Sue's Blog

Food unregulation - in 10 steps


This is my view of how our food regulation system actually works for food additives:

  1. define safety in a very narrow range of easily measured acute physical symptoms. Do not include any chronic, learning, mental, behavioural or non-acute symptoms even though people may suffer from them (see box below).

  2. get industry to pay you and tell you whether their additives are safe against this narrow definition. There is apparently no need for alternative views other than those you are paid to assess because who pays the piper calls the tune.

  3. don’t require testing of food additives on children (“it wouldn’t be ethical”) or the elderly, as both groups have weaker blood/brain barriers and so might be affected.

  4. require testing of food additives only over a short period of time in which an acute physical symptom might emerge, and exclude from testing those who think they might react in some way (just in case).

  5. require testing of additives only one-by-one, singly, never in the combinations in which they are commonly used in foods, nor in foods with which they might react, for example with benzene production from benzoates 210-219 in soft drinks.

  6. do not require testing of the effects of food additives on the microbiome, changes in which provide a plausible mechanism for many of the effects that consumers observe. After all, if you swallow a chemical designed to kill bacteria in food, one might expect it to kill bacteria in your gut too, with consequences.

  7. have a poor system to check that additives are actually used as directed in actual foods eaten by people.

  8. do not regulate food additives that are added in ‘natural’ forms (“too difficult”), only those that are numbered white powders. For example allow unregulated amounts of propionates 280-283 as ‘fermented or cultured wheat/flour/dextrose/etc’ while claiming ‘no artificial preservatives’; or unregulated amounts of free glutamates (MSG 621) added under 129 other ‘natural’ names while claiming ‘no added MSG’.

  9. ensure that there is no adverse reporting system so you never get to hear about problems as they emerge.

  10. spend public money periodically to pat yourself on the back about what a great job you are doing!


 prepared by Howard Dengate BSc (Food Sci UNSW), PhD (Plant Sci LC), Cert Plant-based Nutrition (eCornell)

Known symptoms of food intolerance


Airways: Asthma, Stuffy blocked or runny nose/ nasal polyps, Frequent nose bleeds, Catarrh, chronic throat-clearing, Sinusitis, Frequent ear infections, Frequent tonsillitis, Frequent colds and flu, symptoms of Samter's Triad, hayfever, allergic rhinitis


Skin: Eczema, Urticaria (hives), Cradlecap, Other skin rashes, Angioedema (swollen lips, eyes, tongue), Geographic tongue, Pruritis (itching), Rosaceae, Allergic shiners (dark circles under eyes), Pallor (pale skin), Flushing, Excessive sweating, Body odour, Sore vagina in children, Alopecia (patchy baldness)


Digestive system: Irritable bowel symptoms (IBS), Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), Recurrent mouth ulcers, Indigestion, Nausea, Bad breath, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Stomach ache, Bloating, Reflux in babies, adults, Constipation, Colic in babies, adults, Sluggish bowel syndrome (feeling of "more to come"), Encopresis, Soiling (sneaky poos), Dairy intolerance, Gluten and wheat intolerance, Eating disorders (ed), anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (BED) 


Bladder: Bedwetting, Daytime incontinence, Urinary urgency, Recurrent inflammation (cystitis)


Skeletal: Growing pains, Gout, Arthritis, joint pain, arthralgia


Eyes: Nystagmus (involuntary movement), Blurred vision


Muscles: Low muscle tone, Myalgia (muscle pain), Tics (involuntary movement), Tremor, Leg 'jiggling',


Heart: Rapid heart beat, Heart palpitations, Cardiac arrhythmias, Pseudo heart attack (feeling of impending doom, chest pressure, pain down arm), Tachycardia (fast heart beat), Angina-type pain, HHT


Central nervous system: Headaches or migraines, unexplained tiredness, Chronic fatigue, Feeling 'hung-over', Confusion, Dizziness, Agitation, Tinnitus (noises in ear), Hyperacusis, Auditory sensory processing disorder (ASPD), Paraesthesia (pins and needles), Dysaesthesia (numbness), Hypoglycemia, Salicylate-induced hypoglycemia, Epileptic seizures, Fits, Sensory symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Scents and perfume sensitivity, Symptoms of lupus


Anxiety: Panic attacks, Depression, Obsessive ruminations (repetitively focusing on bad feelings and experiences from the past), Self harm, Suicidal thoughts, actions, teeth grinding (bruxism)


Impaired memory: Vague or forgetful, Unable to concentrate, Won't persevere, Unmotivated, Disorganised, Easily distracted, Difficulty reading and writing


Speech: Loud voice (no volume control), Speech hard to understand, Speech delay, Selective mutism, Stuttering, Repetitive noises, Talks too much (empty chatter)


Coordination: Poor handwriting, Poor coordination, Frequent accidents, Vertigo


Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, Restless legs syndrome (RLS), Persistent night waking, Insomnia, Nightmares/night terrors/sleepwalking, Sleepless babies, Sleep apnoea


Mood: Brain snaps, Mood swings, Premenstrual tension, Grizzly or unhappy, Cries easily or often, Irritable, Uncooperative


Oppositional defiance: ODD, Loses temper, Argumentative, Refuses requests, Defies rules, Deliberately annoys others, Blames others for own mistakes, Touchy, easily annoyed, Angry, resentful


Other behaviour: ADHD, ADD, Autism, Aspergers, Inattentive, easily bored, unmotivated, 'Unable to entertain himself', Restless, fidgety or overactive, Head banging, Hyperactivity, Fights with siblings, Difficulty making friends, Destructive, aggressive, Unreasonable, Tantrums, Demanding, never satisfied, Disruptive, Discipline is ineffective, Pervasive Development Disorder

See relevant factsheets at