I'm a nutritionist and a mother. My little boy has had problems since birth, and I have suspected food allergy/intolerance. My son did not react to any foods on the skin prick test. A blood test showed a reaction to cows milk. Since removing dairy foods, he has been much better. But not all symptoms have gone completely. Maybe he is intolerant to something?

It has been a difficult task to find sympathetic and knowledgeable professionals to help. Even though I am trained as a dietitian, I feel out of my depth. - email [We can provide names of failsafe-friendly dietitians in many areas]

Thank you for all your help, I will let you know how I go with the diet. Cross fingers. No doubt there will be a lot of trouble in the beginning getting my daughter to try the food - she loves spaghetti and tomato sauce, things like that, so this will be interesting, but I am optimistic. I know there is a lovely little girl waiting to come out of the devil child I have at the moment. I know that's not a very nice thing to call her, but I sometimes wonder how she can think and act the way she does and be happy getting into trouble and arguing with us all the time. - email, Qld

I'm starting to get on top of this diet but it has taken ages because I've only just got around to eliminating the things I didn't think I could do without - like a cup of tea with breakfast. Sometimes you just can't believe something that feels so good, so right, can be so bad - but I seem to react (with migraines) to both salicylates and amines. I also react to milk - not incredibly sensitive, but more than about half a cup and I'm gone - and it took me quite a long time to admit that. - email, NSW

I was introduced to your books after my son was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. I have four sons and feel like they are always complaining of some ailment. Three have all been bedwetters up until the ages of 6 to 8 years old. Two are often complaining about aches in their legs to the point of not being able to play sport which they love. One has headaches which leave him feeling lethargic and sleepy. These symptoms disrupt our lives and leave the kids irritable, but I haven't
wanted to take them to our doctor on every occasion, as I have worried that he will think I am imagining their problems.

My son with ADHD is well behaved and I have always felt he had the potential to do better at school than he was. I was disappointed to find out that the only solution to the problem that was offered to me was Ritalin. I am hoping that through a revision of his diet, we may be able to improve his results without medication.

At the moment I am reading "Fed Up" and it has just hit me how like some of the children, my children seem to be. As you mention in your book, I was one of those parents who stayed away from most of the obvious 'junk food' and would consider our family to eat relatively healthy food, however, my children do eat a lot of fruit and pasta sauce meals, which may be the cause of some of their symptoms.

Thank you again for your information and dedication in trying to spread the word. I am planning to try our family on the elimination diet and hopefully we will be able to pinpoint the problem foods for our children. I have renewed hope. - email

Thank you for a very informative website. We have two small children and have always been interested in healthy eating, trying to avoid junk food and chemical additives. I had no idea there was so much in so many foods! Have been through the cupboard ticking off all the safe and unsafe products and there were quite a few surprises! - email

I will start reading labels. I don't cook much so I tend to eat prepared foods, foods from the box, and lots of takeaways. Although I try to be healthy with what I choose (sandwiches without margarine, lots of salads etc), after reading your information I now know I haven't been healthy at all.

My husband is a chef . Although he has learnt a lot about food in the 13 years he has been cooking, he is surprised at the things in food that he didn't know about. This has been a real eye opener and learning curve for all of us. - email, Qld

I have just read Fed Up and I must say that it has turned my life upside down. It has been two weeks and I am a believer. My son is seven and scored 92 on your checklist. I have been to doctors, psychologists, etc. He is doing very badly at school, socially and with learning difficulties (diagnosed with dyslexia) and it has all come to a head in the last six months when he started having angry outbursts. These have settled in the last two weeks. This is the first light at the end of the tunnel I have seen since I realised my son was different from the norm at age three. Finally I can do something to help rather than just worry. - email, NT

I have a 5 year old granddaughter who is behaving very erratically. She has just started school and although we know she has a temper, this behaviour is beyond all explanation. We call her the "little girl with the curl". We have tried to pinpoint food but have failed. As she has just started school she is eating more bread than ever before as she takes a packed lunch. After watching the program, we thought maybe that is the problem. - email

My daughter, now 10, demonstrated all the behaviors outlined in the Today Tonight story as well as constant ear and throat infections plus skin rashes, itchy feet and hands, nightmares, could not sleep, agitated behavior, and running sores. I could not find a doctor who could help so at 3 years old we took her to a naturopath. He took her off all milk and grains except corn.

The result was so remarkable that we have religiously kept her off all grains for 7 years. She did return to diary products in moderate amounts without problems. She has learned not to eat wheat as when she breaks this diet she often becomes ill. Although she has never had bowel problems we have assumed she is coeliac. She has not been tested as we refuse to make her go through hell for 3 months before the doctors can test. After watching your research I was wondering if she is really only sensitive to the additive in bread and I assume some other products … - email

I know that my 14 year old ADHD son does better when on a preservative and colour free diet but he obtains all the "wrong foods" from his friends at school which we have not been able to remedy or control since he was in grade 1.- email

My son aged 10 is autistic. Our speech pathologist suggested that a big part of the ratty behaviour he often exhibits could be from additives in our everyday food and said what you are saying about our daily bread containing more additives. I have eliminated soft drinks from his daily intake and what a remarkable difference I can see already. - email, Melbourne

I have just picked up your year book 'Fed Up'. I can't believe I have ignored what was just so obviously the problem with my four year old boy. I have recently eliminated all the additives and noticed an amazing difference in my son's behavior and concentration. This diet is obviously a challenge but if the least outcome is more energy (lethargy and a short fuse have always been my problem) it will be worth it. I am a registered nurse but most importantly a desperate mum trying to make a difference to a clearly distressed four year old's life. - email

My jaw dropped to the ground after seeing your show on Today Tonight and thinking "that's my son!!" I thought I had tried everything to work out what was wrong with my son as a baby - he is 4 now. He wouldn't sleep. I was lucky to get 15 minutes sleep out of him day or night - doctors were saying it was colic, no remedies would help - nothing would work - he just constantly screamed and screamed and screamed. I thought I was going mad. It wasn't until I weaned him off breast
milk that he started to calm down a bit - but he is still difficult and hard to live with. My other two children are not like this at all.

I could never come to any conclusions and neither could anybody else. I noticed recently after I ate certain foods, I would feel tired and have to lie down and in two incidents recently I could not keep my eyes open and had to immediately lie down and sleep. I thought this was to do with fats (margarine etc).

But after seeing the show it is like the light has dawned. It has been one week now and we have been buying preservative free bread - and I am already noticing a slight difference in my son. I intend to eliminate other preservatives and get to the crux of it all. Thank you and I feel that I am at the beginning of the trek to a new and improved life.

I was extremely interested in the story of bread and ADHD on Today Tonight. I do not have an ADHD child however I used to have a child that could be quite erratic sometimes (like they all are at 5). He is dairy free and I have put him on preservative free bread over the last 2 weeks. Now I have a completely different child! No more tummy aches (used to occur every couple of nights) and very balanced behaviour. - email

My son was experiencing behavioural and learning problems. Through diet (eliminating 282, other additives and some salicylates) I have seen some wonderful changes in him, especially in his sleeping. For the first time in his five years of life, he is sleeping 12-14 hours a day. - email, WA

Congratulations on your fantastic work with the bread preservative research and media presentation. It certainly has a huge amount of people interested in our local towns. Many families in our district have tried avoiding 282 as a result and have had fantastic results, with much happier, easy-going kids. Our local school tuck shop is even considering switching to preservative free bread which I am sure will make a huge difference in the school as it is known to be a particularly bad school with very high teacher assault rate -both verbal and physical - and terrible bullying issues. I have also given their committee a copy of your tuck shop paper - they were very grateful for the info. - email, WA

Congratulations on the publication of your research on 282! I couldn't help but remark to my wife that Sue Dengate is probably a modern Rachel Carson. Her book, "The Silent Spring" about the consequences of using DDT, changed the way the world looks at environmental chemicals. Your books and untiring effort are starting to produce, throughout Australia and even the world, a general knowledge of food intolerance and its consequences. Truly a monumental effort. - Bernard Trudgett, Wollongong. [Thanks, Bernard, and thank you to everyone who has written to congratulate me on the study's publication  ]

"I will be trying the elimination diet with the whole family. It will be hard to start with, but after reading the shopping list on page 200 of the cookbook, it doesn't look as bad as it seemed at first. The first shop will take a while, but I'm sure it will be worth it." - email, Qld

I've read many of the stories on your website. It's amazing to me that manufacturers think it is necessary to add so many chemicals. People need to buy food all the time. If no one added colours or flavour enhancers and other chemicals, I'm sure the consumers would be happy to buy what was available, based on price and quality. I was very happy with the foods offered 30-40 years ago, before so many chemicals were added. Thanks for all you and your husband have done in these studies. I can only imagine what a battle it has been for you. - email

This week mum has started us on a failsafe diet with foods that have no colours or preservatives in them, I think it's good because I might get less migraines and not feel sick as often and maybe even do better in school. Hopefully this will help my sister who has learning disabilities and maybe she'll be able to read like me.

It's amazing how many colours and preservatives are in food, I checked all the labels when I went shopping with mum and I helped clean out the pantry too. Mum made some sherbert and it tasted like the real thing but without the horrible colours and preservatives in it. The new diet is good, it's fun to try out new things and they taste good as well.

Next week we are going to clean out the bathroom and laundry cupboards and buy more friendly shampoos and toothpaste and it's goodbye and into the garbage bin with all the bad things.

I wish our Prime Minister would realise what these things are doing to us. - Caroline, aged 9.

Antioxidants (310-312, 319-320) are the most frustrating additive by far. You can usually see colours and other additives are usually on the label in some sort of description. But antioxidants are not considered to be preservatives by regulators, and the manufactures are not always required to list them on the label, so antioxidants are a secret ingredient unless you go to extreme lengths to ask first the supplier of the food and then the manufacturer of the contents.

There are alternatives to the nasty antioxidants which are failsafe (300-309) and haven't been associated with cancer in rats, possible genetic changes, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, collapse and children's behaviour, just to name a few.

Even failsafe foods like Betta Natural Cone Cups can't be trusted. I found this out after my son experienced an adverse reaction to these cones. When I telephoned the supplier, I was told that they had changed their oil and it now included BHA (320) and tBHQ (319).

What hope have we got for our children if such nasty additives are hidden in our foods? – Jenny, Warragul, Victoria

.I think it is a very cruel thing for parents as well as children to go through. Please send me as many brochures as you can. I would like to leave some with my doctor and also at my child health clinic for them to learn about it and be able to help other mothers identify food intolerance as a problem - email, Qld

One of the guys at work has three kids, including one who had major behavioural problems. He and his wife had been to see professionals, including psychologists, to try and find out what the bloody hell was wrong with their son. In the end, they actually thought they were bad parents. When I spoke about Sue's book, they bought it and started giving their kid preservative-free bread instead of supermarket bread. Guess what. The little boy's behaviour changed dramatically for the better. That was nearly a year ago and they no longer seek professional advice on how to bring up their kids. Amazing.

There is no doubt about it, Sue Dengate is definitely on to something. I just wish more people would listen. - email

You mentioned the additive 282 in bread causes behavioral problems in children. What about adults? I only started eating 8-10 slices of bread a day in June. It started out with 4 slices of toast for breakfast. Two of the slices were for my 2 year old, but when she didn't eat hers, I ended up eating all 4 pieces. I started eating 1 sandwich for lunch but was craving more so I have been eating 2 sandwiches now. Sometimes at dinner we have toasted sandwiches. I'm hoping it is the bread that has been making me feel so hateful and easily annoyed. I never used to be set off so easily. Now it seems that I can't even talk to my husband without getting upset and he is probably one of the nicest, easiest-going husbands around. I'm going to go off bread with 282 in it and see what happens. I'll let you know in 3 weeks if I'm feeling more normal.

Two weeks later: After the first couple of days I started feeling less uptight. By the end of the first week I was feeling great. Then we went on a trip over this last weekend. I'm not sure if it was some toast I had both mornings where we stayed but the last few days I have been feeling all uptight again. We also stopped at McDonalds for breakfast on the way home yesterday and I'm not sure if there is 282 in the muffins. Now that I'm back home I will not be buying bread with 282 ever again. - email

Q. I have a son with ADHD, behavioural problems and a learning disability and another with a learning disability. I would like more information about the brands of bread/bread mixes that are free from the calcium propionate (282). Are you going to run a trial in Victoria ? If yes, I am interested in participating. Any extra additional information that you can give me I would greatly appreciate it. - by email

A. Sorry, there are no future trials planned, although many parents have volunteered. You don't need to take part in a study to trial the elimination diet. The bread preservative is not the only food chemical which can cause problems. Ask the phone contact in your area (see website)s on the website or email me for the name of a failsafe-friendly dietitian who will supervise this diet for you.

Q. I decided to try removing the additive 282 from my families' diet to see if the behaviour of my children would improve. So far they appear to have only be behaving worse. Have you heard of this happening before?

A. There are at least three possibilities. First, it could be withdrawal symptoms. Food additives are addictive. When you eliminate them, you can expect withdrawals which usually only last two days sometime in the first two weeks. Second, it could be that some other food chemicals - including natural ones like salicylates in fruit juice - are affecting your children and you have unknowingly introduced more of those at the same time. Third, are you sure the bread you have switched to is preservative-free? There are numerous instances of mislabelling or misinformation. If buying unlabelled bread, insist on seeing the label on the premix. If they won't show you the premix label, don't buy it. Note that Bakers Delight bread boasts 282-free, but it does contain 223 (sodium metabisulphite) which affects some kids just as badly. If buying labelled bread in a supermarket, ask to see the premix label for an instore bakery (although this does not guarantee the baker has used the correct premix, and there have been problems with that too). If the bread comes from out of store, ask which bakery, phone that bakery and ask about 282. There are many instances of wrongly labelled out-of-store bread. Brumby's is very safe - they do not have 282 in any of their breads.

Q. I asked at our local bakery whether they had preservative and they swore they didn't, but my sons and I reacted to it.

A. Many hot bread shop attendants will say there is no preservative in their bread because they don't add any and it isn't always listed as preservative. It is often listed as mould inhibitor (282). You need to see the premix label with your own eyes.

I believe that 282 is the worst food additive. It is hidden in a healthy food (bread and crumpets) and most people don't know about the problems it causes in children. Doctors don't know about it, so therefore it doesn't cause a problem (yeah right!!). It turns good kids into screaming, tantrum throwing, horrible children with no idea why. That's why I hate 282 more than all other additives. I don't like the others much either!! - this is an entry in the Worst Additive competition, winners to be announced in the next newsletter, out soon

Q. You mentioned the additive 282 in bread causes behavioural problems in children. What about adults? I only started eating 8-10 slices of bread a day in June. It started out with 4 slices of toast for breakfast. Two of the slices were for my 2 year old, but when she didn't eat hers, I ended up eating all 4 pieces. I started eating 1 sandwich for lunch but was craving more so I have been eating 2 sandwiches now. Sometimes at dinner we have toasted sandwiches. I'm hoping it is the bread that has been making me feel so hateful and easily annoyed. I never used to be set off so easily. Now it seems that I can't even talk to my husband without getting upset and he is probably one of the nicest, easiest-going husbands around. I'm going to go off bread with 282 in it and see what happens. I'll let you know in 3 weeks if I'm feeling more normal. Please let me know if you have heard this happening to adults ?

A. One of the mothers in the bread study reported similar effects and there have been others. A number of people have reported the same kind of cravings - gradually eating more and more preserved bread. The bread preservative is not the only food chemical which can cause these symptoms but if it does affect you, you should feel better within days of avoiding it.

Q. Calcium propionate and related preservatives belong to the GRAS list of chemicals, "Generally Recognised as Safe". The public has been assured for decades that the safety of these chemicals is conclusively proven. If indeed propionates are found to be unsafe, what assurance do we have of the safety of other food-additive chemicals on the GRAS list? - email, Sydney.

A. Additives are never tested for their behavioural toxicity, that is, their effects on children's behaviour or learning. There are no assurances regarding behavioural safety of any additives. There are 50 "safe" additives that have been associated with behaviour problems, see list on the website.

Q. Thanks for interesting article on the effects of bread preservative. I went to my heart specialist a couple of weeks ago and told him I that when I eat bread, it makes the rhythm of my heart go absolutely crazy. It misses one beat in four and makes me feel quite unwell. He told me that was absolute nonsense, but he would get me to wear a 24 hour heart monitor. So I did that and when they analysed the data, sure enough, 35 minutes after I ate four slices of bread, the graph went wild. But he still doesn't believe that it was caused by bread. So I'm going to look for another heart specialist who will listen to me. It was a real comfort to realise that there is a doctor (Dr David Brewster) who does believe beyond the textbook. Have you had any experience in 282 adversely affecting heart rhythm? I would be really interested to know whether you have had any other reports of 282 having other health side effects. - by email

A. See Factsheet for report of fast heart beat (tachycardia) linked to 282.

Thank you Mrs Dengate, I think you have answered my questions. I took my 4 year old daughter to a naturopath a year ago because I was sick of doctors giving her antibiotics for the flu which she got at least twice a year. One of the major suggestions was that I take her off wheat, so I did for the past year and she hasn't had a flu at all. We also noticed that her behaviour was much better and a rash that she has had for most of her life, mostly around the bottom area, had disappeared.

During this wheat-free year she did occasionally have some wheat and sometimes she would misbehave and sometimes she wouldn't and we couldn't work it out. I am positive the calcium propionate (282) is the cause. Over the past 2 months she has been eating wheat again, full on, but the bread that we eat is preservative free, and she has been a perfectly behaved child. I am not game to test her on a loaf of bread which has this preservative in it, but no doubt in the future she will have some at some time and we will be monitoring her behaviour. Thank you!!! - by email.[Comment: calcium propionate has very recently been linked with immunosuppression, which might explain the frequent flu.]

I was very interested in the Today Tonight segment. I have some real difficulties when I eat some breads yet I can eat other breads without them upsetting my stomach. - by email

I just wanted to say thanks for doing your study on 282. I am the mother of a four year old girl who has seen many specialists and had heaps of tests in the last two years with no real answers. Since she was 12 months old she had persistent diarrhoea, stomach cramps, what we called "bottom burns" (very severe reddening and blistering of her bottom from front to back which meant she couldn't wear nappies or sit down) and mood swings (one minute she'd be on top of the world, the next she would be screaming and crying and have no idea why).

After seeing a "paediatrician" (I'm still not sure how he qualified) we put her on an elimination diet (it was our idea, he said to let her go and see if she grew out of it). We found her symptoms stopped when we removed all gluten containing products from her diet. A coeliac test came back negative so we reintroduced it to her diet and the symptoms started again. We eliminated wheat products and the symptoms stopped again. We did allergy tests and when they came back negative we were confused. I was sure that wheat was the problem, but apparently not. The gastro registrar that she sees was confused too. We decided to put her back on the full diet and then retest her for coeliac disease, but again it came back negative. She no longer has the diarrhoea and bottom burns, but the cramps and mood swings are still there.

Now we have a Plan B. I'm going to try eliminating 282 from her diet and see what happens. My daughter has been classified as gifted and does not have ADD, but her cramps and mood swings very much affect her and the people around her. Again, thanks for getting Today Tonight to show that story and I really hope it helps. I'm also going out today to get a copy of Fed Up. Just goes to show you: as a paediatric nurse I thought I had all the answers when it came to kids and I really had no idea at all. At least the paediatrician had less of a clue than I did!! He still tells me that because all the tests were normal there is nothing wrong with her. He said it's my parenting that's the problem, not my daughter's body, yet my two year old son is fine! - by email [Comment: it is possible to have an intolerance to wheat which will not show up on allergy tests - or it could be 282. Some of the children in the bread preservative study reported stomach aches, and see stomach cramps letter above and below]

Q. I am curious as to whether the 282 mould inhibitor you have been looking at in children, is likely to have any effect on adults? Am I more at risk because I have to take daily medication for an illness? - by email, SA.

A. Calcium propionate (282) can affect adults as well as children with a wide range of health, behaviour and learning effects. Both illness and medication can increase intolerance to food chemicals.

Q. I saw the bread preservative segment on Today Tonight. I checked the bread in my freezer and it did have 282. Do you have a list of which bread manufacturers make the bread without 282 or do I need to make my own bread? If you could please advise as I have 4 children under 5 years and desperately need some answers as to why all my children have behaviour problems. - by email

A. See list of safe breads in the Failsafe Shopping List.

I am delighted to read the results of this study, as I have had serious concerns about preservative 282 for several years. I have been interested in the Failsafe diet since I discovered it a year ago through a web search.

My interest is based on two reasons. Firstly, my son developed behaviour problems when he was 2 or 3 years old. Although he was a bright child who did well at school, he would sometimes have uncontrollable rages, often had headaches and felt sick and missed school. At thirteen he became obsessed with drugs, (we lived in a beach suburb which fostered this), refused school, and became sporadically psychotic. Although this was blamed on drugs, I had always known that certain foods might cause his problems. Testing for allergies did not reveal anything conclusive. After eight years of trauma, which caused a deep family rift, during which time there were regular attendances at courts for his uncontrollable behaviour, he became a heavy wine drinker and was accidentally drowned in the sea at the age of 21.

Secondly, I developed a very irritable bowel in my early forties. Trying a rotation diet showed that commercial sliced bread caused severe constipation. Other foods, obtained from the delicatessen, also caused overwhelming sleepiness, headaches and bouts of stomach aches and malaise. It is now so bad that eating any commercial bread or products such as commercial schnitzels, causes an attack which is characterised by bowel cramps, pain, burning sensations in the gut, nausea, headache and muscle spasms in my neck, back and legs. It usually takes three days of fasting, or a rice diet, before the symptoms subside. My medical advisers would never take seriously my claim that bread, cakes and pastries were associated with the problem, although I underwent food challenges under the direction of a respected dietician. Semolina and some home made bread does not cause me any problems. The received view still seems to be that there is a psychiatric component to irritable bowel syndrome, especially as it seems a majority of women are diagnosed with this disorder! Consequently, there is little sympathy for the sufferer, and no treatment other than antispasmodics and anti-flatulence drugs.

I must say that my family and friends still see my disorder as unacceptable, so that I often have to eat things which I know will cause an attack I have been aware of the bicarb antidote for many years, but now find that only a dose of Durolax laxative taken the same day will head off the problem. I want you to know how grateful I feel to you for your persistence in pursuing this research and for publishing the findings so that further research may be undertaken to give your findings scientific credence. - by email, Sydney

Thank you for writing your books, I have just about finished "Different kids" and can relate very well to the book, as I'm sure many parents can. Last year I read "Fed Up" and that spurred me on to look for a bakery in Sydney (close to me) that was selling or prepared to sell preservative free bread with NO LUCK. I did however find a place in Western Australia called All About Bread, and we have been buying our bread premix from there for some time now. If it can help anybody else out there, the website address is: www.allaboutbread.com.au

We passed the bakery in Mundaring (WA) this morning on our way to the supermarket and there was a hand written sign in their window saying that none of their products have 282 in them and … 'U Bake it' do a line of preservative free bread mixes. - by email, WA

I am very interested in your research re calcium propionate. I thought that it may be of interest to you that as a migraine sufferer, I have found that 282 is one of my main triggers for a migraine attack. I have them very infrequently but very severely. By keeping a food diary I have been virtually able to avoid them. Calcium propionate has been off my list for at least five years. Thanks for drawing the attention of the world to the effects of this preservative. - by email

I have always tried to be careful in regard to buying processed foods, eg cakes, biscuits, chips, lollies but never thought that bread was a big issue even though there are many varieties. Recently on a media program (Today tonight) I became aware that nearly all bread brands contain a preservative 282 (calcium propionate) and the effects this may have on kids' behaviours. This again made me sit back and look at what is available in supermarkets that we take for granted as being healthy and safe to use.

Just standing in front of the yoghurts I was overwhelmed with the number of flavours and colours added to these products. Where do you start? I thought yoghurt was healthy, next came the deli and sandwich meats with all their preservatives and colours, but even walking through the fruit and vegetable aisles you start to wonder about genetically modified foods and the pesticides used. Going shopping has become a nightmare, I am turning everything over and finding very little that has no colours, flavours or preservatives in it. I have 3 children and each one has their own problems, but I often wonder how much of this is brought on by what they eat. - Kathleen from Canberra

My eldest son (15) has always been very calm, but even he notices an anger building up following the ingestion of 282. Everyone puts the blame of "out of control children" on to working mothers and their subsequent tiredness but what's in our "healthy" meals? Here is our conversation last night, verbatim:

T: "Mum, can you put down "no 282" in our bread at school camp?"

M: "Do you find 282 affects you that badly?"

T: "HELL YEAH, I find a huge almost uncontrollable anger building up inside me, for no reason, and I feel I just want to punch something or someone. I don't, though, of course."

M: "Is 282 worse than MSG?"

T: "Yes, sort of. MSG gives me a really flat, dead feeling along with the anger, but the effects of MSG are easier to control."

This is from a young man who poo poohed my suggestions a year ago, when I put the whole family on the elimination diet because it was easier for us all to do it than just the younger boys. He is now the mediator when conflicts arise. I, too, am affected badly by 282.- by email

I have always eaten a lot of bread, mainly wholemeal bread, muffins and bagels. I would often eat 6 English muffins a day. I used to get very moody, stressed out and anxious, in fact the people who I work with have asked me numerous times if everything is ok. I used to get very angry quickly and then in a split second I would feel like crying my eyes out. I also had an ongoing rash on my body, a feeling of ants crawling over my skin, was very tired and couldn't get up in the morning.

I really didn't want to be like this any more, so when I saw the previews on the telly about the bread preservative I watched with much interest, and decided to stop eating bread. Within a day I was feeling better, not irritable or anxious, and actually feeling happy, a change to how I normally feel. After three days I felt really different, better than I have for 6 or 7 years. Even my boss has said he's seen a huge change in me. I used to be a school teacher. If the kids in my class were feeling like I was, I can understand why they behaved the way they did. - Tim from Melbourne

I realise you must be inundated with people contacting you about your research but I would like to personally acknowledge and thank you for your perseverance in bringing food sensitivities to the attention of the medical profession.

My three-year-old son, Jack, is a classic example of a reaction to preservative 282, except he also gets telltale extreme eczema, usually on his stomach and folds of legs and arms, which he scratches until it bleeds. It has been the latter symptoms that has made the effects of 282 so easy to identify in the end, after three years of spending thousands of dollars on medical specialists, allergy testing, cortisone cream, antihistamines and every type of traditional and alternative remedy available to mankind.

When my cousin introduced me to your book it was an absolute godsend. I was at the point where on many days I could have easily have put my son up for adoption. He was uncontrollable, irrational, stubborn and virtually beside himself with frustration and irritated skin.

My main frustration now is getting people to accept that this is Jack's problem, as so many people 'boo hoo' it as nonsense that it's related to food, and will often be found giving him these foods regardless of what I say. The other irritant for Jack is antioxidants used in cooking oils.

If you ever need a subject to test these out on, Jack would be ideal due to the tangible nature of his reaction.

Good luck with communicating this to the community at large. - by email, from Sydney

In response to the articles I have seen on your website, I am 99% sure that my 30-year-old husband has a nasty reaction to 635. He had been complaining of a maddening itch at night on occasion, like he was shedding skin, and it was almost impossible for him to sleep. The last time it happened he had eaten Maggi 2-minute noodles earlier in the day. It was serendipity that a few days earlier I had been researching food additives in relation to migraines and found mention of the dreaded 635 and then thought to check the labels on everything he had eaten. We now consciously avoid anything containing 635, and to date he has been itch free. - Rhonda, by email

"Congratulations on an excellent website, I wish I'd found it a few months ago when I was scratching myself until I was bleeding from the worst rash I have ever had. Just in case some people think that food additives only affect children, I'm 56 and another victim of 635.

"I believe that packet soup was what triggered the rash, then things like BBQ chicken from Woolies, pizza and even KFC, although I can't prove that it contains 635 (but I bet it does) … The most amazing thing is that neither my allergist nor my dermatologist had heard of 635. I could have saved the $1000 that I spent at the specialists. My allergy specialist says I can now safely eat those foods again because the rash has gone but I won't be charging into a 635 diet to see if it comes back. Nine months of hell was long enough for me." – by email.

"I ate just a few CC's at a staff function. Within an hour I had a red rash and itch like that from a caterpillar inside my right elbow. By the time I went to bed I was scratching myself all over the armpit and upper body. Having a shower really made it go, across my chest and up my neck on the right. The next morning at an aerobics class I had a red rash over my entire right body from the waist up to my neck, where it formed an unsightly and extremely itchy vivid red high-water mark around my neck.- by email.

"Three days later I still have lumps and itches in my right armpit and up to my face. I seem to have become hyper-sensitised to other allergens that rarely affect me, sneezing, scratching and itching. If I hadn't seen this all happen to my son I wouldn't believe that it was caused by such a small amount of an additive. And I know that it will last a week, based on his experience."

"I have a story regarding flavour enhancer 635 from the eight-year old boy next door.

"Last year he ate a pie bought from a bakery shop near his mother's workplace. Not only did he get the skin reaction he also suffered a life-threatening anaphylactic-type reaction with swelling of mouth, tongue and throat. The doctor (fortunately a doctor's surgery was just around the corner) who treated him said that he was probably a matter of minutes away from death. He remained on antihistamines for weeks and missed a lot of school. For days his lips protruded four inches or so! The family was unable to find out what was in the pie and so the cause of the reaction remained a mystery.

"A little over a month ago this child was given two or three CC's by a friend at school. Within a short time his arms were itching and his chest was covered in red and white wheals. This reaction was not as severe as the pie incident (the dose was no doubt much lower). I think that reaction took a week to subside.

"His mother has commented that this boy has had no problems of this kind until last year, although he does have a history of mild asthma.

"It wasn't until I was looking through your web site that I found the more-than-likely culprit. The family is very grateful. Once again

"THANK YOU! Surely 635 cannot go on being legal - if it was a drug it would be taken off the market or used, if deemed necessary, with extreme caution under hospital conditions, I'm sure!

•     Soon after its introduction an NT pediatrician asked us which ingredient in Maggi two minute noodles could cause 'a dramatic skin eruption' in a four year old boy

•     nearly 6 year old girl from NT developed an intensely itchy skin rash 24 hours after a class party with party pies, pediatrician at hospital prescribed Phenergan, 3 others in class with milder rashes

•     55 year old woman from SA, developed a dramatic rash that lasted two weeks after eating Gibbs party pies, antihistamines were not very effective

•     13 yo boy from NT developed an intensely itchy skin rash from the soles of his feet to the top of his head after eating a pie at a friend's place, the contents of the pie could not be determined

•     11 yo boy from NT developed an intensely itchy skin rash from 30 hours after eating party pies at a class party, the rash spread from chest to feet, then from chest to top of head, reappearing for 10 days. Missed one week of school. One other in class with milder rash.

•     2 yo girl from Victoria, developed a dramatic all-over itchy skin rash after eating Maggi instant noodles for dinner. Rushed to emergency room at midnight, needed antihistamines for two weeks. The family's regular brand of noodles (all the same ingredients except for 635) do not affect her.

•     50ish woman from NT, developed a mild but persistent skin rash after changing brand of frozen pie eaten once a week. New brand contains 635.

•     40ish man from Qld, developed constant itchy rash over the last two years, eats CC's corn chips (containing 635) every day

•     50ish man from NT developed a dramatic itchy rash within hours of eating "a few" CCs corn chips.

•     A pregnant woman in the NT who developed all-over itching was told it was due to pregnancy. Sure enough, after the birth, the itching stopped. When the baby was four months old, the woman watched a grand final on TV with a plate of party pies to hand - the first time she'd eaten them since having the baby, although she had eaten them constantly during the pregnancy. The next day the itching started again.

•     8 yo boy from NT, ate one packet of Lays Country Style Sour cream and Onion chips on Easter Saturday (wanting the Pokemon card inside). The next day he ate another half a packet and developed a "head to toe itchy rash like a map of Australia, huge and bumpy" according to pharmacy assistant. Eyelids started to swell. He presented to a pharmacy with the chip packets and his parents saying, "we think it was these". Contents included 635.

"I woke up at 3.30am on a Sunday covered with a rash, particularly bad on arms and torso. My face was very swollen and lumpy. The rash was terrible, the facial swelling was quite frightening and I felt as though I was gasping for air at times. My doctor said because it was all over my body, it was likely something I had eaten. The only thing different I had was a vegie burger from Hungry Jacks that I ate shortly before going to sleep. I went back later and asked about the ingredients. The only thing that I was not sure that I had eaten before was additive 635 (it was the only additive). I’ve never experienced a reaction like this. In the past, when I have had allergic reactions, the result has been hives, not rash, and always cured quickly by an antihistamine tablet. This time I had to take a course of antihistamines and steroids. I assure you I won’t be consuming this 635 again. It has been a most distressing experience for me and caused me to cancel my holiday. It is almost incomprehensible that this additive is allowed (without any sort of warning) if this sort of reaction can occur." (Brisbane)

"My 16yr old son had a bout of hives last year. Covered his arms, legs and body in large swollen itchy welts. Telfast 180mg stopped the itching and reduced the swelling, but we could still see the red welts. For almost a week he woke each morning with the welts raised and itching again. We couldn't identify anything different in his diet or environment. Two weeks later he had another outbreak, similar in intensity. But this time I realised that both times it happened after he had worked an 8hr shift at a charcoal chicken shop. He has worked at this shop for over a year, and eaten there with no problems. However, it was unusual for him to eat both lunch and dinner at work, and for him to choose chicken and chips, smothered in gravy, for both meals in one day. He read through the ingredients of everything used in the shop, and found that the 'chicken flavouring' added to the stuffing includes E635. This same chicken flavouring is mixed with salt and sprinkled on the chips. The gravy mix used also has E635, and the chicken flavouring is added to the gravy, so there's a double dose there. He has since avoided eating large quantities of E635, ie. he doesn't eat the gravy, he leaves the 'chicken salt' off his own chips, and he's careful to monitor the quantity of 'chicken flavour' added to the stuffing mix. He's had no hives at all since those two episodes. I'm very concerned that the shop owner had no idea that E635 could cause reactions, and that there is no real control over the amount of E635 in any one meal. E635 is in the 'chicken flavour' added to gravy, stuffing and salt. The 'chicken salt' is liberally sprinkled on chicken and chips. How much my son ate that day depends on who made up the gravy and stuffing, and who salted the chips, because there are no exact measurements." (Kiera)

A mother from Melbourne who reacts with a quick, dramatic skin rash (excellent photos are available) to flavour enhancer 635…in Doritos, CCs and a particular flavour of rice crackers. Her 9-year-old daughter also reacts to this additive (after eating only two CCs), with "crabbiness, itchy eyes and black circles under her eyes, like someone has punched her in the face." (Food Intolerance Network letter in response to query from TV producer).

"One of my friends had a frightening experience on Christmas Eve, which we thought may have been caused by 635 in corn chips. She has never had a reaction like it before, but had eaten quite a few corn chips (and not much else) at a family outing...here is part of what she wrote: - there was one bottle of mineral water, one bottle of wine, 2 packets of corn chips and a salad consisting of lettuce, tomato and cucumber!! Not only that but halfway thru the nite I started to get these itching lumps on my neck and legs. Felt ordinary for the rest of the nite and next morning I noticed more lumps and my ears were red hot and swollen. Managed to get thru the day okay but I didn't feel much like eating and was tired. Next morning…I woke absolutely burning and covered in lumps (or hives as you have probably figured out). I tried to get up and shower but I fainted…my lips swelled up and (my husband) was in a panic. The doctor came and gave me an anti-histamine and within an hour I was better but my blood pressure remained low and I had to stay in bed til my body battled whatever I ate that I was allergic to. Today I am better…the hives are beginning to go and no new ones are appearing. I can walk but I have to tell you I am scared. I don't know what I ate…I think maybe the corn chips...they were flavoured." (Melbourne)

"I had an itchy rash a few weeks back that kept me up all night. I thought it might have been a reaction to a new soap, but then I remembered the 635 in CCs…I had dug into a larger packet than usual. I hadn’t had any other processed food. I haven’t had CCs or the rash since then." (Sydney)

"I realise that Jake is very sensitive more than most, but he also had a very severe reaction to 635…He broke out in a hive/welt rash and also had swelling in the throat and breathing difficulties. The doctor gave him an injection which helped, but the redness was there for days along with headaches. And I also react…I also get welts the size of plates and severe headaches for days where I can’t move." (Sydney)