Fedup Newsletters


Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

January – March 2010


The Food Intolerance Network supports people worldwide using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) for health, behaviour and learning problems.

To see this FAILSAFE Newsletter in colour on the web: FAILsaf63.htm

The FAILSAFE Newsletter is 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.


Supermarkets follow up on ‘No artificial colours’ promise

Australian of the Year Awards

Free glutamate and the MSG labelling loophole

Research: Risk to brain of blue and yellow, An allergy to Goldfish

In brief: Artificial red 127, ADHD guidelines blocked, Diet could be the ADHD key, not drugs; Review of food labelling in Australia and New Zealand, FDA reversal on gender bending/obesity chemicals in food containers, Man 'nearly killed' by spray-on deodorant

Readers' stories: [886]-[902]

Product updates: detailed help and information.

Questions: detailed help and information.

Cooks Corner: Vegemite Substitute, Easy chicken stock, Crunchy chunky cashew biscuits with dairy-free gluten-free option

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 Hello everyone


Welcome to our first issue for 2010, especially to the many new failsafers who decided over the festive season that enough was enough, it’s time to take diet seriously.

There’s some great news to start the year including the removal of artificial colours and even annatto 160b from many products.

Also in this issue, new research about artificial colours, great new products, handy recipes and some inspiring reader stories - from the Courage Award story about an aspiring Olympic athlete, to Kylie of NSW who says: ‘I just take my lunch when we go out now, and if the pub or restaurant bucks up about me taking my own food, my 18 colleagues stand up as if to leave and say "fine, we'll take our business elsewhere, she has dietary issues"’. We could all use that kind of support!

Howard and I will be trekking in Nepal for three months from 11th February to mid-May. While we are away, Chris (at the usual email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) can answer your questions about dietitians, information sheets and where else to find help. When we return, there will be some intense planning for the 2010 Fed Up Roadshow (8 confirmed talks already).


Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate


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Supermarkets follow up on ‘No artificial colours’ promise

After the official announcement in June last year, ALDI supermarket chain has been working to remove all artificial colours and flavours from own brand products. Products without artificial colours now include jelly crystals, Neapolitan ice cream, drinks, sweets and Freeze Pops. These products may be suitable for those are avoiding additives but families will still have to check for additives such as natural colour annatto 160b and preservatives such as benzoates 210-212 and sorbates 200-203. Warning: children who appear to react to ‘all natural’ products with strong fruit flavours or colours - including the Natural Confectionery Co brand – are probably sensitive to salicylates and/or amines. For such children, vanilla flavoured products are safer. http://www.aldi.com.au

Australian of the Year Awards

Thanks to everyone who helped Sue Dengate reach the finalists in these Awards. While not winning, the nomination helped raise the profile of food intolerance everywhere. Photos of Sue receiving her finalists award from the Deputy Premier of NSW, and her support at the ceremony: Jenny Ravlic and Kathleen Daalmeyer of Additive Education in Melbourne, husband Dr Howard Dengate, and long-term failsafe contact Sheryl Sibley from Canberra.




Free glutamate and the MSG labelling loophole

If MSG is added to a food, it must appear in the ingredients list as MSG or flavour enhancer 621. However, there is a loophole. Most consumers don’t realise that ingredients such as hydrolysed vegetable protein, soy sauce or yeast extracts contain free glutamates that are essentially the same as MSG. Due to consumer requests, in 1996 the USFDA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking with several options such as a requirement that all foods with 0.2g or more of free glutamate per serving must state the amount of free glutamate on the label. This regulation would be very helpful for people who are sensitive to MSG! Predictably, the proposal was opposed by the food industry - such as the International Hydrolyzed Protein Council (IHPC) - and 14 years later, nothing has happened. Consequently, consumers must learn for themselves the deceptive and changing ways that MSG can be described on labels. Further reading: Food Labeling for the 21st Century: A Report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest p26 http://www.cspinet.org/reports/labelrept.pdf; and see the ways MSG can be described in our MSG Factsheet

Books and DVD now available through www.fedup.com.au

You can buy Sue’s books and DVD individually or as “the set” (Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook & the DVD Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour) at competitive prices.

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 Risk to brain of blue and yellow: Artificial colours are tested individually before approval, but then used in combination in foods, which is not tested. A Korean research team has tested various widely used combinations and concluded that the tartrazine (102) and brilliant blue (133) combination in particular showed synergistic effects and may adversely affect the growth of new brain cells in both children and adults. Park M and others, Risk assessment for the combinational effects of food color additives: neural progenitor cells and hippocampal neurogenesis. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2009;72(21-22):1412-23 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20077213?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1.

An allergy to Goldfish: When doctors were baffled by her 8 month old daughter’s full body hives and potentially life-threatening swelling of the lips, a mother in the U.S. carried out her own elimination diet with challenges. It took her 12 months to find the culprit - when the child reacted to cheddar flavoured Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers (with annatto 160b) but not the parmesan flavour (without 160b). Myles IA, Beakes D, An Allergy to Goldfish? Highlighting the Labeling Laws for Food Additives. World Allergy Organiz J. 2009 Dec 1;2(12):314-316.

Full story: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805955/?tool=pubmed.

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Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?

One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the Checklist of common mistakes. Readers tell us this list is very useful.

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   In brief

 Artificial red 127: FIN made a submission in December 2009 opposing extension of use of artificial red colour Erythrosine 127 (Application A603) http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/A603FIN01.pdf.

ADHD guidelines blocked: the release of controversial guidelines on ADHD have been stopped by the Australian Federal Government following the revelation that seven of the 10 people in charge of setting the guidelines had financial links to firms who make ADHD drugs and one psychiatrist, whose research into anti-psychotic drugs helped form the guidelines, is under investigation in the US for allegedly failing to declare $1.6 million in payments from drug companies. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/adhd-guidelines-pulled-after-payment-scandal/story-e6freuzr-1225801902002.

Diet could be the ADHD key, not drugs: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,26386783-421,00.html – the experience of the majority of Network members is that food intolerance is frequently misdiagnosed as ADHD, although some children appear to need medication. FIN’s July 2008 submission on these ADHD guidelines, meticulously researched and referenced, has never even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement from RACP:  http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/ADHD07.pdf 

Review of food labelling in Australia and New Zealand: thanks to everyone who helped the Network make a great submission to the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy currently underway for Australia and New Zealand. 5,500 submissions were received in three weeks! Watch out for public consultation in capital cities from mid-Feb to mid-May. You can read the policy http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/FINlabelsubmission01.pdf and attachment http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/FINlabelattachment01.pdf.

FDA reversal on gender bending/obesity chemicals in food containers: Two years after announcing that Bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic packaging ‘posed no risk to human health’, the U.S. FDA now has ‘some concerns’. BPA is currently permitted in polycarbonate bottles and epoxy resin liners in some cans. According to CHOICE, you can avoid BPA and phthalates by steering clear of plastics with the identification codes 3 and 7, and avoiding fresh meat and vegetables wrapped in cling film. Good news for Australians, in 2002 an industry survey found no BPA in products from SPC Ardmona, one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of canned foods

http://www.choice.com.au/Reviews-and-Tests/Food-and-Health/Food-and-drink/Safety/Plastic-food-containers/page/Bisphenol%20A.aspx. http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/content/view/print/274053.

Man 'nearly killed' by spray-on deodorant: A British man almost died on Christmas Day after suffering a severe allergic reaction to spray-on deodorant Lynx Fever that caused his throat to close. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/989672/man-nearly-killed-by-spray-on-deodorant.

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   Readers' stories

The previous reports from Food Intolerance Network members published since February 1999 http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

[902] One-liners (February 2010)

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

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[901] Has his sights on the Olympic games (February 2010) COURAGE AWARD

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

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[900] Asthma: from one hospital admission a week to one every 8-12 months (February 2010)

First, I have to thank you for the work you have done. It is just over 3 years since I first picked up a copy of Fed Up with Asthma after my then 16 month old son was diagnosed. The medication did not seem to be working as it should, and I knew there was something else going on. He has major difficulties with sulphites, MSG and flavour enhancers (and natural glutamates) and benzoates (although we still avoid all preservatives and artificial colours because we are used to it now!), and after seeing an allergist and finding a nut allergy as well, all the pieces fit together. He is now a happy and healthy little boy about to start pre-school, whose nut allergies have been decreasing over the last two years - in fact his peanut allergy is totally gone - and has gone from one hospital admission a week to one every 8-12 months. We truly thank you, because it was your book that put us on the right track. - Clare, Qld

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[899] Really bad eczema in baby (February 2010)

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.

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[898] Wow!!!! sums up effects of diet on tics (February 2010)

(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.

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[897] 9 year update: From typical ‘naughty’ 4yo boy to different kid (February 2010)

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

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[896] 635: Rash due to 635 in seasoning and skin of BBQ chicken (February 2010)

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

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[895] 621: Lifelong severe migraines due to MSG and other flavour enhancers (February 2010)

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

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[894] 621: MSG headaches in an 8 year old (February 2010)

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

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[893] Middle hear hearing loss and food intolerance (February 2010)

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

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[892] Wild and extremely violent behaviour due to undiagnosed coeliac disease (February 2010)

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 with Coeliac 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

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[891] Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) due to food (February 2010)

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

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[890] 160b: Head banging and annatto (February 2010)

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)

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[889] 160b: Sooky (complaining, whingeing, sad) behaviour after annatto (February 2010)

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

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[888] 160b: Defiant, teary, mega tantrums after annatto (February 2010)

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

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[887] 160b: Behavioural reaction to vitamins with annatto (February 2010)

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

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[886] 160b: Totally hyperactive due to annatto in cereal (February 2010)

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

Don’t forget, you can see all these current stories at http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories

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   Product updates

The full list of product updates is available at http://fedup.com.au/information/shopping-list/blog. Here are recent updates from that list:

A2 yoghurt from Freedom Food and Jalna should be available in March or April (UHT A2 milk is also available) – thanks to Donna - note that yoghurt is listed as moderate in amines in the new RPA Handbook 2009, so not suitable for your strict elimination diet.

Absolute Fruitz Freeze Dried Pear Slices are peeled sliced freeze dried Williams pears, available from health food stores, other outlets and the website. Good for lunchboxes. http://absolutefruitz.com/# - thanks to Melissa

Update: sadly, Mrs Mays Pear Fruit Chips have been discontinued

Mountain bread is way cheaper ordered online http://www.mountainbread.com.au/cgi-bin/index.pl?menu_id=245 – thanks to Val

Butcher in East Ringwood, Vic Deans Butcher Shop 78 Railway avenue East Ringwood in Vic will make sausages to your own recipe - normally only makes then on a Wednesday - can be ordered over the phone: 9870 6003, and are OK to be picked up on the Thursday. Will also make preservative free sausage meat for sausage rolls. – thanks to Donna

Butcher in Raymond Terrace, NSW Stevo's Riverside Meats, 9 William Street, Raymond Terrace NSW, phone 4987 2740 will make failsafe sausages specifically for you or you can get them out of his freezer ready made. You don’t have to buy them in 10kg lots. – thanks to Kylie

Sundaes without Topping Both McDonalds and Hungry Jacks soft serve Sundaes without topping are now free of annatto (160b) and therefore appear to be suitable for failsafers who can tolerate dairy foods (except for Hungry Jacks in WA which still contain annatto). Use a plastic cup instead of the cone which contains artificial colour Sunset Yellow (110). Our campaign The Great Macca's Experiment concerning the effects of annatto in Macca’s soft serve is now abandoned although you can still try Vaalia French vanilla yoghurt as an annatto challenge. http://mcdonalds.com.au/sites/mcdonalds.com.au/files/images/Ingredient-Listing-17-November-2009.pdf AND http://www.hungryjacks.com.au

Supernatural Rock Candy: Tasmanian company Sweet-AS has released a Supernatural rock candy (it has no baddies and was made just for failsafers). See contact information on www.sweet-as.com.au They will send them where ever you like (check ingredients are suitable for you before ordering). – thanks to Jackie

‘Pure’ non-dairy soya spread (in the UK) is failsafe. Ingredients: Soya Oil (45%), Water, Vegetable Oils, Salt (0.75%), Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides of Vegetable Fatty Acids), Vitamin E, Natural Flavouring, Vitamin A, Colour (Natural Carotenes), Vitamin D as D2, Vitamin B12. We checked and the colour is failsafe (betacarotene E160a) and there are no added antioxidants in the vegetable oils.

CORRECTION: the following item in the last newsletter refers only to the snackpack

***Product Warning***You'll Love Coles Pears in Syrup (snackpack) are NOT failsafe due to concentrated pear juice. According to Coles they need to refer to it as syrup because they have added sugar to thicken the juice. – thanks to Robin and Anne

For nappy rash, chapped lips

(1) Lansinoh 100% ultra pure lanoline no preservatives or other additives is available in pharmacies in the baby section (it’s actually called nipple cream); recommended by members of the failsafe eczema group for nappy rash, sore dry lips, dry red skin behind knees http://au.shopping.com/-hemroids+creams+lanolin

2) Duncan's Ointment (preservative free zinc oxide, http://www.scorkle.com.au)

Darifree calcium fortified potato drink is suitable for people who have to avoid dairy products. Available as a tin of powder, see http://www.biomedcafe.com.au/index.php?process=shop/productView.php&itemId=20013

Products for lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance or lactase deficiency is an inability to digest lactose – milk sugar – due to low levels of an enzyme called lactase. Lactase levels vary and can be temporarily reduced by gastroenteritis. Symptoms can range from mild abdominal discomfort, bloating and flatulence to abdominal cramps and diarrhoea and usually occur soon after ingesting certain dairy products especially milk and yoghurt. Long term lactose intolerance is rare in Caucasians though common in others and NOT to be confused with dairy intolerance. Further reading: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Lactose_intolerance


  • low lactose milk (e.g. Lactaid, Balance) from supermarkets, in the Longlife milk section.
  • Lact-easy Drops by Pharmotech 03 9531 6667 or ordered through pharmacies
  • Lacteeze Drops (NOT Lacteeze Tablets which have mint flavouring) http://www.alternativehealth.com.au/Product/lacteeze.htm - thanks to Brenda and Rosemaree

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   Your questions

All questions from Food Intolerance Network members that have been published since September 2002 http://fedup.com.au/information/frequently-asked-questions. Some of the information, particularly that about specific foods and what they contain, may be out of date – always check the Failsafe shopping list http://fedup.com.au/information/shopping-list/blog

Q. My husband and I have been happily married for 35 years. Although he hasn’t done the elimination diet, I know he’s better on lower salicylates. Now the doctor has put him on daily aspirin his personality has changed – it’s turned him into a grumpy old man and I don’t want to live with him any more. Is there an alternative?

A. If aspirin has been prescribed as a blood thinning medication, you can discuss switching to Clopidogrel with your doctor. (See page 115, RPA Elimination Diet Handbook 2009).

Q. I have suffering from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) for at least 15 years and it seems to be getting worse. Typically this would affect the hands and feet, but mine is mostly the back, thighs, chest etc. Recently I’ve spent over $1000 on Chinese Medicine and acupuncture and it did nothing. I’ve tried all the obvious things like deodorant, wearing cotton clothes, not eating hot or spicy food to no avail. Do you know of anyone that has been cured of this through food/additive elimination?

A. As with any food intolerance symptom, everyone is different. One reader reported ‘I have eliminated most things that contain salicylates - which is basically everything I eat – and I have stopped sweating ...’ and another failsafer found her excessive sweating was due to dairy foods. A three week trial of the elimination diet would show whether it would work for you.

Q. I have had to give my 4yo Maxamox antibiotics for a chest infection. I don't know if I'm imagining or not but she seems to have become oppositional, loud, disobedient and waking 4/5am (usually she wakes at 6.30) also she is doing some socially unacceptable behaviours (spitting, throwing cushions at her siblings’ friends, talking too much etc). Can you spot anything in the attached ingredients that she might be reacting to? She is intolerant to salicylates and additives.

A. I would expect sodium benzoate (preservative 211) and orange, lemon, peach, apricot flavouring (salicylates) in the Maxamox suspension to cause the kinds of behaviours you have described, most likely as a slow build up of symptoms. The Maxamox tablets not suspension would be suitable for failsafers – you can crush up plain white tablets and serve them in a spoonful of failsafe icecream but you would have to check with your pharmacist about dosage for a child.

Q. Do you know what colour is in Strepsils Honey/Lemon? Based on my son’s reaction to one lozenge, there has to be an artificial yellow colour additive. Also, can you tell me why no ingredient listing is required for medications?

A. When I asked a few years ago they contained Quinoline Yellow (artificial colour 104), now subject to a voluntary ban in the UK due to its effect on children’s behaviour. Why not list colours on medication labels? - in my experience the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration which regulates medication labelling) is extremely hostile to consumers and protective of Big Pharma. It is best to avoid all medications unless essential. For coughs and colds, Demazin Cough & Cold Syrup (2 years to adult) with butterscotch/vanilla flavour, no added colours, no preservatives, is suitable for failsafers (but beware of other Demazin syrups with additives).

Q. I have recently started reading your website as my 11 month old son still doesn’t sleep through the night. I started to think that it was something that he was eating. I was pretty lucky that the first 2 things I took out of his diet, Vegemite and margarine, have helped dramatically. My son really enjoys his Vegemite so I read all the labels of other alternative products. On the Marmite label it says it contains caramel 111, I have not been able to find any information on this. What is it and is it safe to eat????

A. Caramel iii is another way of saying caramel 150c, also called ammonia caramel because of how it is made. 150c has been found to decrease white cell counts in rats but only when the rats are deficient in a certain B vitamin. Caramel colour is not likely to cause your son’s sleeping problems. The culprit is most likely yeast extract (essentially MSG) - in Vegemite, Marmite and other similar products. See Cooks Corner in Failsafe Newsletter #63 for a substitute.

Q. What’s in the popcorn they sell in cinemas? I’m sure it affects my 4 yo.

A. At Hoyts the popcorn contains tartrazine (102), one of the artificial colours now subject to a voluntary ban in the UK because it can cause irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in children. http://www.hoyts.com.au/guest_service/candy_bar.aspx

Q. Are smoked cold meats generally preservative-free, or would sulfites still be used?

A. Smoked meats are listed as very high in salicylates, amines and glutamates so are never failsafe. I would expect ham to contain one of the nitrate/nitrite preservatives (249-252) although some manufactured meat contains sulphites. The Fine Sliced Ham below is described as quality boneless lean leg ham, Naturally Wood Smoked, No Artificial Colours, No Artificial Flavours. It contains preservative 250 and traces of sulphites. You can see the full ingredient listing at http://www.hans.com.au/products/hans-fine-sliced-97-fat-free-leg-ham-100g/

Q. I currently use Campbell's Real Stock in Beef and Chicken (Ingredients: Beef Stock (water, beef, salt), vinegar, salt, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, yeast extract, natural food colour (Caramel1), natural flavours, spices and wheat gluten). What is in this that is not failsafe and what could I use as an alternative?

A. That stock is not failsafe due to vinegar (sals and amines); soy sauce, yeast extract, natural flavours (all with sals, amines, glutamates); and spices (sals). You can make your own stock, see recipe below.

Q. Is grain fed beef OK?

A. Grain fed means feedlot beef where animals are crowded together and low levels of antibiotics may be mixed into the feed over a long period of time. It is failsafe but if you can, it’s best to buy non-feedlot that can be described as free range, grass fed, pasture fed, organic or have no label at all. 

Q. I’m failsafe, gluten free and dairy free – when I get stuck without food, what can I buy as a quick healthy snack in a supermarket?

A. A popper of So Good Soymilk Lite contains about 100 calories, similar to 10 raw cashews, 1 container Heinz babyfoods Pureed Fruity Pear, 15 Red Rock Deli Sea Salt potato chips, 1 medium Golden Delicious apple (moderate in sals), or 1 medium firm banana (moderate in amines).

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   Around the groups: getting in touch

Around the groups

The failsafe groups are still buzzing with the implications of the many salicylate and amine updates in the new RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook 2009. These changes are based on clinical experience, not new analyses. For newbies, there are few changes to the strict elimination diet. People who have been living with the diet satisfactorily for years do not have to alter what they eat. However, for people who have been experiencing difficulties, fine-tuning may be easier knowing what you are most likely to tolerate. I’ve been enjoying a few slices of peeled cucumber now that it has been downgraded to the moderate category. If you are still using the charts in Friendly Food, you can ask for our updated Salicylate and Amine Mistakes information sheets 2010. Order forms for the new handbook are available from the RPA website http://www.sswahs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/allergy/

New factsheets Factsheets are becoming our major way of making information available, now in printable format as well as online.

Can you help?

Monique in Qatar would like to hear from anyone doing failsafe in the Middle East. You can contact her via Kathleen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



Here’s a Smarties bus in Sydney but we missed getting a photo of the Smarties advertisement that says “No artificial colours or flavours” – can anyone take a snap and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?


 We now have a failsafe contact in China! Beijing, China, Eleanor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Farewell and thanks to our contact in Singapore, Jackie, who is moving to the UK.

Over 1.8 million people have now visited www.fedup.com.au – about 1,000 per day.

Over 7,000 families now receive this quarterly newsletter.

See http://fedup.com.au/information/support/contacts for local contacts who can generally answer some questions about failsafe eating - many have brochures and a copy of the DVD to lend out. They can also advise on supportive dietitians locally.

Email support groups: we currently recommend failsafe3 for beginners. It is the smallest of the big general groups. You can join by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.


 Coming talks by Sue Dengate - full detail at http://fedup.com.au/information/support/fedup-roadshow-talks

 Over 70 people have requested talks on the next Fed Up Roadshow, from 9 August to 10 September 2010, taking in NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, SA, and southern QLD, but only 20 talks can be squeezed in. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. during May if you want to be considered to host a talk.

Coming talks in Melbourne by Kathleen and Jenny of Additive Education http://www.additiveeducation.com.au


NOW AVAILABLE in Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Nepali and USA. http://fedup.com.au/information/support/food-intolerance-brochures. Translators for other languages please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Printable trifold brochures on food intolerance and oppositional defiance are available. We'll post two free that you can copy, or you can buy bulk copies at cost $A0.33 each plus postage. See instructions on the website for accessing pdf versions. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with enquiries.


All Failsafe Newsletters from 1998-present http://fedup.com.au/fedup-newsletters. There is a wealth of research, issue discussion, recipes, personal reports and recipes now available in one place. But some of the links are out of date and you must always check current products rather than relying on historical information.


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   Cook’s corner

Question: has anybody made Dr Dengate’s UGF loaf using quinoa flour (from Failsafe Newsletter #62) – any problems or comment?

Vegemite Substitute

A mother wrote "I have recently started reading your website as my 11 month old son still doesn't sleep through the night. I started to think that it was something that he was eating. I was pretty lucky that the first 2 things I took out of his diet, Vegemite and margarine, have helped dramatically."

Vegemite and similar spreads are very high in salicylates, amines and glutamates. This nutritious and tasty recipe for was developed by a mother of 5 who says: ‘the kids love it and eat it all up the day it is made’.

500g minced beef

500g assorted failsafe vegetables

water as needed

salt to taste

Put meat and vegetables in a pot just covered with water, bring to the boil and simmer until cooked. Add salt to taste and blend until smooth. Eat on the day of cooking or freeze in small containers or icecube trays) and use the day it is thawed. Can also be used with pasta or as a pizza topping – thanks to Jane, WA

Easy chicken stock

Bones can be rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and to a lesser extent potassium, silicon and other trace minerals. Stock made from bones (bone broth) is now considered to be a high quality multi-mineral and protein supplement. See http://www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2005/broth0205.htm. Preferably use organic or free-range chicken which will have stronger better quality bones.

fresh or frozen chicken necks and/or wings (or left over chicken carcass from roast)

cold water

pinch of citric acid (now listed as moderate ... so optional or only use a little)

1 cup chopped celery and shallots

optional: small piece of carrot if not on strict diet

Put chicken necks and/or wings in a small saucepan with other ingredients. Add enough cold water to cover bones. Put saucepan on stove on low heat and slowly bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until it smells good - e.g.1-2 hours or more (longer if starting with raw meat but be aware that long cooking may develop too many amines). Optional, you can cook the raw chicken necks in the microwave first. If using raw meat you may need to skim off the scum after the first hour. When cooked, strain into another container and discard the bones. Cool in fridge and skim off fat when it hardens. Store stock in refrigerator (5 days) or freezer (months). You can use this stock in vegetable soups, with noodles (e.g. Fantastic rice noodles), over pot roasts and in other recipes calling for stock.

Crunchy chunky cashew biscuits with dairy-free gluten-free option

125g butter (dairy-free option: Nuttelex) at room temp

1 cup caster sugar (or less to taste )

1 egg

1¼ cups SR flour (gf option: gluten-free SR flour)

2 tsp carob power (option: cocoa for people who tolerate amines)

250g raw cashews , roughly chopped (or not!)

Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until combined. Carefully stir in sifted flour and cocoa, then add cashews. Roll into balls and place on baking paper lined trays (used 2 full ones). Cook in slow oven 160’C (or 150”C fan-forced ) for approx 18-20 mins. Trust me, you will wish you’d made double quantity -­ thanks to Lyndel.

The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every three months, and also see it in colour with graphics on www.fedup.com.au. Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter

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© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to Sheryl, Monica, Linda, Kylie, Donna, Anne, Denise, Karen, Robin, Jenny, Bron, Melissa and of course to Kathleen Daalmeyer and the many others who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter. Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, (Murdoch Books).