When I first picked up the two books I chose only the "Fed Up", because "The Failsafe Cookbook" looked just like another recipe book to me. But I was back to the bookstore a few days later buying “The Failsafe Cookbook” and it has become our manual for living ever since, and a permanent fixture on the kitchen bench! PS - the pediatrician was very pleased with my daughter's improvement and asked about the book, he had heard of it but not known anyone who had tried to follow it, so was very impressed when he could see results - Teresa by email.

First of all thank you for being my saviour!! My 4 year old little boy had been getting increasingly worse in his behaviour and we had pretty much become isolated due to his extraordinary tantrums that lasted anything up to 2 hours 3 or 4 times a week. I never knew when they would happen and it was normally as soon as we met up with friends in a play centre he would become aggressive, loud, uncontrollable and impossible to calm. Many times I have left a shop or playcentre with him folded under my arm, kicking and screaming, biting anyone or anything that came in his way.

We had already been seeing a paediatrician as he was also under weight and under height for his age. They hadn't found anything wrong but his blood tests were not quite right either. I was getting desperate and he is starting school next Thursday and I couldn't imagine what they were going to say!!

Until 'Fed Up' ... We have been following the elimination diet (mostly) for the last 2 weeks with dramatic results. We have not had any tantrums for 10 days. He is a pleasure to be around and he is sleeping much better. We are not there yet, but so much better. I can't quite believe he's the same child!!

(2 months later) He is now a couple of months in and we are so lucky to have such a gorgeous child now. We have had the occasional bad mood or minor tantrum if we have strayed a little or if we have made a mistake but no major full blown ones since we started the elimination diet - Fay, UK.

I first had contact with Sue way back in 2001, when her article called ‘Restless Babies’ in Nursing Mothers magazine saved my life!! I went failsafe as I was breastfeeding our unsettled/ ratty 6 mth old baby. We were amazed after she became a new baby after 3 days of diet!! That baby is now 9, and very conscious of the additives that affect her, and knows that by avoiding them, she feels better.- by email. ‘Restless babies’ article 

I am a frustrated mother of a beautiful 4 year old boy. I have taken my son to see numerous GPs, dietitians & gastroenterologists, all of who have told me that the Elimination Diet is too restrictive, too hard, not worth the effort or words to that effect. However, upon discovering The Failsafe Cookbook & Fed Up books and starting him on the diet by avoiding the artificial additives, we have noticed significant improvement in his symptoms. The initial symptoms were unexplained diarrhoea & stomach pain. However, an unexpected and exciting benefit of this diet is that his behaviour has dramatically improved. He isn't as irritable, more compliant and a lot more pleasant to be around - Anita by email.

About 4 weeks ago i removed 282 from my sons diet and he improved greatly, he would only speak in a mumble, he suffered from many nose bleeds in the week, was very negative about everything, not affectionate, didn't interact at preschool, would not co-operate at speech therapy. The change has been great he is talking so much more, he has not had a nose bleed since stopping 282, he is loving to everyone, he was great at speech did everything he was asked and sat still, interacts with others and notices things around him so much more - Reader by email.

I recently attended one of Sue's talks, and I have begun by just eliminating the additives on the yellow card I was given at the talk. While I have not weeded out all additives, I have seen a huge improvement in my son's behaviour, which I wasn't REALLY having too much of an issue with as a general rule, but I thought I would try it to see what happened. He has gone from a kid who wasn't getting in a lot of trouble at school, but only got 3 happy notes at school in two terms, to one who got a happy note about every 2 weeks from when I started eliminating the additives, as well as a merit award. While small compared to other people's results, I am really pleased with this, and he is generally calmer and easier to deal with. I never particularly noticed a link between what he ate and his behaviour, but now I see it! He had a lolly bag from a friend's birthday on Friday, and he was defiant and argumentative for 2 days after that. Fortunately, today it seems to be out of his system. – Alice, NSW

Our family have been following the Fed Up books for over 2 years now for a 5 year old daughter who was reacting severely with rashes on her face & body & a son whose doctor wanted to prescribe ADHD medication.

I can happily report that our daughter is rash-free and in fact after 7 years she doesn't even have eczema anymore. I believe her immune system has improved dramatically since being mostly failsafe. She is a healthy beautiful clear-skinned little girl with a good resistance to illnesses these days. My son is also progressing well with a mostly failsafe diet and fish oils to help with concentration. (our biggest problems - artificial colours & preservatives & in my daughter case - corn as well).

Just as an aside to this story - I put up with dreadful headaches every day for about 15 years, along with the headaches I got muscle cramps in my neck & shoulders. I was on a muscle relaxant for years until visiting a chiropractor. I went off the medication but after some weeks had a return of the problem after eating bacon & ham.....I am now convinced it was nitrates that were giving me the problem, and I have proven it a couple of times since. I have read about headaches & nitrates but can’t find anything on it affecting the muscles - for years I thought I was just being uptight!! - Julie by email

For the past 18+ months my wife has suffered from an increasing problem with gut issues and chronic diarrhea and related symptoms. She has tried various milks and milk substitutes (soy, etc). None have made any difference to her gut problems. Her GP has not found any specific cause and has recommended a range of tests and indicated it was probably "irritable bowel syndrome" which I'm sure you know is one of the catch-all medical labels which basically means "we don't really know".

On pure chance my wife (who had seen your report a couple of years ago on A2) decided about 6 weeks ago she had nothing to lose by trying A2 milk.

Our life has been transformed and this happened literally overnight! Gut patterns are back to normal, a far far cry from many daily urgent dashes to the loo, usually immediately after eating or drinking almost anything but particularly things containing dairy products. Literally life became normal within 4 hours of her first bowl of oatmeal with A2 milk. Absolutely amazing. The transformation has been astounding and we are very grateful to the people that have figured out the A2 story - Russell by email.

I found your site quite by accident Googling and I had an 'OMG' moment - I have suffered from rashes on my torso for more years than I can count, also itchy dry skin and bowel upsets when I ate different things. I read about 635 and I was saved. I went through my pantry and was gobsmacked at how many items I was consuming with this additive in it. Since disposing of them all (and believe me there were many) and checking what I buy but mostly sticking to food that looks like food all my problems have disappeared. I cannot tell you, nor would I know myself, how much money I have spent on creams, lotions, powders and tablets, and the misery my life has been because of this -and how it is a different as night and day since I found out about it. Thank God for your site or I would still be oblivious to what was causing my suffering....who would have thought that I would still be learning at age 64!!!!!! - Maev by email

I recently went on a cruise for 9 nights on a P and O ship. When I booked it sounded like the chefs would be accommodating for any diet, but I found the food a bit difficult! They don’t seem to understand salicylates, even the cooks!! By the end of the trip I was hanging to get home to eat properly - the food was getting very boring. They didn’t make any special gluten-free food other than bread so I was thankful I had taken some cake and biscuits. When we visited a little island we weren’t allowed to take food with us and they were providing a bbq. Well the only thing I could find to eat there was a red delicious apple!!! - Rosemaree, SA

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your guidance on food additives. I noticed a while back, when we were living in Scotland that my daughter (aged 3) reacted to salicylates. I found some information about Dr Feingold's work and kept fruit etc to a minimum. It was only after we moved to Australia that I noticed a big change in her (anxiety, defiance, restlessness, night waking, loud silly noises, aggression towards her brother). We blamed it on the move, a new baby brother etc. But we had no real idea as to what was causing it until we found your website and realised both cream cheese and bread in Australia have preservatives! We never had this problem in the UK so I didn't realise dishing up cream cheese sandwiches (my daughter's favourite) would cause us all such bother! I do hope some changes can be made here in Australia. We are only two weeks into our changed diet and the difference is astounding! - Emma, WA (Australian regulators say we have a higher permitted level of preservatives because of our hot climate - S)

I did a colour challenge today with a Black & Gold Icecream cone (102, 110, 133, 155) on my 4 yr old son and within 20 minutes he was jumping around, making silly noises, laughing in a very silly fashion and unable to concentrate on a board game we usually play that he would normally focus on very well. My husband was there this time to witness it (I did it on purpose because the hubs is "cheating" a little with my son a bit too often now when it comes to "other foods"). I saw the look on my husband's face when the realisation hit. I got my point across without nagging. I even asked my son why he thought he was behaving the way he was because he does not usually act like that. I saw my son "try" to calm himself down and to his credit he was able to tone the behaviour down a little but it took over an hour and a half before he was able to settle back to what I would call normal behaviour. There was no anger or stern sounding instructions from me for his behaviour as I knew we had induced it. He was very clingy again too. He just wants a cuddle and tells me he loves me and once he is reassured he is off again bouncing around. Absolutely astonishing stuff. I only wish there had been more family and friends around to see it! – by email, WA

I was particularly fascinated by the reader story on the dog with fits [922]. One of our rescued dogs was adopted from the vet. She was doing very well on their dry food (additive free) and we decided to keep using this. OK so far. Then we adopted another dog -- this time a pure bred and we fed her the same food. But we decided this was getting very boring and in a creative (oh no!) moment, we decided to mix a bit of canned dog food just to give the dry food some taste variety. Although I was aware of failsafe food, I didn't think to read the labels -- given that the dogs would eat absolutely anything they can find (we live out bush) the last thing I thought of was food sensitivity. Kai started to fit in groups of three about every 2 weeks. Two vets encouraged us to put her on medication (would have been for life) but we instinctively felt we should wait a little longer before we did this. Our neighbour had been a vet nurse and casually remarked that they had found additives caused dog fitting. The tinned foods! We stopped them (have since added fresh dog food without additives to their diet). No more fits. We told the vet who was dubious about the cause of them. We had no doubts after one night when, after being fit free after we removed tinned food, she had three fits. I thought that our theory had been disproved until my husband realised that without thinking he had opened a tin I had neglected to throw away -- and had given her a small amount. No more fits ever since. – Jane, NT (see our Pets factsheet)

My 14 month old ate some hot chips at a restaurant last weekend for lunch and two hours later she had a very bad red burning rash/ eczema all over her body. She has had eczema from a newborn relating to milk but has out grown this intolerance. I was surprised at how bad her reaction was; very red and angry looking all over her body, very irritable and would not leave my arms. I was also very surprised at how quick the rash came out!! I called the restaurant they said the chips come already cut and packaged with ingredients: Vegetable Oil, Soya bean, Cotton Seed, Sunflower and dextrose. Chips are then cooked in Vegetable Oil with antioxidant E900, E319 and E320. Do you think it might be the antioxidants or something else? The chips did not have chicken flavouring on them - I thought of that and asked them they said no seasoning at all.

Two weeks later: went to a McDonald's Birthday Party today and while I was taking one of my other children to the toilet a friend gave my daughter approximately 10 hot chips (ingredients include antioxidant 320). When I was putting her to bed tonight she had broken out in eczema on her face and body. Only small patches, nothing like when I first contacted you regarding a bad reaction to hot chips at a restaurant and she ate a lot more that day. I am thinking if she had eaten a lot more the reaction would have been worse! I presume I can now say she definitely has a food intolerance to antioxidants as she has now reacted twice to hot chips with antioxidants 319 (TBHQ) and/or 320 (BHA). - Breda, NSW

My first child was what some would call a colicky baby. There seemed no pattern, and sometimes nothing I did would settle him. When he was distressed nursing helped, but he was restless, pulling off the breast after a few minutes. In fact he snacked all day and night, rather than taking full feeds. My midwife suggested that something could be going through my milk which disagreed with him, and I stopped eating dairy, citrus and onions for a while, but to no effect. I asked many people about an odd thing – when he fed, he often got one red ear. No-one knew what it was or thought it important.

By six months his distress had settled down, though he remained an anxious baby and toddler (a friend described him as a ‘whiny baby’). At 18 months he became very ill with gastroenteritis. From this time on he was never the same. His anxiety increased, he’d have what seemed like panic attacks, clinging to me with a highpitched squeal and a bewildered little face. He kept getting red ears, one or the other or both, flushed cheeks, and red lips. Yet at other times he seemed fine. (It took another 3 years for this mother to discover that food intolerance was the cause of her baby’s problems…) His symptoms changed as he got older, but now we know his main triggers, he is well most of the time. Looking back, we could have been saved all of this if someone had been able to tell us that red ears are a common sign of food intolerance. So are colic, night restlessness, anxiety, panic attacks, mouth discomfort and the desire to suck vigorously and many more symptoms he displayed. – Jan, from http://www.lalecheleague.org.nz/template/articles__information/food_intolerances.pdf

I'd like to bring to your attention the outcome of my 3 1/2 year old daughter after taking Cephalexin or commonly known as Keflex. My daughter is intolerant to artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. The reaction should she eat foods with them in is the following:

· Lots of violent anger, frustration, screaming, yelling, temper tantrums off the scale

· Throwing objects, hitting people, hitting herself

· Will not listen to otherwise normal instructions

· Sleeplessness, very unsettled at night

This is exactly what happened after 4 days of taking Cephalexin (chemart brand) of Keflex...... My problem is that because in Australia it isn't legal for pharmaceutical companies to list their ingredients on the bottle/box it is very hard for the consumer to know what they are feeding themselves and their families. I had to ask the pharmacist, who looked it up for me, but lo and behold no numbers just a bunch of foreign chemical names, some of which I was able to decipher and found them to be detrimental to my daughters intolerance.

How come a packet of lollies can manage to fit a list of ingredients on it, but a big bottle of medicine can't .... I find it negligent of the pharmaceutical companies and the Australian Government to not tell the consumers what they are taking.

Why does children's medication have artificial colours and preservatives in that aren't necessary in a bottle that has an expiry of only 30 days anyway - it's really really bad and something needs to be done..... I refer you to this page to see how many people are affected..... Medication factsheet

Why doesn't Western Australia take a stand and enforce much needed changes on these pharmaceutical companies... some of the additives are banned in some countries - doesn't that tell us something? – thanks to Tiffany

When I started to really read food labels, I was horrified by the fact that I was poisoning our whole family - especially with 635 and annatto. You asked me how we are affected by these additives.

635 - Myself (main symptom is migraines): dried, red lips. It looks like I have lipstick on. I feel dehydrated and get migraine style headaches. Photosensitivity in my sight. Lethargy. Unfulfilled feeling of thirst. Frequent urination that seems very diluted. Mmy 4 yo son (main symptom is defiance): dried, red lips also. Dehydration and thirst. Frequent urination. Sooky or whingy type of demeanor. My 2 yo daughter (main symptom is urticaria): After having a piece of bacon the size of a 10 cent piece, it sent her into massive hives. It seemed like she had a headache or faceache and she screamed at a high pitch and then cried for about 20 mins. I nearly called an ambulance. Very out of character for her and she barely cries for more than a minute normally. Our 635 foods were French Onion Soup Powder – I would use in casseroles, potato bake, soups - Smiths brand Crisps, sausages from the butcher, tinned soup such as Spring Lamb with Vegetables, and takeaway BBQ Chicken and chips.

Annatto (160b) - Myself: insomnia, anxiousness, a shaky type of sensation sometimes - a bit hard to articulate it but its sort of like I have a vibration or fluttering going on in my body. I "snap" easily and it does not take much to make me get angry. My son: Difficulty falling asleep. Disturbed night sleeps. Silly behaviour and noises like a monkey (jumps around, clumsy, unable to sit still and focus for longer than 5 mins). Sometimes aggressive with no apparent trigger. Unpredictable around other children. My daughter: disturbed sleep. She was a good sleeper but started to go away from her past pattern of falling asleep by herself and changed into shorter sleeps and waking often at night. Once we took it out of her diet she started to sleep through the night and sleeps for a solid 2 hour stint during her day nap. Our annatto foods were Kraft singles, yoghurts (with Bob the Builder) and ice cream. – Rose, by email

My family is full of coeliacs - I'm about the only one who can eat gluten. I've had the blood test and I don't have CD. My problem is alopecia universalis - for the last 18 years I haven't had a single hair on my entire body (I wear a wig). What is the most likely cause for that? Gluten!?! But I love bread - it’s my favourite food! It’s the only gluten I eat.

- from the Fed Up Roadshow 2010 (In my experience, relatives of coeliacs may pass the blood test but often do much better when avoiding gluten. It could be that they are not eating enough gluten when they do the test because the family diet is likely to be low in gluten to avoid contamination for the coeliacs – S)

I was interested to read about gluten in your newsletter. I have a niece who is a coeliac, and one of my daughters has alopecia. She also has Down Syndrome. - by email (People with Down Syndrome have a higher prevalence of CD (7%) than the general population which some doctors think as high as 1%.)

Around the age of about 10 months, my daughter went completely bald from Alopecia Areata (she lost all hair on her head, eyebrows and eye lashes), but fortunately the hair started to grow back around 19 or 20 months. However, we are very disappointed to discover the alopecia appears to be returning as a bald patch has recently appeared on the top of her head. Are you aware of any foods or additives which may have triggered this condition? – by email, we are waiting for a progress report …

Over the past 15 years I have suffered from numerous things - CFS, IBS, Supraventricular Tachycardia, rosacea and itchiness. Post 2000, things were going along fairly okay CFS wise but I developed the SVT after the birth of my son in 2003. I had this corrected in 2007 (very long diagnosis!) but still continued to suffer the odd palpitation here and there. My IBS started in 1999 and I would swing from constipation to diarrhoea. My rosacea had been with me since 1997 and nothing would take it away. The itchiness started in 2008 and so did the headaches.

To cut a long story short, in January of last year I decided it was time to start looking into diet seeing no-one could work out what was wrong with me. So I went totally preservative, colour and sulphite free and purchased your book. Basically followed everything on the list of things to avoid. I did the same for my children. My rosacea disappeared! I also stopped itching and started to have less headaches and heart palpitations. I identified that sulphites affect my breathing, MSG affects my heart, something gives me headaches and 160b makes me itch. However, my diarrhoea and fatigue still remained. Eventually I looked more into salicylates (despite what the dietician thought!) and that was the final piece of the puzzle. - Rachel, NSW

I am very food sensitive. Last week-end when I was entertaining I ate one ‘plain’ rice cracker. It was Fantastic brand and had Flavour Enhancer 627. After realising this I threw them out! But never thought about them again. That night I awoke at 2 am with mild chest pains which I had off and on through until 5 am - the pains were mild but enough to cause me grief and stop me from sleeping - I stayed up most of the night. I have no doubt the Flavour Enhancer in the biscuit caused my problem. - Di, Vic

From time to time I notice an ectopic heart beat, Dr. tells me nothing unusual, most people get them. However last night after a couple of weeks eating really good and healthy natural foods we went out to a Chinese Restaurant. I like going there, but have not been there for a year or so I'd say. About an hour after I went to bed it began, I think you'd call it Tachycardia, a fast (100) and very irregular heartbeat. Some big strong thumping ones and then some feeble and fast ones. I got up, sat up for another 2 hours. Blood pressure had risen incredibly, and over the 2 hours settled down but the feeling on panic stayed. It's still here this morning actually and I didn't feel I could drive, so had to ask for a lift. Needless to say I am not having any of the left overs for lunch. Back to the straight and narrow. – Joy, NSW

If I have 635 I get Tachycardia, feel week and dizzy, and come down with flu like symptoms that last for around 2 to 3 days. Peter, by email

I was just reading your article about the link between sulphites and ventricular arrhythmia in the latest newsletter. I could relate to many of the symptoms experienced by Michiko. On several occasions (usually after a dinner party or night out at a restaurant), I've had a similar experience, lying awake that night unable to sleep and my heart pounding for hours. Just like Michiko I felt like I was 'buzzing' as though I'd had some hype-inducing drug. Sometimes I would also feel breathless and I noticed this often happened after drinking white wine or champagne. I'd never heard of anyone else having this experience and wondered what could be causing it. Thanks to this article I now have a good explanation, and will avoid preservative 220. - Michelle, by email

Most of the time my 5 year old daughter is a nice sweet girl but then sometimes this monster will emerge. When she is in one of these moods she will start grinding her teeth and make monkey type noises and get frustrated very quickly especially with her little brother who has to put up with a lot of punching and intimidation. We get an amount of this behaviour usually everyday but sometimes she will be worse than usual and be completely irrational with inconsolable crying and screaming. When we get one of these more severe episodes we can usually trace it back to something with bright colours like doughnuts with sprinkles etc. After reading your website I have realised that a lot of her staple snack foods have the food colours that have recently been banned in the UK in particular Arnotts country cheese crackers and the Quelch 99% fruit juice Super Doopers which I stupidly thought were healthy choices! - Lyndal, by email

Over the last week we have already seen some improvement (in behaviour, bed wetting and teeth grinding) over the last week just by changing fruits to pears and bananas, stopping vegemite and tomatoes and switching to low sal veges. - Karen, by email

My daughter has had migraines since the age of 3. She has always complained of ‘sore legs’. She has had problems with nasal congestion & had been using Rhinocourt nasal spray daily and has always been a nail biter & a teeth grinder at night. On day 2 of the Amine challenge, she got a migraine,droopy eyes,became listless,and a fever.

She stayed unwell for several days with the headache. During the challenge, she also got a blocked nose, sore tummy, sore nose, nightmares & was badly constipated. Since the end of the Amine challenge (nearly 3 months) we haven’t had one migraine! No more snotty nose or blocked nose, nasal sprays, nightmares, sore tummys, teeth grinding, nail biting - her nails are growing for the 1st time in her life - or sore legs. Soooooooo, No more Amines for my daughter! Since eating failsafe we have never looked back! - Tanya, by email

I would like to relate my experience, which I consider was due to the ingestion of 635. I have in the past had episodes of AF (atrial fibrillation) which vary both in frequency - not thankfully very often - and severity. A couple of weeks ago I had such an attack and had that evening eaten a product called Borg's Chicken & Vegetable rolls. I did not associate these latter with the AF. However we had a few left in the freezer and late yesterday afternoon, I had another.

Last night having gone to bed I awoke about 9 p.m. realising I was having an attack. Various medication I have did not relieve it and the episode lasted for 3 hours. Next morning I examined the Borg's packet and found the 635 ingredient. I would be interested to know whether you have had similar complaints. - Brian, Qld (for similar reports see heart factsheet)

Our Jack Russell terrier was a year old when we got him so I kept giving him the dry dog food his previous owner had used, and like many terriers he always had itchy skin. The vet thought it could be the salt water on his skin from our frequent beach walks. I experimented with rinsing him down in fresh water after a walk, different ointments, shampoos and anti-flea treatments, and changing his diet – everything except for the dry dog food he came with. I kept checking the label and it looked ok. Eventually after two years I removed the dry dog food from his diet and his itchy skin went away within two weeks. I suspect the ‘natural flavour’ in the dry dog food contained flavour enhancers but when I asked the pet food company they gave me a very confusing answer. – Sue, NSW

’Before the diet, I wouldn’t have said my 2 yo had tantrums because his behaviour was more often than not terrible and constant - but I think I am seeing normal tantrums now’. by email, NSW

We were very excited to try A2 yogurt - our 6yo daughter developed stomach pains last year which we finally attributed to dairy, and were very pleased that she responded really well to A2. Our baby son was also super-sensitive to cow's milk, while breastfeeding I had to be on a strict dairy-free diet or he'd be in terrible pain. He's now 18 months and the Jalna A2 yoghurt is his favourite food - no tummy pain at all! We've had to be careful not to overdo it - forgot that it was moderate amines - and he can only have the natural because of the salicylate content in the flavoured ones, but he has it either plain or with maple syrup, and thinks it's the best food ever. - Megan, by email

My allergic rhinitis (stuffy and runny nose, chronic cough, congestion, hayfever during pollen season) appears to be entirely related to A1 but not A2 milk. For the last two years I have enjoyed unlimited A2 milk after 12 years on soymilk.

A failsafe-friendly dietitian reports the use of A2 milk during an elimination diet for a boy with autistic type behaviour: ‘I placed him on a milk-free elimination diet, but allowed A2 milk. He consumed several cups of this per day whilst on the diet. His behaviour, concentration and sense of humour all improved. However, when we challenged with normal milk, concentration etc deteriorated. So it is back to the A2 milk whilst we go through other challenges.'

The dietitian asked my skinny 7 year old son – who tested negative for coeliac disease - to go gluten free and he felt better but lost a lot of weight. Then three months ago we switched to A2 milk and now he is doing really well. He has even been able to go back on gluten.

I am a primary teacher with 3 children of my own. I first heard about your book 'Fed Up' when a student in my class was diagnosed with ADHD and his mother decided to try changing his diet rather than medicating him. The change in this boy was amazing.

I wrote down the details of your book to recommend it to other parents in the future, but ironically I now use your book myself as my six year old has just been diagnosed with ADHD. We had been eating a diet low in artificial additives for years after discovering that my children were reacting to the preservative 282 in bread but have just recently begun failsafe eating after my son's diagnosis. In doing so we discovered that all 3 of our children were reacting to salicylates. Even my 7 year old daughter who had been irritable all the time and difficult to get along with has changed into a happy, co-operative child since changing her diet. We hadn't even realised that she was affected by the natural food chemicals.

Our son who was diagnosed with ADHD has changed so much that at a recent doctor's visit the GP looked at him sitting quietly and said, "He doesn't have ADHD!" The doctor prescribed antibiotics to clear his cough and after one dose of antibiotics (with preservative and flavour) all his symptoms returned. We are now more sure than ever that food is the cause of his behavioural problems.- Cara, NSW

I tested the mince at my local butcher yesterday. I bought the meat at 16.35pm, got home, tested it and the reading was between 180-400mg! It changed colour so quickly to the deepest shade on the side of the test strip container I didn't need to wait 30 seconds to see it change. On a positive note, I went in to Aldi and tested their meat today and it had no discernible change, so I guess I'll buy my meat there. My son takes daily asthma medication and has been sick since I deviated from my expensive organic butcher to the garbage they sell at the local butcher. My son has been on numerous cortisone courses this year as well as daily antihistamines and antibiotics - I couldn't figure out what was causing it until I came across the sulphur dioxide article on your website. I have reported these people to Primesafe (Victorian Government food regulatory body) and I am thinking of pursuing legal action due to the impact it has had on my son, I can't believe I stood at that butcher earlier this year and they lied to me and told me they did not use preservatives in their mince - they were so helpful telling me what did and didn't contain it and how I could get preso free sausages etc. I should have known it was too good to be true. - Tonya, VIC.

I have been receiving your newsletters for several years now and am impressed at the scientific rigour you apply to your research and recommendations. It gives your work significant credibility in this very under-recognised area of clinical practice - a medical doctor, Sydney

I have your Failsafe Cookbook as well as Friendly Food and have already saved money on medication for migraines that I have suffered from all my life and which have just gone away in a matter of weeks. – by email, Qld

After reading your article, I took the time to check the food additives in bread and found 282 in the IGA brand cheap bread, so I thank you for drawing my attention to this. - Silvia, NSW

We’re not ready to start our elimination diet. However we have eliminated honey and peanut butter from our diet and the change over a week was amazing. Our 4 yo daughter became calmer, more animated and happy and she could feel it. - Sarah, NSW

I work with children and I see symptoms of food intolerance all the time. You are really helping to change lives for the better. – Amanda, Vic

I get...really....vague.....with......salicylates......! - mother of three, Adelaide

I don't know where we would be if we hadn't gone down the Failsafe path 5 years ago. - by email, NT

Your books and website are a lifesaver for me and the email groups are brilliant, thank you so much, I would be totally lost without all of this support. – Belinda, Tas

I recently purchased your book The Failsafe Cookbook and this has been a life-saver ... I've now got the freezer stocked with heaps of snacks and meals and stocks and sauces, makes meal time so much easier. You do an amazing job helping all of us "failsafe" families. Thank you! - Jo, by email

"I have to say, ALL children that come to our Failsafe afternoons are really well behaved!! We have more problems with the "normal" kids that visit! - Jenny, NT

What a wonderful network you have created and thank you for having such a wealth of information available on your website. – Briony, by email

635 is the mother of Ribo Rash and in my opinion the worst food additive of all time - Jennifer, Thailand – (more at http://healthybliss.net/the-truth-in-food-labeling-food-additives-to-avoid-hidden-sources-of-msg/ )

When I started to really read food labels, I was horrified by the fact that I was poisoning our whole family - especially with 635 and annatto. Guilt quickly turned into determination to set things moving in a healthier direction and I can already see a vast improvement. – Rose, by email

I wish I had known about food intolerance before - but even if I did, maybe I wouldn't have listened as it wasn't until I saw my daughter start to react that it sparked me into trying to find out what was ailing her. – by email, Qld

I am over my addiction to KFC! I hadn't had it since November last year, then had some last week. Apart from not enjoying the taste at all, I felt quite sickly after one drumstick. My kids didn't like the taste of the nuggets - "please don't make us eat here again". YAY! Score one for the HFC recipe in your book! – Sharon, Vic

I so hope the labelling submission is seriously considered, I feel like I have gained a chemistry degree in the five years we have been Failsafe! In just the last two days I have been approached by another two mums embarking on this journey, and a lot of their questions relate to their confusion over the labelling … numbers vs words along with the issue of unlisted ingredients! – Jenny, NT

I had been trying to convince my husband just to WATCH the DVD for three months, and although he was happy to go additive free, he wasn't keen to go completely failsafe. At the end of the DVD he turned to me and said "I think we have to do it". We're now in week 5 of the elimination diet, with huge changes for the whole family – Tiffany, by email.

My sister borrowed your DVD because her partner has IBS. He had no interest in watching it, so I gave her Sue's advice to put it on when he was around without asking him explicitly to watch it. She did, and within five minutes he was sitting next to her, glued to the screen. Although they haven't yet gone failsafe, he is now reading all labels and making better choices. My sister is lost for words! – by email

We recently bought, received and watched your DVD (all within a week) and absolutely loved it! I also have the books Fed Up and Friendly Food, and would like to get serious with an elimination diet. – by email

My dog had epileptic fits as a puppy and I noticed that they always seemed to occur after giving him scraps from junk food we were eating. McDonalds food in particular seemed to cause him to have fits. The vet dismissed my theory and offered to give my dog a highly toxic barbiturate epilepsy medication. I refused the medication and adopted a wait-and-see approach. I researched the relationship between food additives and epilepsy in children because there was not much information about dogs. I found there was a possible link between preservatives in white bread and epileptic fits in children. Based on this, I banned all artificial colours/flavours and preservatives and my dog went from severely fitting to having no fits at all for the past 4 years. When I told my vet he dismissed my theory that food additives were the cause of my dog's epileptic fits and stated he had simply 'grown out of it'.

About 2 weeks ago I let my dog lick a cup from which I had just finished drinking instant soup. As I was doing it I thought: I shouldn't be letting him have this. I had become complacent because my dog had not had a fit in so many years. Within an hour of licking the cup he had his first epileptic fit in over 4 years. I felt terrible and immediately read the ingredients list. The instant soup contained flavour enhancer 635.

I have no doubt whatsoever that food additives caused the epileptic seizures in my dog. I have no doubt whatsoever that giving him an all natural diet cured his epileptic seizures. I have no doubt whatsoever that flavour enhancer 635 caused his recent seizure.

The information on your site confirmed that I was on the right track with my treatment of his seizures. Without sites like yours I would be faced with the dismissive attitude of my vet and my dog may have spent a lifetime on toxic medication for no reason. As it is - I have returned to a strictly natural diet for my dog and he has not had another seizure since. I would never risk poisoning him again with these additives and I hope my experience helps someone else. – Pamela, by email

Just looking over your website, you are missing one major side effect of 282 in adults - acne. I am a 50 yo adult and I always get a breakout if I eat a bread product containing 282, either because it was in fast food and not tagged (McDonalds use it, KFC and Hungry Jacks don't) or because the label did not show it. – Ric, NSW

I have been having a reaction to Aldi’s Vegetable Flavour Stock cubes. I am basically on a fresh healthy diet but stock cubes were my one weakness and I thought not that bad as they state "No Added MSG". I now know this is rubbish. Every time I cook with these my shoulders would ache all night and into the next morning and I would also get a headache. I finally worked out that it was linked to the stock cubes. The ingredients include Yeast Extract, and Flavour Enhancers 627 & 631. - Deb, by email

My five-year-old daughter's two years of snoring escalated a few months ago to sleep apnea. After three weeks of apnea, I consulted two doctors and then decided to feed her only natural foods - nothing out of a package of any kind. After six days, her apnea was gone. After about a month, her snoring was minimal. After two months she rarely snores. Tonight, after feeding her corn tortillas - with preservatives - for dinner, she fell asleep and immediately began snoring.

It was the second doctor, a GP, who noticed her swollen tonsils (I hadn't) and said there was no infection but that they were chronically swollen. After I asked if he thought it could be a reaction to contact with processed foods - because she gets a rash on her face after contact with various sauces - he replied "possibly" and that the darkness under her eyes was a sign of allergies. That was when I decided to take her off all packaged foods on my own until we could have an appointment with an allergist - usually a 2 to 6-month wait here.

We saw a Pediatric Allergist two days ago and she was tested for all the standard things like milk, soy, wheat, dust, cat, dog, etc. and was fine. The allergist suggested she may be sensitive to sulphites because I am allergic to sulpha drugs.

Her face has always turned red exactly where any sauces and liquids out of packages touched her cheeks and mouth. Kraft salad dressings, Heinz ketchup, and canned apple pie filling, plus pear cooler which dribbled over her bare tummy have all cause the redness. I figured that the swollen tonsils - like golf balls - were her internal skin's reaction to a food sensitivity because of how we saw her external skin reacting.

Before removing additives, my daughter's face was always a little chubby-looking with a double chin, although she wasn't chubby. It was the swollen tonsils that were causing the double chin. Now she is more normal in appearance without chubby cheeks and an oversized swollen tongue [macroglossia] that made her speak oddly. Even her voice is no longer nasal. My friends used to comment that she sounded like she had an accent. She also had darkness under her eyes. She is very blond with blue eyes and she always had pinkish-purple bags under her eyes. They are now gone along with her snoring right through the night!

Also, her defiant behaviour really improved and she is far more peaceful after I was able to be very strict with her "no packaged foods" diet. We now have real butter and cream in our house. I make our bread and ice cream too.

I am relieved not to have to put my daughter through surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids, which is very common with children who have apnea. I feel strongly that everyone involved in a child's health should do all they can to find the cause of the symptoms rather than just treat the symptom by removing the tonsils. - Maree, Canada

Thanks to your website, I am on my way to eliminating my three year old son’s behavioural issues. After looking at the list of additives to be avoided, my husband and I cleared out our pantry and found a nomination for nasty food awards - Continental Chicken flavoured rice. The front of the packet claims to have NO artificial colours or flavours and NO added MSG (obviously to make you think you’re making the right choice for your family), however the ingredients listed flavour enhancer (635)!!! – Andrea, by email

After cutting out all the nasties in our food, we have noticed a huge change in our little boy after only a week. I was at a loss with how to handle him, and wondering where I had gone wrong (I haven't had this problem with my other two children) until I found your website. Now he is an adorable child and I have even had strangers commenting on how well behaved he is!!!! I have told my sister (who also has three children), our daycare centre and our maternal and child health nurse about your website to get the word out!!! - Tony by email

My 5-year-old son has been kept completely free of preservatives, flavours, flavour enhancers and colours for just over 12 months to control behaviour and it has worked wonderfully!

Recently, he had a temperature so I very hesitantly gave him Colour Free Panadol (and only the minimum dose.) Oh my God what a nightmare! Since giving it to him, he went back to his pre diet ways, crying non stop, angry, and rages for the stupidest reasons - completely irrational. It took 4½ horrible days to get out of his system. We had periods where he lay there and would hit, kick and throw anything he could get his hands on, till he would wear himself out - not a nice thing to witness - and of course the night terrors that he had in the past returned. I am reminded of how much of a nightmare my life was prior to going additive-free. Yet other than being highly food sensitive he is a perfectly healthy, intelligent 5-year-old.

Are there any other options for reducing a child’s temperature that will not result in him going crazy for days afterwards? (Katie, by email – and see Q&A)

I know that you and your group are petitioning for food labels to be specific with regards to all ingredients. I would also like to see this extended to all medications.

My 10 year old son is autistic. Diet (additive, salicylate, amine and dairy free) is an enormous help, but it is not the only solution to all our problems and he is also on medication. We recently swapped over to Lovan, an anti-depressant, and were having terrible behavior. Once I did a full MIMS search on it (only accessible to health professionals), I found that it contained either peppermint and aniseed oil (tablets) or two artificial colours (capsules). I suspect the behavior was due to the cocktail of unlisted ingredients, rather than the drug being a failure. Our paediatrician was quite impressed with the fact that I figured it out; he often prescribes the dispersible tablets, and had not even thought of what the ingredients might be.

We have changed over to Fluohexal (one of the generics) capsules, which we take out of the capsule case and mix with syrup, so that way we have no problems with the colours in the capsule case. We are also trialling Ritalin, which as I found out today, contains lactose! Why do they still use lactose as a filler!!!!! Surely there are alternatives!

I can understand that capsule cases etc have to be coloured, as this helps with identification of drugs when not in their original containers. I just want clear labeling on boxes, including if there is gluten or lactose in the formulation. by email, Qld

I have an 8-year-old daughter, who I put on the failsafe eating when she was 6 due to extreme irritability, moodiness, anxiety, nightmares, night waking etc. It worked amazingly within 2 weeks. We had our little girl back, she was so much calmer, compliant, more focused and so much nicer to be around. Even her teacher at the time said "I have never seen a result like that without drugs". She seems to react to many things, however, salicylates, amines and glutamates are the main culprits. – Jane, by email

My son Jack, now aged 4, was a great baby, he slept 18 hours a day and was joy to be around except that he would not use his bowels for days and days. We took him to doctor after specialist after scan and no-one knew why. In the end the only way we could get him to use his bowels was to medicate him every day.

Also at about 6 months (at the time of introduction of solids) Jack started head-butting the cot. Honestly I am not exaggerating when I tell you that he had golf ball sized lumps on his forehead – again more scans, tests and drs. No-one knew why. The professionals told me to take him out of a cot and put him into a bed so he couldn’t forward head-butt. Great Idea – he then proceeded to get out of bed and backward head-butt the wall. I have holes in the gyprock in the wall where he would head-butt his way through the gyprock. One night it was that hard the hinges in the door popped out. My neighbours could hear it and if I was on the phone people could hear it. It would mainly happen during the night or when he woke up from a day sleep. People told me he was hot, cold, tired, not stimulated enough, over stimulated, lonely blah blah blah.

I decided none of the professionals were helping so I decided one by one to withdraw foods from his diet. I started with dairy – I removed 95% of the dairy form his diet – I allowed him 1 cup of milk and 1 yoghurt a day and this showed a massive improvement, he would use his bowels without medication - it still required a lot of effort on his part but hey it was better than medication and the headbutting decreased. I took yoghurt off him and amazingly enough my happy little man returned. At the time I did not realise the importance of this find (that there was annatto in his favourite yoghurt).

One year later I gave him his favourite vanilla yoghurt with 160B in it and OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was up on all 4s rocking all night headbutting the pillow moaning and the next morning he woke up with a headache. We let it go a week and then we tried it with icecream and he was the same only this time he was reverse headbutting the wall like he used to do when he was a baby. – Nicolle, NSW

From about 12 months of age, my son developed intermittent spots, rashes and blotches on his face and around his mouth. On 3 occasions he swelled up in the face, neck and hands (twice at daycare, once at home). We took him to an allergist who told us it was intolerances, gave us a list of additives to avoid, and told us he would outgrow it. The only additive that I could definitely identify at the time was 160b. Each time he ate it he would get develop a rash or tiny spots around his mouth and the blotches would return. Interestingly, at the same time, he also would bang his head in frustration on the floor. It was usually as part of a tantrum, he would drop to the floor and bang his head. He had a permanent bruise in the middle of his forehead for several months (see photo – it’s really a bruise upon bruise upon bruise, from banging his head on the floor!) I cannot say for sure if the headbanging stopped at exactly the same time as we eliminated 160b, because I never associated them together, but am now thinking it was related.

As it turned out, the allergist was wrong and he did not outgrow his intolerances, they just manifested in a different way and he became a very difficult child around 2.5 years of age... At 3 years of age we went additive free for 6 weeks, and while this did help, it was not enough, so we have now been failsafe since Oct 2007. He is very sensitive to sals, sensitive to amines and cannot tolerate some additives. – by email, Vic

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: annattobruise01

My son is 2 and spent approx 18 mths headbanging. I can’t say for sure, but it could possibly have been approx the time we removed 160b from his diet that he stopped. I removed 160b along with the other additives you recommend avoiding to help manage my son’s behaviour. It has seemed to work very well. Adjusting his diet has made being a parent so much more enjoyable and I would like to thank you for this.

We removed the 160b (and all the other additives) approx 5 -6 months ago. We had a major relapse at Easter. This confirmed my suspicions and made my husband realise that the food additives did affect our child.

On looking back, our son stopped headbanging around this time, but I can’t say whether it was as a result of the changed diet or not. I didn't realise until seeing your talk a few weeks ago, the headbanging could be related to 160b. The foods my son ate that contained 160b were cheese slices, margarine and yoghurt. I’m sure there would have been others, but these are the ones he ate every (or almost every) day. – Heather, by email

My two year old daughter was banging her head about ten times per day. I was giving her ‘no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives’ yoghurt but I didn’t know to avoid annatto. When I changed to a different brand (no annatto), she only had one episode of head banging in the next two days. – by email, NT

I am a fan of your work and have been looking at the Head Banging information, I am going to make sure we avoid 160b because I think that causes my 3 year old son to do head banging. My son has been eating custard, yoghurt (I have switched to the Jalna brand this week), and ice cream (home ice-cream treasure troves, lots of colours in it, so stopped them). He would generally have custard or yoghurt in the morning and either ice-cream, custard or yoghurt around 5pm.

I have taken 160b out of his diet, which I will do for a few weeks and then re-introduce it to see what happens. His head banging can be to put him to sleep and during the night and very early in the morning, approx 5am. He banged his head in his cot, which was probably around the time he started eating solids, custard and baby yoghurt.

Since avoiding annatto and artificial colours his head banging incidents have lessened. He has had one head banging incident this week around 5am in the morning on Thursday morning so he may have had something at child care that caused it. They do have Yoplait yoghurt on alternate days, so they would have had it on Wednesday morning. – Caryn, by email

We adopted our son from Russia two years ago (he is now three). He is sensory seeking and delayed in speech. We have only recently uncovered a link between his food and behavior, particularly with Annatto. It makes him hyper, sleepless, defiant, irritable, and a body banger against furniture (not limited to head banging), starting within 1-2 hours and lasting up to 24 hours.

Our son had been seeing an occupational therapist 2x's per month for sensory seeking behaviors. The OT recommended looking into a link between nutrition and behavior. We met with an allergist first. Her tests proved negative for protein allergies. She suggested that we start saving food labels any time we suspected reactions and compare them for common ingredients. The first food we noticed was Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish Crackers. Our son was very stimulated and not able to nap. I saw Annatto listed and wondered what it was. I did an internet search and found your website and others. The next time I saw a reaction, Annatto was in the peach yogurt I had fed him. On this particular day at naptime, he sat backwards in his rocking chair and banged it continually into the wall.

We started the Feingold program here in the U.S. and, as you probably know, it does not address Annatto so we eliminated Annatto as well. Our son's issues decreased within the first week. He was less hyper, more compliant, and able to sleep better, except for one noticeable withdrawal episode - his first on-the-floor kicking temper tantrum. My favorite result to cite is when I asked him to put books away. He answered "Okay, Mama" and did it right away. This is the sweet little boy who was there all along. I hate the idea that the foods I thought were good for him were causing him to misbehave and causing me frustration. We are happy to be Annatto-free now.

We are finding it hard to identify products with Annatto since it is not always stated by name or number in the ingredients list. We are learning to stay away from products with "natural flavors & colors" even if Feingold approved. There are many products that we have since cut out of his diet after discovering the Annatto link.

Changing our son's food and skin care products was easier than I ever imagined. He hardly notices, except for the times I have to say no to certain foods that do not have good things in them for him. It does take extra effort but it is well worth it. Still, I look forward to the day when the food-behavior link is widely accepted, forcing companies to eliminate these harmful additives from our supermarket shelves. by email, USA

I have 2 boys, aged 3 and 1 who both react badly to annatto. About half an hour after our 3 year old has had something with annatto in he is uncontrollable, agitated, full of energy, really full on. Hyperactive is how someone has described it.

I had read about annatto by chance and at first didn’t think much of it but I mentioned it to my husband who said he reacted to red and yellow colours as a child so I stopped buying anything with 160b in it. I can’t say I noticed anything for a while but one day we had dinner at a friend’s place and our 3 yo was offered some ice cream. I didn’t think to check it. Within half an hour our son was a nightmare. Kicking, screaming, purposefully doing things to annoy/upset us, refusing to sleep and thrashing out etc. My husband and I were shocked - what had happened to our child? Suddenly the penny dropped and I called to ask if the ice cream had 160b in it - it did! Since then we’ve also seen reactions to cheese, custard and yoghurt (at daycare until I asked not to give annatto to him). – Silvia, NSW

More Articles ...

  1. [906] 160b: Restless legs and sleep disturbance (June 2010)
  2. [905] 160b: Screaming, angry, yelling, defiant and hysterical (June 2010)
  3. [904] 160b: Sneaky poos reaction to McDonalds Soft Serve (June 2010)
  4. [903] 160b: Attraction to the colour yellow (June 2010)
  5. [902] One-liners (February 2010)
  6. [901] Has his sights on the Olympic games (February 2010) COURAGE AWARD
  7. [900] Asthma: from one hospital admission a week to one every 8-12 months (February 2010)
  8. [899] Really bad eczema in baby (February 2010)
  9. [898] Wow!!!! sums up effects of diet on tics (February 2010)
  10. [897] 9 year update: From typical ‘naughty’ 4yo boy to different kid (February 2010)
  11. [896] 635: Rash due to 635 in seasoning and skin of BBQ chicken (February 2010)
  12. [895] 621: Lifelong severe migraines due to MSG and other flavour enhancers (February 2010)
  13. [894] 621: MSG headaches in an 8 year old (February 2010)
  14. [893] Middle hear hearing loss and food intolerance (February 2010)
  15. [892] Wild and extremely violent behaviour due to undiagnosed coeliac disease (February 2010)
  16. [891] Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) due to food (February 2010)
  17. [890] 160b: Head banging and annatto (February 2010)
  18. [889] 160b: Sooky (complaining, whingeing, sad) behaviour after annatto (February 2010)
  19. [888] 160b: Defiant, teary, mega tantrums after annatto (February 2010)
  20. [887] 160b: Behavioural reaction to vitamins with annatto (February 2010)
  21. [886] 160b: Totally hyperactive due to annatto in cereal (February 2010)
  22. [885] One-liners (November 2009)
  23. [884] 160b: Marlene's story: annatto 160b and IBS (November 2009)
  24. [883] Ulcerative colitis and diet (November 2009)
  25. [882] 160b: Yet another report of annatto and irritable bowel symptoms (extract from [464])