Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

September-October 2000


FAILSAFE supports families using the low-chemical elimination diet recommended by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers - for health, behaviour and learning problems.

Failsafe is now available free by email. Just send your email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



  • Research: alternative treatments for ADHD
  • Rage
  • Who ya gonna call?
  • In brief - activity and cancer, eczema, zinc, tomatoes, apples, Food Standards Code, "Fed Up" in USA, talk in Alice Springs
  • Epilepsy and food chemicals
  • Mistakes
  • Questions: - itching
  • Product warning Soy Life Vanilla Crème Soy Yoghurt
  • Cooks Corner: Oven fried chicken with lemon sauce, Caramel meringue

Research: alternative treatments for ADHD


Children with food intolerance should try dietary management before medication according to a report in the USA.

The National Institutes of Health asked Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Ohio State University Eugene Arnold to review alternative treatments for ADHD. He rated various treatments on a score of 6 to 0 where:


6 means should be considered the established treatment for the appropriate subgroup


0 means not worth considering further.




thyroid treatment if thyroid is abnormal (rating 0 for normal thyroid)


few foods diet ("good evidence for efficacy in the subgroup with sensitivity to foods … the proportion of diagnosed ADHD children who have food sensitivities has not been established …")


EPD (enzyme-potentiated desensitization), deleading if blood lead >20, EMG biofeedback-facilitated relaxation training


essential fatty acid/magnesium/iron/gluconutritional supplementation, Chinese herbals, meditation, vestibular stimulation, EEG biofeedback, mirror feedback


zinc supplementation, laser acupuncture


homeopathy, herbals other than Chinese, RDI vitamins, specific mega-vitamins


sugar restriction alone, antifungal (yeast) treatment, hypnosis, amino-acid supplementation (e.g. phenylalanine, short term benefit only), mega-dose vitamins


Professor Arnold recommends that a good history and physical exam will check for signs of thyroid dysfunction, allergic history, food intolerance, dietary balance/deficiency and general medical problems. In areas with high rates of subclinical lead poisoning, a serum lead should be done. More complete screening for minerals (iron, zinc) could be justified, especially if there is any question from the dietary history. Medication and behavioural treatment should be implemented only after these have been ruled out.

Professor Arnold does not mention the RPA diet. We find it achieves results at least as good as the few foods diet and is much easier to do.

Further reading: Arnold, LE "Treatment Alternatives for ADHD", Journal of Attention Disorders, Vol 3, No1, 30-48





In August, a young passenger on a South West Airlines flight in the USA was killed by eight other passengers after exhibiting air rage. Jonathon Burton, aged 19, became combative 20 minutes before Flight 1763 was due to land, hitting other passengers and pounding on the locked cockpit door. As many as eight of the plane's 120 passenger subdued him by kicking, beating and strangling him until he died. "We'd like to know how this happened to this young man. He had no history of violence, he would sooner take a spider outside than kill it," said the family attorney. Officials report a dramatic increase in air-rage incidents nationwide.

This network suggests that airlines could reduce the number of air rage incidents by serving FAILSAFE foods during flights. Irritability leading to temper outbursts and explosive and unpredictable behaviour has been associated with common food chemicals. Most people have no idea that they are affected by additives until they stop eating them for a while and then have a big dose, as the following stories show. An obvious reaction means there have probably been many smaller, more subtle reactions in the past.

A Sydney lawyer in charge of a busy law office was following a healthy weight loss diet when he rushed a takeaway lunch. During the afternoon he felt intensely irritable and later realised that he had been unacceptably rude to staff, saying "I am not normally like that".

Similarly, Charlie King, the popular sports manager at ABC Radio's Darwin office, recently followed a weight loss and fitness diet. He shared his success with listeners on his regular Saturday program. After months of a healthy diet, Charlie and his wife were too busy to cook so they chose what seemed like the healthiest takeaway - Chinese stir fried vegetables on rice - for two days in a row.

The following day, Charlie was driving when some papers slid out from under the seat. "It seems so trivial. I completely overreacted. I was so angry I felt like getting out of the car in the middle of the road, slamming the door and walking away. It wasn't me."

Amazed by his own "road rage" reaction, Charlie invited me onto his program and we discussed the implications of food additive reactions. As a football coach Charlie is concerned by the growing number of aggressive incidents seen on the field in junior football. "Some of these kids are out of control," he commented. "Years ago we never saw anything like that".


Who ya gonna call?


Can you trust manufacturers to declare food additives on their labels? And what can you do about it if they don't? In our experience, very little.

Five years ago, we complained about mislabelled preserved bread in a Woolworth's store in Darwin. An environmental officer "had a word to the manager". A year later, we complained again. Woolworth Hibiscus in Darwin were found by Melbourne food analysts Dunn, Son and Stone (Report number P1977, 29/8/96) to be supplying hot dog rolls which contained calcium propionate not listed on the label. An accompanying letter from the Senior Environmental Health Officer dated 10/10/96 reassured us that "this office will regularly monitor bread and bread products as part of the ongoing surveillance program".

Two years ago we submitted a complaint about bread in Darwin City Woolworths because all the bread came from the same bakery and contained 282 yet it did not appear on all ingredients labels. We received an email advising that the matter would be investigated. Nothing more happened. The bakery involved has since confirmed that all bread supplied to that store contains 282. A representative from environmental health explained that the office is too busy dealing with issues like overflowing septic tanks.


Catch 22


We wrote to ANZFA about the possible effects of additive 635 (below). The reply was the usual: not interested in anecdotes, only want scientific evidence.

  • How will scientists know to study 635 if they do not hear that there is a problem?
  • How will anyone ever know there is a problem unless ANZFA keeps a register of complaints? After all, the NRA keeps a register for agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
  • How will consumers know their itchy rashes might be related to a new additive if no-one tells them?
  • Is it up to consumers and housewives to do medical research these days?


In brief

  • The relationship between increased physical activity and a lower risk of cancer of the colon and rectum has been consistently shown. Avoiding obesity has an additional, independent effect in lowering the risk. The protective steps are clear: maintain regular physical activity and normal body weight. How to do so "in a sea of stimuli designed to achieve exactly the opposite goal is a bizarre conundrum that we have inflicted on ourselves and increasingly on others". - review in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
  • Eczema "I've had hot, burning, itching, painful eczema for twenty years. It started as a tiny spot and gradually spread. Nothing helped until now. It's been improving on the diet for eight weeks. My skin feels cool and comfortable for the first time in years." The elimination diet has helped this woman to identify not only foods but also household cleaners, perfumes and other chemicals which aggravate her condition." - reader comment
  • Zinc and psoriasis "Recently I started using hair shampoo with 2% zinc and noticed a marked improvement in my scalp condition. Also a 'new' smoothness in my skin in general around the skull. This is a first as I have tried everything. Zinc for me is the latest 'flavour of the month' and for the last few weeks I have been taking a zinc solution plus zinc rich foods. Slowly there has been an improvement in my skin condition from dry and scaly." - reader comment. The use of zinc creams and supplements for skin rashes was enthusiastically endorsed by many discussion group members. While vitamins and minerals themselves are FAILSAFE, most tablets and syrups are not. If you want to take supplements, do it as a strict challenge.
  • Tomatoes didn't reach Europe from the Andes until the early 16th century and the first recipes for tomato sauce on pasta came 300 years later. In the late 16th century, German authorities warned that tomatoes "should not be taken internally". One hundred years later they were still listed under malignant and poisonous plants. In 1820 an enterprising colonist ate 2 tomatoes on the steps of the Salem courthouse to prove that they were not dangerous.[But did he know about cumulative, delayed reactions?] The tomato now ranks number 12 on the list of the world's biggest food crops. - New Scientist, 2/9/2000, p3.
  • A team from Cornell University has found that one 100 gram Red Delicious apple contains as much anti-oxidant as 1.5 kilograms of Vitamin C. The secret is that the apple doesn't only contain Vitamin C, but also about 100 other anti-oxidant compounds, mainly polyphenols and flavonoids." - New Scientist, 12 August 2000, page 50 [red delicious apples are moderate in salicylates and can be eaten every second day by most salicylate responders - after challenges, that is].
  • New Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code will be in operation by 2002 according to the Australia and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA). Health and safety benefits to consumers are claimed but the same old problems will exist - no warning to consumers of adverse effects of additives, and not all additives will be listed. As well, the policing of these regulations are up to underfunded individual state health departments
  • "Fed Up" is now available in the USA from Book Clearing House, at $US19.95 plus postage- order by phone 1800-431-1579, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or over the web http://www.bookch.com/.
  • Talk in Alice Springs: Thursday Oct 5th at 7.30 pm, Living Waters school, enquiries 08.8952 8057


Epilepsy and food chemicals


While children who have a seizure are unlikely to have another, those that do have a recurrence are very likely to have additional seizures and can be considered epileptic, according to a report in the August 2000 issue of the Annals of Neurology.

Epileptics who also have food intolerance symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or ADHD may have seizures triggered by food chemicals. Professor John Egger reported in the Journal of Pediatrics (vol 114, p51-8, 1989): "Of the 45 children who had epilepsy and recurrent headaches, abdominal symptoms, or hyperactive behaviour, 25 ceased to have seizures and 11 had fewer seizures during diet therapy … Of 24 children with generalised epilepsy, 18 recovered or improved (including 4 of 7 with myoclonic seizures and all with petit mal) as did 18 of 21 children with partial epilepsy … Eighteen others, who had epilepsy alone, were similarly treated with an oligoantigenic diet: none improved".

Epileptics in our network report seizures triggered by food chemicals such as artificial food colours, salicylates or amines.

In one family, epilepsy medication was dropped and the child enjoyed more than a year trouble-free until experiencing a seizure after eating Strepsils throat tablets during a cold. A call to the pharmacy revealed that all Strepsils tablets contain artificial colours and this particular product, Honey and Lemon, contained Quinoline yellow artificial colour (104), not permitted in Australia, and not listed on the label.

In another family, ADD medication was recommended for a four year old girl already on high doses of epilepsy medication. Instead, her family tried the elimination diet. The girl's behaviour "improved out of sight and her general overall health improved ... changing her epilepsy medication to colour and flavour-free was harder than it seems as most kid size doses come in flavoured syrup".

If additives trigger seizures in even a few children, it would be commonsense to remove them from epilepsy medication, and to insist on thorough labelling of all additives in other medications.

There may also be implications for breastfed babies: one mother noticed episodes in which her breastfeeding baby would "clamp down" on the breast and briefly stay motionless. Eventually doctors realised that the child was having seizures. The mother regularly consumed several bottles of artificially coloured red soft drink a day.




One tiny mistake a day or two mistakes a week can cancel out the benefits of the diet. For children who are failing to improve or who have improved but not enough it is worth checking your diet. See the updated list on the website "Checklist of common mistakes - ask yourself, am I using this?". Readers tells us this list is very useful.


Readers' comments

Readers' comments


"For 20 years I never noticed a reaction to aspirin and yet I'm highly sensitive to salicylate". - Bernard Trudgett (former arthritis sufferer)


"A year on the diet is not necessarily easy but it is so much easier than spending one morning with my kids NOT on diet. The diet itself is not difficult - for most of human history many people have been more or less FAILSAFE. What is difficult is living in the early 21st century without consuming too much of the rubbish that is put unnecessarily in even plain, staple foods, resisting the olive-oil-and-dried-tomato-in-everything fad and the advertising-led food-as-entertainment mentality. These are the factors that make the diet so hard." - discussion group comment


READERS' DETAILS AND READERS STORIES at http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories

Your questions:

Check out the newly updated Questions and Answers section in the website with detailed answers to your questions:


Reader: While I was pregnant I was constantly itchy. There was no rash, just itching in different places. Often my back would itch. It was like ants crawling over my skin. The doctor said it might be jaundice but nothing showed up on the blood tests. I've only had it once since my baby was born 3 months ago. Could it be related to food?

Failsafe: In our experience, the most likely additive to cause this would be flavour enhancer 635. Do you eat instant noodles … flavoured chips … Corn chips? …


Reader: No, no, nothing like that.


Failsafe: Pies … party pies? …


Reader: Party pies. I ate them all the time while I was pregnant. But I've only eaten them once since my daughter was born.


Failsafe: This is typical of the stories we receive about these foods. Often there is a rash, sometimes dramatic. The next step is to do a challenge. Although MSG is present in all products containing 635 (disodium 5'ribonucleotide), some people have noticed they react to small amounts of brands which contain 635.

**** Product Warning ****


Soy Life Vanilla Crème Soy Yoghurt is not FAILSAFE. It contains natural colour 160b (annatto), as do an increasing number of vanilla yoghurts, both dairy and soy, icecreams, margarines, cheeses, breakfast cereals, biscuits, snacks and other processed foods. Especially look for 160b in products which mentions "crème" or "creamy". These days, cream equals yellow.

Cooks' corner


Oven Fried Chicken with Lemon Sauce


Allow at least one chicken breast per person.

Rice flour


Rice Crumbs

Butter or oil

Put about 1/2 cup rice flour into freezer bag, beat a couple of eggs in a dish or small jug, fill a bowl with crumbs. Coat chicken in flour, egg, then crumbs and lay in an oiled baking dish in a single layer. We have butter so I use about 125gm for 7 fillets, melt it and pour over the top. Cook in hottish oven, say 190-200° C until golden brown - approx 40 mins. I have made it by spraying with cooking oil but make sure you give it a good dose. Baste and drain half way through if necessary.




1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornflour

3/4 cup hot water

1 teaspoon citric acid

1 1/4 tablespoon salt

1 large clove garlic (optional)

sprinkle of parsley (optional)

Mix sugar and cornflour together in a little saucepan. Slowly add hot water and stir until dissolved. Cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add citric acid and salt and stir. If using garlic, sauté it in the microwave and add to the sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes, beans and other vegetables.

- Diane Sylvester


Caramel Meringue1/3 cup castor sugar1/3 cup water4 egg whites3/4 cup castor sugar, extra

Combine the castor sugar and water in a small pan and cook, stirring, without boiling, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes or until the syrup is a clear caramel colour. Pour the caramel immediately into a 20cm ring pan. Holding a thick towel, tilt the pan to coat the side with the caramel.

Beat the egg whites in a small bowl with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 a cup of the extra castor sugar, beating until dissolved between additions.

Meanwhile add the remaining 1/4 cup of castor sugar to a preheated uncovered medium pan and cook over a high heat, tilting the pan, until the sugar is

dissolved and golden brown. While the mixer is operating, drizzle the caramel into the meringue and beat for a further 5 minutes. Spread the meringue mixture over the caramel in the ring pan.

Place the pan in a baking dish with enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the pan. Bake in a slow oven (150C) for about 30 minutes or

until browned and lightly firm. Remove the pan from the baking dish and allow to cool. Refrigerate in the pan for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight, before serving. (This is to dissolve the caramel in the pan and to turn it into a sauce).

To serve, invert the ring pan onto a serving plate with a rim and fill the centre with chopped pears. Serve with an allowable custard or cream if dairy

is tolerated.

- Emma Roffey



Email support group


There are now members from over ten countries in our email discussion group, sharing questions, recipes, support, successes, dramas and laughs.


To join, http://fedup.com.au/information/support/email-support-groups You will receive an invitation from Listbot Verifier. You must reply to the Listbot invitation to confirm your place on the list. You will then receive every message posted by group members. To contribute, press reply. See unsubscribe instructions at the foot of each message.



This newsletter available free by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail for $10 per year from PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804. Thanks to Margie Turner, Deborah Halliwell, Jenny Saal, Linda Beck, Robin Fisher, Anne Smith, Bernard Trudgett, Alison Cliff and contributors. © Sue Dengate (text). Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up by Sue Dengate Random House, 1998 and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books, 1991.