I would like to share my personal story of hell from eating flavour enhancer 635. I have been suffering from a maddening itch and rash for over 2 years now, and I am quite sure that I would still be suffering from it had I not found your website. I am a 33-year old American female, and I moved to Australia just over 2 years ago. At that time I was riding my push-bike up the east coast of Australia, from Byron Bay to Cairns. Somewhere around Gladstone, I started to break out in the itchiest hive-rash I have ever had in my entire life. Naturally at first I thought it was heat rash which I have had before while cycling in other countries, so I bought some prickly heat remedy. In the past that has always worked, but this time it didn’t. The rash just itched and itched to the point where I scratched the skin off, and I just wanted to rip off my flesh.  Everyone told me it was stress from the cycling and heat, and I believed them. When I stopped cycling, I went to Sydney mainly because it was winter there and I so desperately wanted the rash to calm down but it got worse. I would wake up at night scratching, and my eyes often swelled up, I had heart palpitations, fever-like symptoms, and occasionally I would wake up with huge bruises as well. Hot showers would always make it worse. I tried every cream on the market, but the only thing that worked was calamine lotion. I thought I was dying. The itching was absolutely maddening.

Everyone told me it was stress, but I knew that it wasn’t. I have read other people’s stories on your site, and I am so envious of people who figured out what it was right away from one chicken or dried soup. But for me, I had no idea that a food additive was causing my misery. I am a vegetarian and eat pretty healthy.  From what I can gather, I got this ‘ribo rash’ from our Friday night pizzas in Sydney, as well as the occasional Dorito and sakata cracker.  I also have eaten the veggie burger from Hungry Jacks occasionally, and I think all of these things combined with the physical stress of the cycling cause me to have the initial outbreak of ribo rash.  The problem for me though was that I could not see any pattern in what was causing it. Although deep down I really felt like it was something I was ingesting.  For a while, I actually started to think that I was allergic to the water in Australia.  Also I wanted to mention that the rash started on my breasts, arms, and lower back, and eventually spread and moved its way around to my torso, legs, back, face, and neck. In addition, I would get these ‘waves’ of heat and unwellness that I could feel travelling up and down my body.  It is really hard to explain, but I am sure that anyone who has felt it will understand immediately.

This rash made me completely weak and debilitated, to the point where I turned down job offers and could barely even function. For a while I really did think I was going to die. My relationship suffered so much too because I felt so physically unattractive, and to be honest even during sex all I could think about was the rash or the itch or both. Looking back, I don’t know how I made it through. I decided to leave Australia and go to Thailand for medical treatment because at that time I had no medicare card. Spending those 6 months in Thailand probably saved my life.  Really I am shocked that no one has died from this yet. Anyway I was allergy tested for the basics such as wheat, gluten, etc, and everything came up fine. I stayed in Thailand to do meditation in case it was stress and I did a lot of fasting and eventually the rash cleared up.

When I came back to Australia, I was so happy that I battled my ‘mystery illness’ and I was so happy to have my life back. Sadly though, I was only in Australia for 5 days when the rash came back.  I cannot explain the frustration to be back at the very beginning. I got to that stage where I just accepted the fact that I was going to have this rash for the rest of my life. My family and friends all believed that it was stress, and that made me feel worse because I started to feel like everyone thought I was crazy.  Every now and again I would have a big blow-up, where my face and lips would swell up with fluid and my eyes would get so puffy that I could hardly see.  Every time it happened the swelling seemed to get worse and worse to the point where I was definitely at risk of anaphylactic shock.

I went to more doctors. I was tested for everything, including Ross River fever, heavy metal poisoning, strep infection, staph infection, and HIV.  Everything came up negative. The doctors would tell me it was eczema, give me cortisone, and send me on my way. It was so frustrating; even when I told them the rash did not respond to cortisone, they still couldn’t figure it out.

Eventually I decided to adopt a gluten-free, wheat-free diet in a desperate attempt to stop the rash and I took a job at one of the island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef. There were no shops or restaurants, so food choices were very limited. After 9 months of gluten free eating I was still suffering from this insane rash. One day I had a salad for lunch. About an hour after lunch, my face felt like it was on fire and started swelling up like a balloon until it was so swollen I looked as if I had been beaten up. The only thing I had eaten all day was a raw veggie salad with Master Foods salad dressing. Well, the salad dressing just had to be it, and what is often found in salad dressing but 635 … Some internet research the next day led me to find your amazing site after two years of hell, and I wept as I read so many stories exactly like mine.  Finally I could prove that I was not crazy. Two months later, my rash has completely cleared up after eliminating 635 from my diet.  After two years of trying everything else and having no results, the rash is gone.

One thing I know for sure is that this additive is a killer and it must be removed from all food in Australia and elsewhere in the world. If my body rejects it so violently, imagine how a small child may react – Jennifer Qld.

After reading the Ribo Rash Factsheet it appears this would have been the culprit.  My son's scenario was exactly the same as another child on the fact sheet with the map like raised hives all over his body and swollen eyelids and mouth.  It did take 1 week of prednisone, 2 weeks of antihistamines for the hives to disappear and a full 4 weeks for the facial flushing to go. Although I've always been careful about checking for MSG and sulphur dioxide in food since he was a baby (because he is a mild asthmatic) I had no idea that they could list something like 635 under the labelling' No MSG added'.  He did stay at my sisters the day before he reacted and ate chilli popcorn which had the No MSG labelling but now I'm fairly convinced that was it as he has been tolerating all the different natural food groups we have reintroduced him to since being on the elimination diet - he is now up to the very high list of the food groups and doing well although we still use sorbolene for bathing and moisturising as the skin on his face especially seems to be sensitive even though it's been 3 months since his severe reaction – Deborah by email

Our 1 year old twin boys started reacting to something they were eating about 2 months ago. It seemed to happen after they had eaten a sandwich.  At first we thought it was the food acid in the jam or cream cheese so we eliminated these from their diet.  But a couple of days later they had a reaction after eating bread with Devondale Extra Soft butter on it.  We looked at the ingredients and came across 635.  We had only been using this butter for about 2 months. We have stopped using this butter and will continue to watch out for 635 in other products.  The boys’ reaction entailed an itchy red and blotchy welt-like rash on their face and a severe and painful nappy rash all over their bottoms and genital area.  We hope that this flavour enhancer and the associated reactions become general public knowledge and 635 is banned from use – Katrina from Brisbane, Qld. (Note this product no longer contains 635 after pressure from the Food Intolerance Network).

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.

I am a 33 year old mother of two who had a severe allergic reaction last Sunday and was sick for a week.  I woke up Sunday morning with a red angry blotchy rash all over my body and my legs were burning.  I said to my husband to call an ambulance as I nearly fainted and felt like vomiting at the same time.  The next day a doctor put me on Prednisolone tablets which I was on for a week.  I also took antihistamines and smothered myself in Calamine lotion but nothing seemed to ease the rash which turned to severe hives all over my body.  I couldn't sleep and would be awake in the night clawing at my skin for some relief.  I ended up bathing in Pinetarsol Solution which eased the itching.  I was told that looking for the cause of the reaction was like "looking for a needle in a haystack" and I could not think of anything I had done differently.  So to see your story last night about 635 was fantastic as I could immediately relate to the people in the story.  I am sure it was from eating the Continental Oriental Fried Rice packet mix on Friday night and also Saturday night for tea.  I had a slight rash on my stomach on Saturday afternoon but it wasn't until Sunday morning that the severe reaction occurred.  I checked my cupboards and 635 was also in Continental Macaroni Cheese as well.  Let’s hope it can be removed from foods before someone has a fatal reaction.

[later] I wish I had taken photos.  I have thought a lot about the feeling of passing out and feeling like throwing up at the same time.  I am wondering if it was a shock reaction of looking at my body covered all over in an awful rash and not knowing what it was.  Although my entire body was swollen at the time particularly my stomach, neck and face.  So maybe it was a bit of both. I feel so much better now I am avoiding food with any of the 600 numbers in them.  I have actually lost a lot of weight.  I could never understand why I couldn't lose weight and would feel bloated a lot of the time.  I was even asked one time at a visit to an osteopath whether I was feeling ok because she thought something was wrong with my intestines as I was extremely bloated.  It was suggested that if the swelling didn't go down I should get it checked out by a doctor – Carolyn by email.

My 2 year old son came out in a raised rash which we had no clue what it was ... I told my mother-in-law and she just happened to mention that they had a TV program on a rash that came out after eating foods with Flavour Enhancer 635.

When I looked on the internet and saw the photos of the rash, it looked exactly like the one he had.  Then I remembered that at the time I first saw the rash on him it was at Pony Club the previous Sunday and I was out with my 5 year old son riding and my husband was back at the car minding the 2 year old.  That morning when I was with the other child riding, the 2 year old told my husband he was hungry, so he got him some Arnott's Shapes (I think Chicken Crimpy) out of our picnic basket.

We usually have a barbecue lunch with all members when they finish riding, but this must have only been early.  At lunch time when I went back to the car I noticed that half to three quarters of the box had been eaten and asked my husband if he had any and he said "No".  Usually we don't like him to eat more than a couple of crackers, and try and give him more substantial stuff as his diet is poor as it is not being able to have fruit and most veges.  As my husband was studying, and not watching him too carefully, the 2 yr old had devoured so many of these.

I realised when I saw your web-site that this is what has caused this raised rash.  He has eaten so many, and it has affected him.  Normally too, we don't usually give him that brand of crackers.  I have since checked the couple of different brands of crackers we normally give him and they do not contain Flavour Enhancer 635.  My 5 yr old had wanted these to get the Tongue card out of them.

In the future I will not ever be buying these, and my mother-in-law and our family will check everything for this flavour enhancer, BEFORE purchasing anything.

P.S. I saw the Arnott's Shapes biscuits were reduced in price this week (very cheap) at Woolworths, and when I was shopping there last night, plenty of people were putting them in their trolleys ... I felt like putting a sign up on the shelf in front of them warning people not to buy them ! – Dale from Sydney.

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

I wish this product had never been put on the market. I'm sure it is what, to put it frankly, has caused me absolute hell almost continuously for over 2 months. I have a referral to see a Dermatologist soon and I am hoping that she will be able to confirm my suspicion so that at least I will know what to look out for – Debbie by email.

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

It looks to me that there are many people who are intolerant to this additive and I believe it should be banned.  This is the first time I have ever had a rash of this magnitude develop and I am not impressed. The rash went away after about 5 days - thank God. After my wedding I will try eating the same mix again just to be certain my reaction was to 635 - I don't want to risk it before then as I want the existing spots to go away. These are from scratching too much.

It does not affect everyone, but those that it does, have several days (if not weeks) of unwanted physical discomfort. I am 33 years of age and this is the first time I have ever experienced a food allergy - Debi by email.

Thank god for people like you!  I saw a segment on A Current Affair tonight and talking about 635.  Instantly it explained my frightening rash.

I have never had a skin reaction to anything before but within hours of eating Coles Instant Noodles (with 635 - I just checked) I broke out in big welts on my thighs.  They spread up my tummy to my chest, under my arms and down my arms.  It was so frightening.  I went to the doctor and he couldn't identify it beyond saying I'd probably eaten something.  By the time I got home it was up my neck and half way up my face.

The antihistamines he gave me helped somewhat.  When I woke up in the morning it was almost gone but then it reoccurred during the day and if anything was worse.  By the time that night came my ankles had swollen and my skin was red and tight and very hot.  It came and went for three to four days. Now I know what to stay away from - if I can – Denise by email.

I have suffered terribly from this additive for a few years now becoming extremely ill whenever I eat anything that contains 635. I have to be so careful what I eat as I become extremely ill where I have to spend 5 to 7 days in bed, with very severe headaches, where even the strongest painkiller gives no relief. Then there is the vomiting for up to 4 days, where I cannot even keep a sip of water down. I would imagine food poisoning would be similar to what I go through. I often feel like I could die, or if not, I almost wish that I could, as I feel so ill and the pain in my head is so severe. It is not always possible to know what I am eating, as some things are not clearly marked, and restaurants do not tell you the truth either, as they are just not aware of how ill a person with this allergy can get.

So, I am fighting a losing battle where I can eat less and less these days, which is becoming very frustrating! I hope you can continue to publicise this problem to make these manufacturers aware of how much many people are suffering. What was wrong with foods before all these additives? Why can't we get back to the basics? I hope this clarifies it a bit more for you, and hope that someday, someone can do something to stop companies from "poisoning" half the population. Because believe me, when you suffer from this only once a month, it does ruin your life – Trudy by email.

I am 57 years of age last October I got asthma and since then have been rushed to hospitals and doctors with hives and swollen lips and a rise in body heat where I feel like I am burning and my blood pressure rises all of  which is very frightening. I have to have an injection of phenergan at that time and am monitored until my body settles and I also take zyrtec on a daily basis and carry a puffer.

Neither the doctor nor myself have been able to pinpoint the cause of these allergic reactions - is it wine? is it peanuts? all the questions with no answers where I have tried to introduce the things I thought may cause it but when I try I gag at the thought because it is so frightening but the next thing I know I am reacting again and not knowing what caused it made me too frightened to get on a train or a plane where I would be confined to not be able to get immediate medical attention.

My brother told me of the ACA segment on food additives and as I had missed it I went onto the site and I am so relieved to now know exactly and I emphasize exactly what it is that is causing these allergic reactions. When I think back to the potato chips, the pie, and the Woolworths chicken. Not that this makes it right it just makes it that now I know but the question remains Why? Why is it allowed to be used? MSG caused such an uproar that people stopped buying products with it added so now another additive is just as bad or worse. I am sure that this additive has caused deaths. When are the companies going to stop using it? When they are being sued? Maybe everyone who has had a reaction to this drug should band together and take on the Companies so that they realize the danger to our lives.

[later] I was so careful yesterday to what I ate during the day and shopped for groceries reading all labels and today I awoke with no hives and no swelling. Such a relief.

When I was at Woolworths purchasing the groceries I asked at the chicken section for the ingredients in the basting etc of the chickens and an employee took out the book of ingredients in their food supplies and read it out to me and there was additive  635 being used in the stuffing so I will not purchase any more chickens from there and I would have purchased one every week as well as when having parties I would purchase 3 to 4. I will assist in any way possible in the future
with this additive being withdrawn from use.

[later] I wrote to you last week regarding my allergies and I have had no reactions since refraining from using 635 - Elaine of Rockhampton QLD

I recently had two serious anaphylactic reactions which I attribute to 635.

- 12 Dec 02 Went to bed at 11pm (6 hours after I'd eaten some pizza shapes) awoke at 1am with fully swollen tongue, difficulty breathing, unable to speak. No rash, no asthma - in fact no other symptoms. Spent 2 days at the Alfred Hospital.

- 01 Jan 03  Developed a rash which moved around my body all day. Hot, moving spots. Awoke at 3.00am next morning with same reaction as above - swollen tongue, unable to speak, but with the rash continuing and with chest pains.  Used an Epi Pen to relieve symptoms and spent the day at the Alfred Hospital. No known cause of this episode

There was a third reaction, more mild, which was relieved by tablets.

In each case, prior to the reaction, I experienced extreme chronic tiredness. Had to cancel New Year's Eve arrangements, due to tiredness. Have undergone complete tests through allergist at Alfred Hospital, with no result - Gail from NSW

I recently developed a deep red rash around my mouth which progressively got worse whereby my lips became incredibly swollen and I experienced a severe burning sensation.  It also started to spread to my eyelids and became extremely dry and itchy.

I started to eliminate new products I'd purchased, for instance, hair goods and face washes.

Finally my mother heard about 635 and rang me to enquire if I had been eating anything with this food additive.  I instantly went to the bin to retrieve the packaging from the rice crackers I had been eating and sure enough there it was.  I instantly stopped consuming these crackers and have avoided any products since which contain 635.  The rash has disappeared and there has been no re-occurrence since.

I would also like to add that in conjunction with my mouth and my eyes, I experienced a dryness on my scalp at the back of my ears.  One Sunday, when the rash on my mouth became quite severe, I visited a doctor at a Bulk Bill Clinic, who took one look at my scalp and diagnosed it as dermatitis, suggested I use an anti-dandruff shampoo (even though I told him I didn't suffer from dandruff) and he prescribed a cortisone product to use.  I explained that I had been using a cortisone cream, previously supplied by a chemist, and although I experienced some relief to my eyelids it really didn't assist with my mouth or my scalp.  He strongly insisted that's what it was and cortisone was the best option, and if that if it didn't improve I should come back and he would refer me to a dermatologist.  I checked with the pharmacist and found that the prescription would have cost me $25 for a very small bottle of drops.  I chose not to purchase this product and was very angry and frustrated by the whole experience.   Shortly after my visit to the Doctor I discovered the real cause of my rash.  I appreciate that doctors are unable to know every new ailment that occurs, however, firstly I felt like I was brushed off without any real consideration of my problem.  Let's face it, when your lips are red raw and swollen like mine were, you've got a legitimate problem.  And secondly, if I was able to discover the cause of my complaint with relative ease then I do question whether this doctor is adequately keeping up-to-date with what's going on around him. Perhaps I should drop off a copy of the fact sheet to the surgery?

I am prepared to go through testing if it helps to raise awareness and get this food additive removed from food products and I will be telling everyone I know to avoid products containing 635 - Jan of Mt Evelyn.

Here is another story that is now "making sense" given the many I've read on your webpage.

During the final week of my first pregnancy I developed a rash that looked precisely like the ones in the photos on your webpage.  It was on both my legs and similar to the other stories, the itch was maddening and sleep was impossible (given that I was at term this didn't bother the doctors).  My GP sent me to a dermatologist who prescribed oral steroids and colloidal creams, which had no effect.  I was told it was probably just pregnancy, and as with another of your stories, the rash cleared up after the baby was born.  As this was five years ago you would think I'd have trouble remembering a specific food cause, but funnily enough one of the things I've always remembered fondly about this period was the lack of guilt I felt for eating takeaway chicken 3-4 nights a week.  It was 35 degrees outside and I didn't feel like cooking.  When I came home from hospital my Mum was there and helped with the cooking.  We ate no more take away from that shop.

What I am now thinking about is the fact that my son was diagnosed with anaphylaxis related to extreme food allergies at age 5 months.  His main problems are dairy, egg and peanut, but even with a total avoidance of these triggers, he usually has a blocked nose and dry, itchy skin.  My second son has asthma and to date, touch wood, my daughter has excellent health.  I have been told by doctors that the milk I drank whilst breastfeeding probably exacerbated my eldest's food allergies, but I am now wondering about the food additive issue in late pregnancy.  I realise that until we get the issue of food additives on the agenda for primary sufferers, there is no chance of research into the effect on unborn babies, but I am voicing my concern on both issues nonetheless.  I came to your site after an article in the paper about food additives and behaviour issues, I am now thinking about the ramifications for our family's overall health.  I will now start looking at additives in our diet and take note of any changes - Jane from NSW

Well thank you ...I have finally been able to put a name to the itch I developed late in 2001, although I am not a big eater of chips or what seem to be the main culprits, I still suffered for over 7 months with the rash, nothing would seem to stop the rash. I removed all processed foods from my diet and after about 2 months the rash disappeared. Although I never knew what caused it, so began to eat normally again and in the last 2 months I have developed the rash again, so now I know what it is I can adjust my diet . (My diet) contained Devondale (blended) butter, I used that quite a lot but since the rash I have been using Nuttelex, I will definitely be more vigilant with my buying of foods – Jayne by email.

I am not game to even contemplate eating anything with 635, as once I knew what my reaction to MSG was like, I found out the hard way, and saw the flavour enhancer 635, so I thought it may be OK. My face swelled up, I developed a rash all over my face and neck, and consequently all the skin peeled off my tongue, inside of my lips and gums. You have never seen such a mess!! At least I didn't have to go through what these little kids had to suffer and their poor parents. I just couldn't eat anything much for a few days!! – reader by email.

Two months ago I too broke out in a rash covering at first my torso, which eventually spread partially down my legs. I found myself scratching uncontrollably and was so puzzled as to where this came from. I found the ACA story amazing. Then after the show I started going through my cupboards, and to my amazement I discovered a particular 'cup a soup' which contains the additive 635, that I have bought recently which is not a regular item on my shopping list.  At present, the rash and welts have gone down, but I’m still scratching as a partial amount of the rash remains. How do these companies get away with it?????? – reader by email.

I am not sure whether I am a sure case, but your article on ACA definitely made me think about my problem and mysterious itching. I have been waking with welts on my body, not unlike mozzie bites, but extremely itchy, and quite hard. Thinking there was a spider or something similar in my bed, I changed the bedding, and spray my room before retiring to bed every night. But still they would mysteriously appear. I got them on my hips, breasts, legs and arms, not many, but enough to be worrisome.

Now I know more about 635, I am willing to put these itches down to the snack-sized packet of chips that I have been eating every day after work (I usually only have them once a week, but have been on teaching rounds and come home starving!) Add that to the Asian food I have eaten, plus the many gravies and sauces, I may have just found the cause of my problems. Now, I must leave you, to go and scratch my itches! – Fairlie by email.

I have been experiencing an unknown rash on and off for about 2 years now. I had the rash recently and this time it was severe and was all over my body. On other occasions it was only in small patches. Sometimes on my torso and other times on my back. I have an extremely healthy diet and eat fresh food everyday. I don't eat fast foods and rarely eat any form of junk food. The last rash was awful. Legs, feet, hips, torso, back and neck. Prior to the outbreak I had extremely hot skin and itchy arms. 24 hrs after the itching I noticed some spots on my stomach. By the time I arrived home the following day my body was covered. It has taken 7 weeks for the scarring to settle. This is the case every time the rash breaks out.

I went to the doctor on a couple of occasions. I was told it was pityriasis rosea and on another occasion I was told it was shingles. I studied my eating habits very closely until I worked out the cause. I have always had a suspicion that it was chicken stock. And now I am positive. After making my favourite Greek Lentil Soup the rash appeared. On this occasion I accidentally added extra chicken stock. I ate the soup for 2 days. This time with the extra stock the rash went crazy. My last outbreak had occurred after eating the soup also. I do not use any chicken stock at all now. I have been made aware of 635 by a mate who also experienced rashes from eating certain foods. His rashes are confined to his feet. Thanks for the story. I am not alone! – Luke, Melbourne.

I am now 58 yo, I came across your information by accident while looking for something else on the net. I was dumbfounded when I saw the pictures of the effects of food additives, this was what I had for nearly 3 years!

I could not believe it, mine too started in the early hours of the morning with dreadful itching, by the time I got up my thighs were black and bruised from rubbing them. Over time this went and the welts came all over my body. I looked like I had been beaten, I also had rashes, itchy and painful, the only part that was not affected was my face and head.

So many Doctors and tests, and so many creams and tablets. And nothing would stop it. I had tests that showed I was allergic to things I had never had (like horse hair and oysters). Eventually I was told "it’s emotional" or it could be change of life.

It never occurred to me that it was the food I was eating as I had changed very little in the way of diet. I would have meat pies or sausage rolls at least once a week. I still do not know which one started this torment off but I have thrown out everything in my pantry with 635/621 – Maree, NSW.

Over the past 2 years my husband has had a rash, which failed to be treated by the dozens of creams numerous specialists prescribed.  Recently, when it reoccurred again, we thought to look at the label of the cheese and onion flavoured chips he had eaten the day before.  Sure enough 635!  We then looked at the foods he commonly eats, and sure enough 635.  As a Dietitian I didn't even think of this until checking out your website. Thanks for your hard work over the years with food intolerance.  It is certainly much appreciated by many clients who have benefited in my practice as a Dietitian - Frances from SA.

I started to react about 18 months ago. My skin felt like it was on fire and the itch was unbearable. The 'welts' that raised on my body, where any restrictive clothing touched my skin, including bras, panties, shirt stitching etc... would remain for days, even weeks depending on how severe the attack was. I tried everything to find the cause and find a cure. It was only when reading an article in the Herald Sun that I realised the woman was recanting exactly how I reacted. She told of her allergic reaction to 635. I used to have Continental chicken noodle soup every single day, at work. (Summer or winter). I loved the stuff. I also ate Lays flavoured chips, packet gravy.

I have since eliminated everything with 635 in it out of my diet. Although I still have 'flare' ups I can actually work these back to pre-prepared food...Dolmino spaghetti sauces etc...I found that I cannot have any food with 621, 625, 627 or 631. I react to all of these, and was wondering if any one who has had a severe reaction to 635 finds they react to these others as well. I have recently learned that 635 is a combination of 627 and 631. Foods to avoid like the plague are:

Red Rooster both chicken and chips

KFC both as above

Mac Donalds - I only ever ate their chips but flavour enhancer is in the salt.

All flavoured corn chips, CC's Doritos...Pretzels with added flavour. (Cracked pepper have no flavour enhancers listed)

Maggi packet gravy

San Remo pasta and sauce sachets

Continental chicken stock

All stock cubes

I have recently been told that some foods may have flavour enhancers added but do not have to list them because the percentage is so low.

In fact if the word flavour is on the label I will not purchase that product now for fear of it causing another reaction. My doctor did not know what was wrong with me when I saw him about my rash months ago. He gave me Periactin, an over-the-counter antihistamine that works well, although I have had to half the tablets because they also make me extremely drowsy.

If any one needs proof that these flavour 'enhancers' are reactionary I would be happy to prove it. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see the cause and affect of these additives. I have had to restrict my diet, to avoid coming into contact with these 'poisons', because that is what they are to me. I am basically going through detox/withdrawals at the moment, which are causing headaches etc...

If the Food Standards people want to try to 'fob' this off, perhaps we who are suffering should take them to court for compensation - you know pain and suffering - because believe me, we are suffering. At 38, and having suffered for almost 2years with this, I can't imagine what it must be like for the little kids who react as we have! – Melanie, email.

My son is 14 and has been diagnosed with having severe allergy reactions to 621 and 627 flavour enhancer. All the foods you list are foods that he also can’t eat. He can have very severe reactions to these where his throat swells and he can’t breath and other times where he comes up in welts all over his body and lips and eyes swell quite severely. I have four boys and it becomes very difficult to feed them with one being allergic to so much food – mother, Victoria.

I believe that I am yet another victim of flavour enhancer E635.

I had a strong allergic reaction to "something" in Early February of this year.  At first I thought it was a prescription medicine that I have just started taking (again).  I stopped taking my medicine but nothing improved. I was confused because this medicine had never caused a reaction before.  My Doctor suspected food or some kind of virus.

I suffered the following reactions: (in order of appearance)

*       Burning sensation to the skin

*       Rash on my feet

*       Raised rash on my chest and then sides

*       Severe, raised, rash on my back and very itchy legs and arms

*       Mild stomach upset

*       Heavily swollen face and lips ( 3 occasions)

*       Mild anxiety

The symptoms lasted for about 5 days and required 3 trips to the Emergency ward of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, seven days off work, a stay over night in Hospital and even a trip in an ambulance.  Needless to say, my wife and I were greatly distressed during this ordeal. I then read about E635 and discovered that it was in a wider range of foods that I had expected.  Tracing back through foods I don't normally consume I found that the probable culprits were either a seasoning mix for a popular Taco Dinner Kit OR two sausage rolls I had consumed.  Both foods were consumed about 20-30 hours prior to the initial reaction.  The long delay led me to blame the prescription medicine.  I never knew that a reaction could take so long to appear. I am now loath to consume E635 in any form again in case I suffer an even worse reaction. Please feel free to use my account (less personal details) on your site, or, in your battle with the authorities that permit such chemical junk to enter the food chain. Keep up the good work – John, Melbourne

Recently I had my 13 year old son at the doctors for a facial rash that was preventing him from going to school.  The rash was only on the face and neck and was beetroot red.  The doctors told him that he was allergic to the sun.  This is a child that you cannot keep inside.  I have since found out about 635 and have taken him off all of the known products.  (Which is difficult considering how a 13 year old growing boy eats.)  His skin could not be better.  We now watch everything that he eats.  Thank you for all of your information.  It is great to know that we are not alone – Jacqui by email

The rash is finally on its way out, I've had to eliminate lots of things, tomatoes, red wine amongst them and one that I only started to appreciate much later in life, garlic (sob, sob). Anything with 635 is an absolute no, no. Keep up the good work – Phil by email.

I have recently had my 2 year old daughter at the hospital for an ear and throat infection, while waiting for the doctor she had a packet of Smiths BBQ chips. Within 10mins the left half of her face started to swell then her right, within 7 mins her whole face was swollen. Luckily I was at the hospital when this happened as they thought they would have to give her adrenalin to help her breath, but because they were able to administer antihistamine and Ventolin straight away she was fine and we could take her home after a few hours. I think a warning of some kind would help, so if it happens to someone's child they may know what it is, or better still maybe they could change the additives to something else that can not harm or kill. If I had not been at the hospital it may have killed my daughter.

I would not like anyone to have to go through that, I was lucky to be in the hospital and have been told not to let her eat anything like that more than 5mins from a hospital – Rebecca, ACT.

I have had this allergy for three years and a month ago I found out why I get it, it’s the food additive 635. My hands burn, then I get a rash all over, very big welts that itch sometimes. I have swollen lips, even had it in the throat, on the ears, in the hair everywhere, what can I do about it.  Thanks for letting us know all about 635 I have been worried what has caused it. Thank you – Ruby by email.

My son had been covered in a skin rash all over arms and legs for several weeks and I couldn’t seem to get rid of it. It seemed to be getting worse and more severe.  He is susceptible to asthma, allergies and has had mild cases of eczemas - so after all attempts to clear it took him to doctor.  She said it wasn’t any skin allergy and could possible be a viral or staph infection and gave him antibiotics.  It really didn’t improve after medication.

My sister heard a radio interview on Adelaide 5AA talking about side effects of this food additive 635 - and thought it sounded very much like skin irritation of my son.

He loves flavoured chips and 2 minute noodles.  So since hearing about 635 I have been religious about reading labels and have kept him off 635 to best of my ability.  The skin irritation has gone and has not reoccurred again – Sally by email.

It started out as what I thought was a cold sore on my lower abdomen…It wasn't until the size of the rashes grew that I knew I wasn't dealing with cold sores. I now have three areas on my lower torso with a fourth area trying hard which are covered with this rash. The itch is unbearable at times. I try not to itch but sometimes I catch myself out and it's too late.

By this stage I was getting a bit worried as to what was the cause for the rash. I ruled out shingles because there was no pain as such just the itch. It wasn't until I saw the report on 635 on the website that I thought it was a food allergy. The description of the rash on the website was very close to my rash so I decided to look into any foods that had been eating and sure enough there they were.

In Lays Sour Cream and Chives and the new Spicy BBQ Kettle Chips I found they had the additive and it just so happened that there was a special on Kettle Chips so I purchased a couple of the large packets (200 or 250gm) and polished them off over the period of about 3 or 4 days. That was when the huge break out occurred. The initial outbreaks would have coincided with me trying the new Kettle Chips which would have been one packet a week which would account for them seeming to go away.

I now check every label when I purchase them because this rash has severely affected my quality of living. I am an aerobics instructor and the rash sits just under my leggings waistband and my microphone belt. I am extremely embarrassed and hanging out for the day I don't have this hideous itch.

(later) Since my initial e-mail I have discovered it was probably not just the chips which caused the rash. It was more likely the combination of a lot more foods than I thought. I went through my cupboards this evening and was horrified to find that most of the packaged pastas had either 635 or 627. The new Pasta stops which are heavily advertised on television at the moment, the macaroni and cheese has 635 and I was eating these at the time I was eating the chips.

Are you aware that 635 is in Greenseas Salsa Tuna. That really blew my mind. I was actually eating it when I read the label. I honestly did not expect it to be in Tuna but there it was.

It's quite disturbing to think we have to check every label when shopping. What is this world coming too? Here’s hoping for a 635 free world – Sharon, Melbourne.

I don’t suffer from rashes or food allergies normally, but tonight I made myself some popcorn, in the box was a smaller packet of salt and vinegar flavouring, I sprinkled this over the popcorn and ate it (Uncle Tobys salt and vinegar popcorn.  It had a sachet of 635 in it to sprinkle on the popcorn after you had cooked it in its bag). Within minutes I started to get a prickly rash under my arm, near my bosom.  The rash got worse and escalated to around my neck up my arms and right around my right bosom.  Within 1 hour of eating the popcorn I have the rash up the inside of my arms, down my back and around the back of my neck, up into my hairline and into my ears.

Attached are some photos taken with my digital camera, due to the lighting it doesn’t show the rash in all its redness. As I am typing this it is slowly moving all over my torso and arms. I hadn’t eaten anything else that I don’t normally eat this evening. – reader, Victoria.

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.

Although an eczema sufferer most of my early life  (now 50 years old) in the past 12 months I have on different occasions developed a rash worse than anything I have ever experienced with eczema. I have been to dermatologists and allergists and found that I was severely allergic to the dust mite. In the past couple of months I changed all my bedding etc and have been free of rash.

On Saturday night I cooked apricot chicken.  The welts on my body stated to appear again on Sunday night.  I finished the chicken for dinner on Monday evening not associating it with the rash.  Last night I woke tearing my body to pieces.  There were huge welts all over my torso, arms and upper legs.  I was in a terrible state.  It was 2 in the morning and I was sitting in my loungeroom sobbing and distressed.  I thought I had found the problem with the dust mite.  This was however was something far worse.

I went into the kitchen and checked what I had eaten.  I had read the article a few months previously on food enhancer 635.  I checked the Continental french onion soup packet that I had used in the casserole.  There was no mention of 635.  I was totally distressed and at my wit's end.  I went back to the soup packet and checked again and saw - food enhancer -  ribonucleotides.  I had kept the article on 635.  I rushed to my purse and took out the article.  There was the chemical name for 635 - the same as on the soup packet.

This is nothing short of criminal that the Food and Health departments will not ban this additive.  To tear yourself to pieces, with huge welts on your body is the most demoralising thing I have ever experienced.  Obviously this had caused problems for me previously and had gone undetected.  Not only do I now have to wait for the welts to die down, I have scratched up my skin so badly it will take weeks for that to heal.

I am writing this in the hope that it may help in having this additive banned.  Surely big business should not come first over the health and well being of Australians – Suzanne, Victoria.

One of the pictures Today Tonight aired was of a person with a red rash on the body. I have been getting a rash like that, as well as swelling on the eyes and mouth for the past three years and doctors, allergists and skin doctors can not find the problem.

Could you please tell me what flavours are most likely to cause this reaction. I will be so thankful if you can help me stop scratching myself to bits – reader, email.

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

NOTE: Fed Up with Asthma is now out-of-print but updated but summarised in Fed Up, see chapter 7 And the asthma went away https://store16061019.ecwid.com/Fed-Up-p128364127