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

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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

At various times over recent months I have suffered with restless legs and a disturbed night’s sleep. Today I decided to investigate the ingredients of the fish fingers we had for dinner last night, and found that they contained 160b. I believe that this colour is most likely the cause of my restless legs and sleep disturbance. I will therefore be avoiding it at all costs in the future.

… One month later …Since I’ve stopped eating the fish fingers I’ve had no more restless legs. I’m convinced that it is the 160b causing them. I’ve since eaten the fish fingers without the batter and had no ill effects.

I’ve noticed that 160b is in so many foods. Bulla’s mini icecreams too. What a pity. They claim to be free of artificial flavours and colours, but still contain the natural colour 160b.I was hoping to give them to my kids until I read the ingredients list.

Many times in past years I have suffered with restless legs at night and hadn’t known what caused them. Perhaps it was 160b then as well. I wasn’t taking any notice of what was in my food then. Thank-you for such informative and helpful reading. – Sue C, NSW

Our journey through the numbers maze has recently brought us face to face with 160b. We have discovered through accidental trial and error that our 5 year old daughter who can be the most bright, fun, playful and intelligent little girl can be reduced to a little monster by this “natural” additive. It is so horrible to watch. When I know that she has had something with 160b, we wait for the ticking time bomb. It is usually anywhere from a few hours later it starts and can last for a day or more ... she turns into a screaming, angry, yelling, defiant and hysterical little girl. It breaks my heart. She knows why she gets like that, but there is no reasoning with her when she is in that place. We just wait for her to fall asleep ... only to wake up in the morning like a bear with a sore head.

We first became aware of 160b about a year and a half ago. Custard was the culprit. My mum was staying with us at the time and she was amazed as well when we found out that the custard was the link to her behaviour. She would have the custard at night as dessert and hey presto in the morning the grumpy bum would awake. Cranky, whingey, defiant and tantrums. It would take around about 24 hours for her to come back to us! Ice cream is another one. Every Sunday we would all go down and get icecreams ... same thing (of course this is all in hindsight). Monday morning our alter ego/grumpy daughter would wake up and it would take until about Wednesday to get back to some sort of normalcy only to repeat the cycle again the following Sunday. Now we buy the Peters vanilla icecream and natural icecream cones without colour and have our Sunday icecreams at home. – Sarah B, NSW

It seems every time after Soft Serve Ice cream my 8 yo daughter has sneaky poos. Even when we tried it yesterday without the cone. She gets them about an hour after the ice cream. - Alison, Qld (annatto has since been removed from the McDonalds Soft Serves)

My 6 and a half year old daughter has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Since about 6 months of age, we have given her those kids yoghurts that you buy in 6 packs with the kids themes like Nemo and Bob the builder. We thought that because she wouldn’t drink milk we needed to give her a dairy substitute, and that they would suffice.

While being a generally placid child since birth, she displayed difficulty concentrating on tasks, a great attraction to the colour yellow, meltdowns at times such as leaving a friend’s house or upon being denied a request, sneaky poos, bedwetting, and poor fine motor skills. She was assessed as having a severe speech delay when 3 and a half. Her drawing was at best scribbling in a general area, and she had great problems following dotted outlines of alphabet letters. She displayed very poor short term memory, and repetitive behaviours. She was also wanting food all the time, although she is not overweight. She only drinks water, has never eaten confectionery, has ice cream on the odd occasion, but otherwise generally eats rice bubbles, weetbix, watermelon, grapes, apples, pears, occasionally custard, and plain biscuits. Dinner is usually either rice, pasta or mashed potato with steamed veggies and fish, chicken or beef with no added sauces.

Recently we were made aware of your book and in particular, the adverse effects of the 160b colouring additive. Upon reading up about it in the book, we also looked at the fed up website where we noticed the link to PDD-NOS. After reading some of the testimonials and realising that many of the other parent’s experiences were sounding familiar, we decided to eliminate 160b from her diet.

We initially stopped the kids’ yoghurts, which she had been having up to 5 a day, on 22 February 2009. Within about 4 or 5 days her drawing had improved remarkably, she could follow dotted lines correctly, her concentration to tasks jumped, not one meltdown occurred, her sneaky poos stopped, bedwetting reduced, and her speech started to improve noticeably. After noticing these improvements, we then looked at the rest of her diet and switched to Brumbys bread, eliminated anything else that we thought had 160b such as custard, switched to A2 or Jersey mik, and stopped using fabric conditioner. We have noticed over the last month that she seems to have matured noticeably, is more compliant, and is more focussed on cognitive tasks. Her teachers and tutors have all noticed a dramatic improvement in her learning ability. She no longer seeks food constantly, has lost her attraction to the colour yellow, has mostly stopped her repetitive behaviour, and her short term memory is markedly better. In fairness, we also started a reward scheme to help stop the sneaky poos at about the same time. However, she is a bit unique in that except for the 160b element, she was virtually following a failsafe style diet already. So we have been quite surprised that it seems that removing 160b has had a dramatic effect for her. -Sharon, Qld

I've just found your Fed Up website and want to say how amazing I think it is. I was put on the Friendly Food diet from the Royal Prince Alfred and it has helped ... thanks for all your hard work. I feel like I've discovered a gold mine. It’s like finding friends who actually understand what you're talking about - Aviva, NSW

Failsafe gave me the freedom to live and enjoy what weren't hard kids to enjoy, just challenging at times. My best moment would be when our 4 yo trouble child sat with a recently broken arm, very tired waiting for panadol and dinner, quietly no whingeing and playing a game of junior scrabble with his brother.- Karen, Qld

Thanks a million for all your work - our family would not function without you! – Lisa, by email

Our dietitian only recommended Friendly Food as a cook book and although it is a lovely cook book for adults, it is next to useless for young families. Her comment on the Failsafe Cookbook was that she didn't really know it (ie knew of it, but hadn't looked at it). I wonder how many families go through her doors and come out feeling hopeless regarding ideas for practical cooking - by email

My 2 yo daughter and I are still on the diet (12 months now) and are doing really well. As time goes on I am increasingly coming to terms with accepting that this diet works wonders for me and it is simply what I have to stick to - by email, Vic

We began our Failsafe journey 3 years ago. My now 9 year old was 18 months when the doctors first made the suggestion that he should be medicated. I flat out refused to medicate a little baby, and advised the doctors that food was triggering his extreme behaviour. On almost every occasion I was either laughed at or made to feel a fool and told that 'food doesn't alter behaviour' - this was despite the fact that he already been diagnosed with anaphylaxis to eggs and a severe dairy allergy and suffered chronic reflux as a baby, and I myself had suffered food intolerance for many years - this went on for nearly 6 years ...

As I wasn't particularly well versed in the ways of the internet and had no idea where to turn, I took things on myself, taking a common sense approach to removing things from my son’s diet - if he went 'crazy', the food was removed and replaced with something else that didn't make him 'crazy'... We discovered that wheat was a major player in triggering offensive, violent and extremely hyperactive behaviour and insomnia ... so that was removed, and my son has been wheat free for nearly 9 years now. Whilst the wheat free diet took the edge off his severe behaviors, he was still an unpleasant, uncontrollable child and we tried many disciplinary techniques, play techniques, putting him in sports, we had his eyes and hearing checked and still had no answers.

His severe reflux started again at 6 years old, and once again doctors wanted to treat the symptoms and not determine the cause ... I went along with what the doctors wanted, but the reflux medication appeared to exacerbate the behavioural symptoms. We dealt with the behaviours as they reared their ugly heads, but in addition to the reflux, my son then continued to get more and more physiological symptoms, such as rashes, vomiting, and severe hayfever - I knew this certainly wasn't normal - and he was beginning to have random and bizarre allergic reactions and I had absolutely no idea what he was reacting to. The culmination of these allergic reactions ended up with an anaphylactic reaction, to what has since been determined as an allergy to red meat.

Unfortunately it took an anaphylactic reaction to have to doctors send me in the right direction. We saw a paed who prescribed adrenalin and promptly sent us on to an immunologist ... who explained to us that allergies and food intolerance often go hand in hand. Following all the usual tests and discussing at length my son’s behavioural issues we were sent to an accredited dietitian for help and to be placed on an elimination diet.

We found the most amazing dietitian, who was very supportive and was very eager to help. Once I knew what the problem might be, I began my research as well ... and that is where I discovered the fed up website. On the elimination diet and the subequent food challenges, we have since discovered that my son is completely intolerant to wheat, completely intolerant to amines, completely intolerant to glutamates, colours and preservatives and we have discovered that certain brands of shampoos, toothpaste and hair products trigger negative behaviour, he also has a milder intolerance to salicylates, but we are very strict with what he does have. Luckily, he has grown out of his dairy and egg allergies, which makes the preparation of food that little bit easier.

My son went from a child who slept no more than 3-4 hours a night, couldn't sit still, was compulsive, aggressive, insolent, destructive, hyperactive, would make constant noises, had severe reflux, had eczema, has issues at school with book work and reading, etc, to a child who is pleasant, well mannered, focused and actually sleeps. And it was with the advent of the new diet/lifestyle that we also discovered that my son has quite a talent for sport.

Before the diet, my son didn't have the attention span to stay between the white lines on a running track or didn't think he had to wait for the starter’s gun in a running or swimming race. Within the first 6 months of the lifestyle change he went on to represent his school in swimming and athletics, in the next year he went onto represent at regional level and last year competed at state level in swimming, cross country and athletics, for both the school and at club level. And this year, as a 9 year old, my son has already broken records on the athletics track and is on is way to breaking more records in the pool ... he has his sights firmly on the Olympic games in 2020, he just isn't sure which sport he wants to compete in!!

I find that his discipline in his chosen sport helps to keep him disciplined in his diet, and I am very honest and blunt in explaining to him what is in the foods that he wants to eat and why he can’t eat other stuff. We are about to begin meeting with our dietitian again to ensure that he is receiving adequate nutrition to sustain the endurance that he requires for his sports and to ensure that he is receiving adequate protein for proper muscle development.

People are often perplexed as to how a child who 'misses out' on so much food can be quite so athletic ... I explain to them that the food he doesn't eat actually enables his sporting and academic ability, but sadly, most people can't understand that concept. They can't understand why my son simply drinks water and eats an apple and some rice cakes or a chicken sandwich after a race when every other kid at a swim meet is eating a chocolate bar or drinking a powerade or the newest fad - pouring honey all over a banana to 'restore their energy'.

We still have bad days, and find peer pressure a constant issue, but as a family we are positive towards all facets of my son's limited diet and I am constantly inventing new and interesting things to eat! - Belinda, NSW

I have been meaning to write for ages to thank you for the Fed Up work and for the wonderful contacts. I am seeing your recommended dietitian. Previous to changing to a low chemical diet our baby has suffered from really bad eczema since 3 months of age, has been to hospital twice and wet wrapping once. Now he has a small patch under his chin only when I eat a suspect food (shallots, golden syrup etc) and that is all! I am a complete convert and find the Fed Up and RPA books wonderful. It is so hard not to run up to strangers with eczema kids to tell them to at least trial modifying diet to low chemical.

The dietitian is wonderful and very encouraging. I am still able to breast feed our baby, and we are alternating challenging him through my diet and adding a new food for him. He now eats rice and choko, and I am challenging soy first. The limitations are tough, especially around this time of year, but so worth it for happy healthy children! Thank you, thank you, thank you.... - Natalie, Sydney.

(At the start) We have an appointment with your recommended dietitian in 2 weeks, which can't come quick enough. Our 9-year-old son has had (with hindsight) intermittent tics for the last couple of years. Last weekend he was so agitated and had particularly bad tics which seemed to follow him having an ice cone with some terrible colouring/flavouring over it which someone bought him with the best intentions! Traditionally, we have always had plenty of fruit and veg and I think has contributed also. A trip to the GP resulted in being told they were habits which we should ignore and if they hadn't gone in 2 months to go back.

So, we started failsafe last weekend and are now on day 7 having had him off school with a cough, cold and generally irritable. Things improved loads today until a friend of his gave him a starburst earlier this evening at the village movies and within an hour at the most he was incredibly twitchy...is it possible for him to have such an immediate reaction to something?..then improve within a couple of hours?

We have gone through thoughts of Tourette's syndrome, some of the symptoms he seems to have - sniffing, twitching, vocal tics, though the GP said this was unlikely ... he was definitely agitated tonight though we don't know if it was due to the noise / busyness of the place or could have been the starburst. His favourite foods are orange juice, olives, mushrooms, salami all of which have been eliminated, and we are thinking salicylates maybe the culprit ...

(12 days later) Just a quick update on things, it's been an interesting week! Our son's tics had been improving, but he had a terrible cough and kept spiking temps so he is now on antibiotics for a chest infection, and is improving cough/temp wise but his tics seem to have really worsened again. Looking at the ingredients on his meds, it's reassuring to think we are on the right track. We have managed to stick to the elimination diet and he has been really good at chomping his sprouts etc ... not enthusiastically ... but eating them!

(After 5 weeks) Thought it time I put an email together to update you on our son's progress !... wow!!!! sums it up nicely! We have been to see the dietitian twice now and are fine tuning our failsafe eating. I would say he is 80% improved, hardly any physical tics, occasional vocals and bed wetting is still a problem but we are hoping with the fine tuning we may be able to help that. He is more focused on homework, even doing extra to catch up!! It has been a revelation and continues to be so, my husband has lost weight (it needed to go!)and his BP has dropped to normal limits so everyone is better all round.

(After 6 months) Another update! Things all went a bit off track a few months ago and I think the pressure of everything all got a bit too much, especially for our son. However, with the relapse in diet the tics returned and so we have gone failsafe again but without the pressure and fuss this time. Meals out and parties are relaxed and he can have whatever is on offer! Most of the time we are failsafe at home without anyone really realising it ... it has become a way of life! Plus the tics have disappeared which is reassuring to know that we are doing the right thing. Another trigger we are almost 100% sure of is scented candles, we had one of these in the lounge around the time of the return of the tics!

I cannot thank you enough for all the info you and Sue have put together, your books and Friendly Food have to be the most well thumbed books in our house! – Amanda, by email.

When my son was in 4yo kinder, 9 years ago (he is now 13) we thought he was a typical “naughty” 4yo boy - hyperactive, restless, all the common symptoms of additive overload. I did my homework and came across “Fed Up”. It was like you wrote the book about him. We followed the detox diet and within a week he was a different kid. To this day we still eat following your guidelines. I wish other parents and schools would see the light. – Kirstin, Vic

My son recently reacted very badly with intense itching and a pimply pustule-like rash to the food additive flavour enhancer 635 - which I did not even know we'd been exposed to until after the event - by eating a store-bought seasoned BBQ chicken. I phoned the store, and they said they use the 635 in the seasoning and in a powder they sprinkle over the skin for flavouring. - Deb, Brisbane

I have suffered from bad migraines nearly all of my life. My mother said I was only about 4 when they started (or when I could tell them my head hurt).

I used to have about 4-5 per month, usually lasting 1-3 days. They always start with my vision going first. If it goes in the right eye, the pain will be on the left and vice versa, after that comes I get extreme pain and vomiting. I cannot stand to be touched or be around any noise or light, even dull light, the vision usually rights itself in about 3 hours, I have to lie still in a quiet and dark room with a washer on my head. I've been on various medications over the years and had my GP sent me for an MRI last year when my vision in my left eye didn't restore itself for 5 days.

When we put the kids on failsafe eating, I followed it in front of the kids but not at work etc. I decided to go failsafe and challenge myself when I realised there was something to the foods we are eating these days, after what I'd seen with the kiddies. I didn't get any symptoms when challenging with amines, salicylates etc, but found it's only when I eat things like flavoured chips, noodles, those bouillon stock cubes, ham and processed meats and foods like that. HVP is certainly one of the things that set my migraines off.

I have eaten several things while I was challenging and I'd always end up without fail with a migraine, so it is most definitely the food or what is in the foods.

Just before Christmas I ate some noodles from our local noodle bar that opened up, I phoned them and asked if they use MSG, they said no, I should have asked if they used any flavour enhancers and/or MSG, I ended up off work for 2 days and had to get a colleague to take the kids to before school care and my husband to pick them up. When I phoned them back and asked if they use flavour enhancers, they after some prodding, said yes they did, "but it was legal". I assured them I knew it was legal, but they should disclose that to their customers.

I'm sure these people don't realise that people who suffer from migraines suffer from disturbed vision, extreme headaches, vomiting or nausea, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity and it impacts on all who are around them, you can't move, you can't do anything with the kids, you can't work, you can't drive, you can't cook, you effectively are incapacitated by the migraine until it subsides.

I've decided to eat exactly what the kids eat, I've explained to my colleagues at work and they are totally fine with it, I just take my lunch when we go out now, and if the restaurant or pub bucks up, like a certain one did just last week, about me taking my own food, the other 18 of them stand up as if to leave and say "fine, we'll take our business elsewhere, she has dietary issues". It's great support. They backed down last week, it was great!!! - Kylie, NSW

My 8 yo granddaughter was getting headaches three times a week or more. Sometimes they were so bad she had to take time off school and lie down. After we watched your DVD we looked at what she was eating and realised the headaches came after she ate pies, party pies, flavoured noodles - anything with flavour enhancers. So we stopped eating them. Now we know - if she doesn't eat flavour enhancers, she doesn't get headaches. - Terry, NSW

I’m wondering about the link between food intolerance and middle ear hearing loss in children. Our children have been on the diet for about 6 weeks (Friendly Food with modifications under allergist's advice), and there have been many positive improvements in their health. We were already largely artificial additives free.

My five year old had tested with mild hearing loss (middle ear) in both ears prior to starting the diet. We went to the ENT for the first time after 4 weeks on the diet, he cleaned her ears and re-tested her, and she showed up as having perfect hearing. There had been no other health issue at her previous two tests (eg. no cold or infection).

The ENT said all the improvement was due to the removal of wax. The audiometrist had previously said the wax was not a problem.

I'm willing to admit the cleaning of her ears had something to do with it, but the improvement in her behaviour and speech prior to this happening tells me there could be a diet effect as well. Whatever, we are thrilled that our little girl can hear properly now, although she did say that sounds are "too loud" now.

We are now fully convinced that the diet is the best way for us to eat, and our children love the changes to their health. But it does tend to become a major part of life!! Thanks for your great work and the site. – Melody, by email

Three years ago I stood in the bookshop with 'Fed Up' in my hand debating whether to part with $20. Your book has repaid itself a thousandfold. I send my heartfelt thanks.

My youngest son's problems are a long saga, suffice to say that eliminating additives and low amines as suggested by your book provided the answer for some time. Then at nearly nine, out of the blue, he had some sort of breakdown. The teacher suggested Asperger's but he soon became worse - quite autistic, wild and extremely violent. He was off school for three months. The doctors I approached turned their backs on me. I couldn't believe it. I can only think they thought that as he already had a disability (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) it was part and parcel of the condition and didn't realise how extreme his behaviour was. I insisted that he be screened for a variety of degenerative diseases, but they came back negative.

Finally realising that no one else "gave a stuff", I turned back to your book. If it was diet before, then maybe, it's diet again, I thought. I tried eliminating salicylates, he got worse; I tried wheat, no change; I tried dairy no change. Eventually I tried eliminating both dairy and wheat and he improved.

He spent two years on a wheat free, dairy free, no additive, careful about amine diet and he could manage if he had a small dose of Ritalin 5mg breakfast, 5mg at lunch as well. Our lives were back on track, he was progressing at school, having a go at different sports, and excelling in his favourite sport. But it was all because of the ritalin - and diet.

Without the medication it was still like living with a drunk - he could be fun sometimes, but more often silly and tiresome, and aggressive too often. I always felt that the child that he had been was still there deep down, intact and undamaged, although why I believed it, I don't know. In November when he turned 11, I contemplated the thought that maybe he did have irreversible minor brain damage, but I couldn't accept the notion.

Then, by chance ("Mum, I don't want Rye bread this morning, I want Rice cereal") we realised it was the GLUTEN. I never suspected it, because I'd known a baby who nearly died of coeliac disease and the symptoms were quite different from my son's. I followed up your footnote in Fed Up and read Professor Duggan's article in the Aust. Med.Journal. My son was diagnosed withCoeliac disease a month ago and I am absolutely delighted by his response to the gluten free diet.

As you can see I am much indebted to you. It was only fine reading of your book that has helped me tease out my son's difficulties. I shudder to think where he'd be now (at a special school, I'm sure) if it hadn't been for your persistence in acquiring all this knowledge and for passing it on - Anne, Qld


I had previously been to the doctors on a few occasions regarding a problem I had with excessive sweating. I would hop out of the shower and dry only to be literally dripping with sweat. It didn't matter what I did I couldn't find any relief from the sweating. The doctor advised me to use a very strong anti-perspirant, but I have enough problems with supermarket products!

When I went onto black coffees I noticed a gradual decline in the amount of excessive sweating. I went back to white coffees and lo and behold: excessive sweating again!! I have noticed that since switching to rice milk, my cravings for cheese, etc, have reduced. –Nicole, SA

I have removed the additive 160b from my 2 year olds diet and had the most amazing result. A friend attended one of your talks, came to work the next day and told me about the additive 160b because of my daughter’s head banging - mainly on all fours and banging the forehead on the ground, sometimes against a wall, but not often, mainly the floor. I then proceeded to check the foods I gave her and eliminated anything with this additive in it. Within 1 week the head banging stopped. She would get in the position when have a tantrum, but there was no head banging. After four months with not having this in her diet, by accident, she had 3 teaspoons of custard (at Grandma’s) and was head banging within 1/2hr. I think this is proof enough for me that this additive is the cause. – by email, NSW (described by the friend in story #583)

When I first started eliminating additives I noticed the change in behaviour of my two year old daughter and her five year old brother after eating 160b. They would both be very 'sooky' for want of a better word. The slightest thing would have them cry and get all emotional. I noticed it would happen within an hour or two of eating something and could last for a full 24 hours, very frustrating. Before that I had no idea what 160b was and thought that yoghurt, processed cheese slice and plain vanilla icecream were healthy food. My daughter is now six and we just avoid stuff like that, we always get the same old things that we know are safe - Emma, by email

I have had great results with my daughter now 4 with a generally additive free, low chemical diet with improvements in behaviour, going to sleep etc (used to have many major tantrums, defiance, took 2 hours to go to sleep). 160b is a big culprit. It makes my daughter extremely defiant, teary and she throws mega tantrums. (It’s so hard to educate my mum - as 160b is in so many "healthy foods" yoghurt, icecreams, etc). Our friends’ son is a headbanger when he eats annatto. – Tamsin, Vic

I first noticed the annatto connection with my son specifically with processed cheese singles, so I try to keep him away from those and generally don't have a problem, or if so, it is only small. Recently, we were away for almost a week, and when we came back, he started taking these "gummy vites" children's vitamins ("all natural" and sure enough colored with all natural annatto) he hadn't had for some time, and it was like a switch went off and the symptoms were back full force.- Anna, USA

I’m pretty certain my 9yo son reacts to 160B -after a week spent at my mother’s where I’d stupidly, and innocently bought Cheerios when I was in a hurry. I didn’t notice the word annatto, looking just for numbers. He had it every day for breakfast and was TOTALLY hyperactive every night – it took me a week to work out the link! – Karen, by email

I have told everyone who listens about the website and book. It has been like a Godsend for me, because it has helped me not only understand the effects of food on my child but also on my husband. He has always been seen as a picky eater but he was actually eating what didn't make him feel ill or affect his moods.  I wish more people took the food we eat more seriously, instead of people seeing it as being precious - Suzanne by email.

I used to think that corn chips were good and safe to eat, in the days before I read and understood labels. I could not understand why I was so sick. I found a Doritos Cheese Supreme Corn Chips ingredients list on the internet with three flavour enhancers (621, 627, 631) and two artificial colours (129, 110). – Monica by email.

I tried my kids with MacDonalds nuggets and fries and no soft drink to see if it was any better. Well we won’t be doing that again for a long time. I am convinced people who think their kids are OK don't wait long enough for the reaction. – Anne, Qld (Update: 1/10/15 - Fries does not contain BHA 320 anymore, see ingredients list at https://mcdonalds.com.au/maccas-food/nutrition)

We have been failsafe for 18 months and remain grateful for your work, every single day. - Rachael, Vic

Can I just say a big thank you for helping my little girl to be the best version of herself? You have changed our lives. – Rachel, Qld

First, may I tell you my husband is a retired Allergist and Immunologist and he observed my IBS experiences then elimination of them. For more than 40 years I had diarrhea and severe intestinal pain. The symptoms changed as the years passed. It went from occasional to frequent and from mild to severe. This leads me to believe it is dose and frequency related. The four years prior to my discovery that annatto was the problem for me, it was daily and severe. I would get an excruciating stomach ache with bloating after 20 minutes of ingestion of an annatto product. After another 20 minutes I had an emergency run to the WC and a long bout with painful diarrhea followed by many more trips to the WC. Then, I was enervated and just wanted to do nothing and sometimes for days after. I wasn’t lactose intolerant nor did I have Celiac Sprue (which the doctors considered). In 2005, after a colonoscopy, my GI diagnosed me with IBS. The symptoms continued until 2006, when I was able to pinpoint what caused my IBS symptoms.

On a 37 day trip to Europe, I had no symptoms and was “normal”. I thought about what I was eating in the States and not in Europe. Coffee Mate came to mind. I was asymptomatic the entire trip except for one cup of coffee with a non-dairy product on the plane. Aha! Back in the States, I stayed off Coffee Mate and was fine. 30 days later I tried it and the IBS returned. A few weeks later I ate a scoop of vanilla ice cream; IBS again. What they had in common was annatto, so I researched annatto. There are hundreds of papers on annatto but not one linking annatto to IBS. My husband ordered pure annatto and experimented on me. I got the full-blown IBS when we shared a glass of water with annatto. He didn’t. Annatto predictably results in IBS symptoms of intestinal pain and diarrhea in me. It doesn’t make sense I could be the only one who gets IBS symptoms from Annatto! -  Marlene 2009 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I had ulcerative colitis with associated liver problems and spontaneous bruising, I was a mess. The doctors were talking about a possible liver transplant in ten years. My job meant I travelled and ate out frequently. I kept telling the doctors I thought it was something to do with food but I couldn't pinpoint what it was. Then I quit my job, stopped eating out, ate very simple food and got better. My last liver function test was quite good. I asked my doctors, "Don't you want to hear about this because it could help someone else?" They weren't interested.

When I did the Liver Cleansing Diet, I spent three weeks in bed, feeling dreadful. Then I did the RPAH Elimination diet and found I was sensitive to salicylates and amines (that are especially high in the Liver Cleansing Diet).  I found that dairy foods, gluten and food additives could cause problems too. Sulphite preservatives in dried fruit were the worst. - by email, Melbourne (from page 52, Fed Up)

Seven years ago at the age of 55 I had a very nasty gastro-intestinal virus which led to CFS and IBS. Because of the severity of the IBS, I had many tests - some nasty, with scary implications. Finally, a very helpful dietitian (who works closely with the RPAH allergy unit) put me onto the elimination diet nearly 2 years ago. We have found that I have numerous intolerances: lactose, gluten, salicylates, amines, soy, MSG, sorbitol, sulphites, benzoates, annatto - to name a few.... – by email

Our family has been (mostly) failsafe since our older son was diagnosed with autism and multiple food intolerance in 2003.

Last year for some months I was allowing a chocolate coated icecream on a stick containing annatto 160b, once a week I bought a box to share with the kids after shopping.

I had thought it would be ok as our very food sensitive older son didn't react noticeably to the 160b challenge.

Our now 5 year old younger son's behaviour rapidly went downhill until he was a truly horrible little boy, who physically attacked his siblings, flew off the handle at the slightest little thing, roaring and shaking with anger, things were broken in our house including a glass door and a bucket over his brother's head which drew blood! The behaviour followed a pattern each week of a couple of truly horrible days slowly getting less awful over the course of a week. So I had already figured out it was a food eaten once a week, around shopping day, but still hadn't thought of the icecream. Of course as soon as I woke up to it, the icecream was out the door, and our lovely boy and calm home returned. I've since tested annatto 160b a few times both deliberately and accidently and the horrible week long rage returned. Annatto 160b would have to be one of our family's most hated baddies! - Karen, Qld

We were told by pediatricians and individuals in the child development field that my son was autistic when he was 2 1/2 years old. He was extremely sensitive to certain fabrics and clothing against his skin. He could not speak so that we could understand him (he had his own language) and would display fits of anger when we could not understand him. He would close himself into his own little world at times and not want to socialize with our family or other children. He could not jump, he could not run or do simple movements that most children his age had already mastered.

We enrolled him in a special program for children who were developmentally delayed - he was in speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy 4 days a week.

He progressed well in the program but continued to have additional setbacks. He developed asthma and eczema and the fits continued. He started kindergarten with an IEP (Individual Education Plan) that continued to include the different therapy sessions and also added intervention for him with regard to the regular classroom activities.

I would find cheese wrappers behind our recliner, his favorite food was ANYTHING with cheese. We continued to work with different therapists and the school system up until he was in second grade.

By the grace of God, I was in my chiropractor's office waiting to be seen and I picked up a book in his waiting room that was about ADD, ADHD, ODD and Autism in children. I randomly opened it to a chapter that described my son in every sentence. Until I read that chapter I had never even paid attention to Annatto or Yellow food colorings. It was worth a shot.

It took me almost 6 weeks to clear my son from any artificial yellow food coloring. It was like living with a child drug addict. He craved anything yellow and would cry uncontrollably, throw temper tantrums, and sleep and sleep. A short while after we cleared his diet (I even packed his school lunches) his teacher asked me in for a conference. His reading score had gone from a kindergarten level to a second grade level in almost 9 weeks!!!!!

My son is now 12 years old and will be going into the seventh grade. He no longer has an IEP or any therapeutic intervention. He is an Honor Roll student, plays football and is active in the Boy Scouts. He no longer needs any medication for asthma and his eczema is gone. He knows that he has an addiction/allergy to annatto and yellow food coloring so he also is very aware to read every label and "just say no" when offered something that he can not have.

The yellow food colorings cause him to be hyperactive and then he crashes. The Annatto however, seems to be the additive that causes him to have the addictive symptoms. I read once that the annatto seed was once made into a paste and used as war paint in a particular tribe. Well, after watching my son once he has had the annatto I can see why warriors would be successful in battle under its influence.

In addition to affecting him through his food colors also affect him through medications and hygiene products. We noticed that once when he used shampoo with artificial yellow the skin on his neck broke out every time he showered. Also, chapstick or other products that go on skin make him itch.

This school year my son begged me to let him eat some things that our school cafeteria provides. I reluctantly agreed, after all he is going to have to make his own decisions about what he puts in his body as he gets older and is out without me more.  It isn't that he was eating things that contained yellow or annatto but he was eating foods that are processed. He has had the stomach flu twice and has had headaches more frequently, plus his muscles have begun to cramp more and more. Last week we made the decision for me to resume packing his lunch and I think that we both already notice a difference.

There is no doubt in my mind that the rise in autism, ADHD, ADD, etc. is a direct consequence of our trend toward processed "quick" food.  I feel so blessed to have read that chapter and found my son. Thank you for making a difference. – Rhonda, USA

I was a single mother living alone away from family support, breastfeeding and juggling a wonderful son who at 12 months was barely sleeping 4 hours a day. Most days he looked as if he had drunk a can of "red bull" - eyes rolling, twitching and distant - and sleep only ever seemed to come lightly for short periods once he was beyond exhausted.

He had a rash all over his body that just kept spreading and it made me cry watching him tear at it all day and all night without any relief.

At 12 months I put him into a local day care centre for 2 days a week for some sort of break (sleeping sometimes in the car just around the corner too tired to make it home to sleep after dropping him off). He was a real handful there as he would not settle and ever sleep and would upset all the other babies with his screaming.

I was beside myself by the time I swallowed what pride a new sleepless mum had left and sought every kind of assistance I could - my baby health nurse, my local doctor, and then another doctor all said it was normal (as they all shrugged their shoulders) and the eczema was a lifetime hereditary thing ...

I was even assessed at a local  government "sleep clinic" on the gold coast - an awful experience with him not sleeping at all for them and them saying 20 hours without sleep "may be normal for him " - (bugger me !!)

After my lowest darkest point whereby at about 14 months he barely slept in 40 mins increments I was sent to the state children's sleep school in Brisbane. The basic program philosophy is about controlled crying - but that wasn’t his problem …

It was a 5 day hellish event I would wish on no one. He screamed and cried for the first 3 days solid and set new limits in sleep deprivation - made easier the 3rd day only because he totally lost his voice and his screams couldn’t be heard !!! By day 4 he slept (passed out) from sheer exhaustion - so that was apparently a success and I was sent home day 5!!

After only a day or two at home it was obvious there was no improvement.

The next few weeks as I contemplated our future without support, sleep or potential for work as things stood really took its toll, until I was blessed to come across a pharmacist in our local pharmacy. She sat me down and really talked me through the failsafe approach - and really took the time to make it sink in. I was an unwilling participant as when you are so exhausted anything new seems to be insurmountable.

It took 4 days!!! only 4 days !! from having someone waking 8 times a night to 2 times a night!!! from sleeping 4 hours a day to 8 hours - and 10 hours by the end of the week. Once I switched to A2 milk the loop was complete and he started sleeping the night through by the end of week 2. The change was nothing short of miraculous.

For my son to go from the least favourite boy in his kindy to the favourite almost within a week!! It was like someone had handed me a new son.

He became an affectionate loving inquisitive boy that every mum would be so proud of - no tantrums, no fits of rage, renewed energy and able on concentrate on things so much better he simply bloomed, like watching a wilted flower come back to life after rain.

His rash completely healed - completely!!  He is now 2.5 years and it has never returned!!

When I tell people about all the positive changes we have had on the diet, they seem to think the diet I fed him before failsafe was really poor. They assume it was full of red cordial, McDonalds, coloured commercial lollies etc but I was aware of colours and MSG and he NEVER had those. At the time I was following the diet recommended by the child care centre. It was the sulphur dioxide in dried fruits, the hidden nitrates in meats, and natural colour 160b I wasn’t aware of, that were our biggest problems, also I was breast feeding at the time and was having more "junk food" and stimulants from comfort eating to keep me functioning so he was getting it that way. I realise my mistake in overdoing a "healthy diet" mostly consisting of a mega high salicylates, high amines and glutamates!! and although I was careful about colours and some preservatives, my son’s biggest and most immediate reactions came from fish/ meats/ and preserved fruits.

Having followed all the information you have put out there in the Failsafe Cookbook my son has thrived!!  He has come from behind to be the tallest and fittest in his class. The effect this failsafe lifestyle has had on Patrick has been evident to all who knew him "before diet" as we call it.

I often have people ask me about your work, especially from his childcare centre as they have followed his progress and it’s so rewarding to see the individual but still dramatic change it has on other babies, toddlers and children.

I get angry when I think of the torment and the lost first 12 months of his life - and that a children’s hospital in a week could not assist or pick up what a pharmacist did in seconds - but promise in my own prayers of thanks for you and the pharmacist that I will do my best to help those similar suffering mums that cross my own path. Thank you. - Patrick's proud mum, Qld

Calvin was an easy baby, slept well, settled after feeds beautifully and was just lovely. Once we started solids, things started changing for the worse. By 12 months he was waking 3-6 times a night screaming and was impossible to soothe. Only sheer exhaustion put him back to sleep. I looked into all sorts of options for sleep training, but none of them sat well with me as I was sure it was a pain issue, not a sleep issue, so I resisted urging from friends and family to control cry and looked into the possibility of food intolerance.

At that same time, Sue was advertising a webinar on sleep and food intolerance. I registered and joined in on the night. I listened and took notes, but still wasn't convinced this was us, I just hated the idea of a restricted diet for Calvin.

By 14 months things were desperate and my husband and I were chronically sleep deprived. We booked into a failsafe dietician and started the elimination diet. Calvin improved a little, and then had textbook withdrawal after a week and a half. In week 3 he slept through the night for the first time in 15 months and then slept through for another 3 nights after that. We have had some up and down nights since then, but nothing like the screaming fits he used to have. 7 weeks on, he
has slept through 10 full nights and only woken once or twice for a pat most of the other nights. Now we are slowly introducing challenges, but our need for sleep catch up and Calvin's age has meant that we have opted for the slow route rather than overload challenges. This means we still have a long way to go, but have felt very encouraged by the Fed Up website, book and cookbook - Thanks Sue for all your hard work!! - Pippa, by email

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