Sue's Blog

Gout – Shame on you, FSANZ!


According to a new study from Sydney University (1)

- gout is on the rise world-wide
- New Zealand now has the highest prevalence of gout in the world, with Australia second
- in the last 20 years, gout cases have risen up to 20% in Australia  

Experts can’t explain this - but it is pretty obvious to us that our food regulators FSANZ are to blame. The rise in gout corresponds to the approval of flavour enhancers 627, 631 and 635 by FSANZ  in the mid-1990s.

When these additives were tested in 1974, a label warning was recommended that

people suffering from conditions such as gout which require the avoidance of purines should avoid these substances (2)

But this recommendation was ignored by FSANZ.

In our experience, gout sufferers - and their doctors - have no idea these additives can be a problem, yet they are now common throughout our food supply.

Two reader reports

“About six weeks ago I stopped all foods with 635 flavour enhancers. Within 48 hours my symptoms – including episodes of joint and bone pains that lasted 24-48 hours - had gone …” – from reader report [569]

“I started getting gout attacks a few years ago - eventually I realised it was always the day after my wife and I ate in our favourite restaurant (Thai). First I thought it was the bottle of wine we shared but when we skipped the wine I still got the gout. Then I stopped eating the oyster sauce and haven’t had any more gout” – from reader report [1530] (So what’s in Maggi  oyster sauce? – Flavour enhancer 635! and only 0.4% oyster extract)

Where are they?

Look for 627, 631 or 635 (also called disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate and sodium 5’ribonucleotides) (3) in savoury flavoured processed foods such as

- instant noodles
- gravies, salad dressing, sauces - eg soy, oyster
- stock cubes, stocks, soups
- flavoured chips, crackers, snacks
- pies, party pies, sausage rolls
- supermarket ready meals
- sausages from your supermarket or butcher
- takeaways, such as Maccas (in the chicken burger garlic mayonnaise, chicken mcbites, fries with gravy, McNugget barbecue sauce) and KFC (in 15 dishes including some chicken, Caesar salad, sauces, gravies, seasoned rice) (4) (5)

An easier way

Official gout diets don’t seem to mention these additives. Our readers tell us that the RPAH elimination diet we support works better. A few weeks on the elimination diet followed by food challenges can identify which foods are causing problems and which are not – and so can be reintroduced. Experienced dietitians on our list can help and most will do Skype consultations.

“My male partner (47) has suffered from medically diagnosed gout for three years and has tried many things; prescribed medication, a low lectin diet (as per the Plant Paradox book by Stephen Grundy), the prescribed medical low purine diet to no avail ... He undertook the failsafe diet as per the RPAH regime … When we undertook the challenges he passed the salicylate challenge and failed miserably with amines and glutamates; both bringing on gout. He avoids all amines and glutamates and he is now gout free” – Susan from story [1532]


Of course, FSANZ could help reduce the burden of gout in NZ and Australia  by adding packet warning labels – but in the 25 years we have been running this Network, they have always supported the food industry and have not once done anything we have requested to help consumers.

What you can do

For the strict version of the RPAH Elimination diet, we recommend seeing a dietitian. See our list of experienced dietitians who specialise in food intolerance

See our free failsafe booklet showing how manageable this diet is. Yes, it is aimed at children, but the diet still works!

Our FREE DVD – yes, it appears to be aimed at children but adults find it useful too

My books (no need to buy, they are in libraries) and RPAH’s Friendly Food book

The new RPAH Food Challenges booklet

Our gout factsheet

Our gout blog post

Request our free salicylate mistakes information sheet (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
See our introduction to food intolerance
For support, join our facebook group


1. Prevalence, Incidence, and Years Lived With Disability Due to Gout and Its Attributable Risk Factors for 195 Countries and Territories 1990-2017: A Systematic Analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Safiri S et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020 Aug 4. doi: 10.1002/art.41404. 

2. JECFA Eighteenth Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Calcium and Sodium-5’-Ribonucleotides, Wld Hlth Org. techn. Rep. Ser., 1974, No. 557.

3. These additives were approved without evidence of safety in December 1994 in Australia and New Zealand, as described in our factsheet about MSG Boosters

4. Maccas allergen, ingredients and nutrition information nutrition accessed 6/11/2020

5. KFC  nutrition guide kfc ingredient list - ServiceCheck. › fulfillment › kfc_ingredients accessed 6/11/2020