Sue's Blog

Crows Nest Qld talk report and the bread preservative


On March 12, Howard and I gave a talk at the public school in Crows Nest Qld, a small town north of Toowoomba with a surprising turnout of 110 people in the special education venue .  A highlight of the evening was the delicious failsafe supper cooked by senior nutrition students.

Attendees ranged from long time failsafers to concerned parents to teachers from various locations who explained how they had seen the effects of foods with their own eyes.


We showed the photo (above) of healthy looking Mission spinach and herb wraps - with 5 additives of concern - and asked how many are eating these wraps?  A whopping  50% put their hands up.

Most people were alarmed to find out that it’s not enough to avoid preservatives 282, 200, 202 and antioxidant 320 in bread. Under the new Clean Label strategy:

  • propionate preservatives 280-282 can be listed as cultured dextrose, cultured wheat, cultured whey or cultured rice
  • these may be used in any breads  including organic or gluten free!

In my opinion, this is one of the worst additives because it can build up slowly to cause irritability, restlessness, inattention, difficulty falling asleep or problems such as headaches, fatigue, bedwetting and it’s in a healthy food eaten every day. Parents have no idea it is a problem until they stop eating it.

You can see what this additive (as propionic acid, 280) does to the behaviour of rats with your own eyes in this 4-minute extract from the Autism Enigma documentary

Audience comments included:

  • I’m going home to check my bread!
  • I’m a teacher at a nearby school, I’ve seen a huge improvement in one of my students since he started on the diet
  • I work at an outdoor education centre – everything the students eat is locally grown and they grow most of it themselves. When a school says they are sending kids with behaviour problem, we don’t see them when they come to us because they are eating homegrown, healthy food
  • I have never heard of salicylates before. My toddler is doing  a dairy and gluten free diet for his eczema but he just loves his grapes and blueberries and his eczema is terrible, now I think I know why
  • We moved to Crows Nest 3 years ago – there are no takeaway food chains or anything here. We’ve all lost weight and feel terrific.
  • I thought I was doing the very best thing for my 7 yo son by giving him the frozen mixed berries – strawberries, blackberries, blueberries – he is eating heaps of them and I also make up juices for him with those and lots of other fruits such as oranges. He has been getting more and more aggressive, it’s just not like him. He bit one of his friends the other day, he’s never done that before.


  • I’d like to recommend a way of getting healthy failsafe salad  into kids – I slice up the following very finely : fresh cabbage, red cabbage and salad wombuk, and mix them together with a failsafe dressing, my son loves it.

Many thanks to the Crows Nest Public School for hosting this talk and especially to the capable organisers  - chaplain David Davies who shared his experience with the audience. When his own family tried failsafe for one member’s dermatitis, they noticed their children became quieter and more attentive, even though they wouldn’t have said there was anything wrong – teachers Helen Thompson and Jenny Hughes,  and of course  to the nutrition students who cooked up a storm and their teacher.

Further reading

Introduction to food intolerance
Factsheets for schools
Clean label policy a disaster for consumers