one as whenever I ate
cocoa based products I had always had either a major craving or it made everything seem worse.

During the amine testing, I think my husband just about divorced me. I felt awful, didn't want to get out of bed, couldn't be bothered with anything and was sure everyone hated me. Anything anyone said was taken the wrong way and I nearly chucked in the job that I sometimes really enjoy. I spent hours telling my husband about how terrible my life was and analysing everything in detail trying to work out why everyone hated me. I had an increasing intensity in suicidal thoughts,
thinking through what was in the house to help me, though, thank goodness, never got to the stage of actually doing anything about it. It was scary!!!

Dairy had also shown an affect on my moods, making me grumpy when I consumed too much, though grumpy, I wasn't as bad as on amines to live with.

I am still on the antidepressants, but know that I don't really need them. When I am doing diet wrong, the antidepressants don't help, but they are effectively a crutch that I haven't been game enough to get off.

When I am staying strictly on failsafe, I feel happier, am nicer to be around, enjoy life and have lots of energy instead of lying on the couch like a half comatose couch potato.- Reader, NZ

When our 8-year-old daughter was a toddler she was on a gluten free diet for some months after reacting to antibiotics. She had biopsies to rule out coeliac disease and at that time I bought a bread maker which I used almost exclusively until about 2 years ago.

During the time she was eating almost 100% home made bread, she had a great attention span. Due to other Issues, our kindy recommended testing with the WPPSI – R, which we agreed to. I do not wish to go into the results here, only to say that this assessment now gives us a good indication that her later performance while on preserved bread was really poor.

We started using purchased bread over two years ago when I was having a very difficult pregnancy and needed to reduce my workload. Now I wish I had given up totally on the housework instead! The introduction of preservative 282 in purchased bread coincided with a decline in our daughter’s abilities. Her bread intake increased until she was eating about 8 or more slices/day and her performance decreased until we were able to get very little work out of her as she was unable to concentrate for more than about one minute at a time.

In desperation I called her teacher who mentioned the television report on 282. I did further investigation on the net, and read your site. The result was that we returned to using our bread maker after not having used it for nearly two years. After about ten days, we had a different child. She started concentrating! She finished in 10 minutes what she previously couldn’t finish in 4 hours. Her spelling started to improve as did her handwriting. She also finally learned to ride a two-wheeled bike!

As you can imagine, we were thrilled. After two years of under achieving and barely being grade level, our daughter is finally starting to accelerate and achieve some of that potential. I am grateful we had the assessment as it shows how much she was behind.

We have become very angry that this preservative is allowed. Even if it is just anecdotal evidence, I believe it validates the need for further research and a ban on 282. Our recent experience with [a particular supermarket] bread has shown how little we can trust labels. I also believe this could partly explain the increased rate of ADHD among lower income families. When Bilo bread is 1/3rd the price of Bakers Delight, what are most families going to use?

We are grateful for the work that you have done in researching this. I only wish we had known earlier. It makes us rather angry and frustrated at the lost potential and the damage it has done to our daughter. - reader, SA

I made a bad choice on Monday by having our carpet cleaned. I had never used the company before so I quizzed the man about his detergent and how well he would rinse and remove the detergent. However, when I got home the detergent smell was really strong! Yesterday my son’s teacher asked me if my son was still doing the diet. She said his concentration and handwriting had been really good but it had all fallen apart the last two days. - reader, NSW