Failsafe 77 May - August 2014


The Food Intolerance Network provides information and support for 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.

Read the Newsletter on the web at
Download as a pdf, ebook for Kindle or ebook for epub.


Additives in Europe - gotta know the enemy

Bread preservative: thumbs up for ethyl alcohol, thumbs down for cultured dextrose (282 in disguise)

Research: Two new studies link A1 (but not A2) milk to gut inflammation; "Sea of calm" says teacher; Food and depression subjects wanted

In brief: Dietitians and other health professionals list is now available directly; Using your phone/tablet to view ; From Toxic Trolley to Trusted Trolley book review

Your questions: Is failsafe eating cheap or expensive?

Success stories: [1259] – [1273] including very positive What has failsafe meant for your family?

Failsafe shopping list: When is A2 not really A2? ; Sanitarium Gluten Free Weet-Bix; Amcal One-a-day vitamin and mineral tablets NO LONGER FAILSAFE!

Factsheets: Updates

Support community: Meet our members, how to get support

Cooks’ Corner: Hint for marking failsafe food; Cashella; Collation of Failsafe Blogs/Websites; Dr Dengate’s ultimate gluten-free (UGF) bread for Thermomix

Thanks and admin



Newsletter 77 is now available, with a focus on feedback from readers including 22 eye-opening brief responses to the facebook question What has failsafe meant for you and your family?

Plus the account of a mother who says she can relate to children on the spectrum because when she is not strict with the diet “my eyes can’t focus on written text. Reading becomes very difficult … I find it difficult to look at faces and keep eye contact …”. And this thought provoking entry: “My working life has been devoted to plant chemistry … I have never been, and never will be, a believer that fruit is an essential part of our diet. Vegetables are where it’s at …”.

Also see reports from a man who lost 62 kg by switching to “real food, not what man has created”; the mother of a 6 yo who says “I am so proud of him I might burst”; spectacular improvements with two adult itchy rashes with photos; a 12 year old whose weirdly slow-growing hair has sped up on a gluten free diet, and many more.

In other sections, see the profound answer to Is failsafe eating cheap or expensive ? – you’ll never want to eat processed food again - and much more … as well as useful hints and recipes in Cooks Corner. Many thanks to all who have contributed to this newsletter!

Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate


Additives in Europe - gotta know the enemy

On our recent 3 month hiking tour of Europe, I was interested to see the effect of the food industry’s global Clean Label strategy. This is a push to make consumers believe that food is healthier – though not to actually improve the food.

Nearly everywhere we saw food for sale, we saw the colour green. According to BigFoodSpeak, green signifies environmental awareness. In England there were endless signs telling us the food was healthy, or good, or fair trade, or prepared in our own kitchen or grown by a local farmer. But … the food is still the same. It was so hard to find genuinely healthy food. One woman in an English fine food store told us ‘the food is getting better’. No, it isn’t. It just looks that way. Most of it is still loaded with fat, salt and additives. They’ve removed some artificial colours and changed the labels to look healthier, is all.

Compared to our trip in 2001, the food in Europe is worse. It was easier then to avoid artificial colours than to avoid the bread preservative now. On the 14-day 190 mile Coast to Coast walk we couldn’t eat bread because all except from one bakery café contained preservative E282 calcium propionate - as cultured dextrose in the organic loaves - so we filled up on chips for dinner. What a disaster. Despite hiking nearly 1000 kms and catering for ourselves whenever possible, we both gained weight - 5.5 kg for me and 4 kg for Howard. (It’s already half gone thanks to the advice in our Failsafe Weight Loss factsheet)

Of course, European food is far better than English food, but there are plenty of traps. The problem is that European consumers know nothing about additives. The Green Day song that seemed to be playing everywhere said it all: “gotta know the enemy”.

Read more for sulphite preservatives in vino and sidra, artificial sweeteners, artificial colours and annatto E160b, flavour enhancers, the good news and our most memorable meal, based on archaeology from 2,000 years ago.

Bread preservative: thumbs up for ethyl alcohol, thumbs down for cultured dextrose (282 in disguise)

On our nearly 1000 km walking in Europe and the UK we were worried about the bread preservative E282 and sure enough, we only found one loaf of preservative-free bread – in a small bakery - on the entire Coast to Coast walk in England. Obviously we wanted to avoid preservative E282 (calcium propionate) because for Howard it causes excessive fatigue, not what you want when you are trying to walking 320 km (190 miles) in 2 weeks, mostly in atrocious weather.

The good news is that bakers in Italy have developed a safe alternative to propionate-based preservatives in highly processed breads: ethanol, listed as ‘Treated with ethyl alcohol’ (trattato con alcool etilico). Ethanol is naturally produced by yeasts during baking and thus is a natural alternative to preservatives. In Italy, sandwich loaves contain up to 2% ethanol wt/dry wt and do not need any addition of sorbic or propionic acid. We also found sandwich loaves in Germany with the same treatment...
Read more

In English speaking countries – where food scientists are less conscientious about nasty additives – cultured dextrose is increasingly replacing 282 because it looks so innocent.

“I thought it was like yoghurt” - health conscious breastfeeding mother whose baby was sleeping badly


The truth is that cultured dextrose is a propionate-based preservative designed to fool consumers because it looks more ‘natural’. It is no better than E282 but you have to be a food scientist to understand that. Consumers are confused, including the people who write the organic standards, so now cultured dextrose is even used in organic breads – and yes, we saw that on the Coast to Coast too.
Read more


Two new studies link A1 (but not A2) milk to gut inflammation

In the first study, researchers found that mice fed A1 beta casein (but not A2 beta casein) had increased levels of inflammation in the gut and associated immune effects. This is the first study to demonstrate conclusively that consumption of A1 beta casein leads to physiological responses by the immune system.

The second study confirmed the inflammatory effect of A1 beta casein in the gut. Rats fed A1 showed an increase of about 65% in the inflammatory marker MPO. Researchers also found that A1 beta casein slowed down transit of food through the digestive system compared to A2 beta-casein. Slower transit time can lead to digestive discomfort, abdominal bloating and/or constipation.

A1 milk is the ‘normal’ milk we find in supermarkets.

Milks that are free of A1 beta casein include:

• cows milk from some European herds particularly in France and Spain
• A2 brand cows milk in Australia, New Zealand and most recently, the UK
• all milk from other animals including goats, sheep, buffalo, pure Asian cattle, camels and yaks
• human breastmilk

Read more see also marketing spin on A1 versus A2

"Sea of calm" says teacher

One of the teachers in our Cooma North additive-free trial commented about looking out on "a sea of calm" in her classroom. This is not the experience of many teachers these days.

Students in NSW are being suspended or expelled from public schools at record rates, with the latest figures revealing a 35 per cent rise in the number of times students have been sent home for misbehaving over the past five years.

Almost half of all long suspensions are for persistent misbehaviour while 39 per cent are for physical violence.

Food can be a reason for such behaviour so with an increase in food additives in school canteens and the food supply we can expect an increase in bad behaviour.

See what happens when schools go additive free - a dramatic decrease in interrruptions, suspensions, and noisy behaviour: (the Nana Glen trial)

VCoomaNorth2007 (the Cooma North trial)

Read more

Food and depression - Deakin University is looking for more people in Melbourne or Geelong who are over 18 and have been diagnosed with depression to join this study. They are not testing failsafe but might be influenced. For more information contact
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to Read more


Dietitians and other health professionals list is now available directly at - if you visit a person on this list, please give feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we can help others.

Using your phone to view - at the bottom of each page you can switch between mobile and standard versions of the pages.

From Toxic Trolley to Trusted Trolley - WA mothers Kelli Penman, Michelle Bowles, Alana Allen and Nyssa Millington have just released a new book that gives the engaging and funny stories of four families who went additive-free - but not failsafe - then came together to help other parents. Particularly interesting is an excellent summary of the corruption of the food additive approval process in the USA, which applies equally to Australia and New Zealand:

43% of food additives are designated Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and don't get USFDA oversight because food additive manufactures can decide for themselves if new additives are GRAS without consulting the USFDA. A study found that many of the scientists who make those decisions have conflicts of interest. 35% of food additives deemed harmless were evaluated by manufacturer or contractor hired by manufacturer ....
read more


Q: Is failsafe eating cheap or expensive?

Many people tell us that failsafe eating is far cheaper because you are eating a lot less processed food. The foods are not exotic but the ordinary foods which our grandparents ate.

The sky-high costs of processed food were starkly shown in a fascinating article by nutritionist Rosemary Stanton and Christina Pollard Why bad food is good for business.

Look at the dollar cost of nutrients per 100g


It makes business sense to load good foods up with cheap sugar and cheap fats and sell it as diluted food, but the real costs are transferred to the health system for which we all pay. Look at the margins for adding a little bit of “magic” fruit!

Note: See all FAQs at Some of the FAQ information, particularly about specific foods and what they contain, may be out of date – always check the Failsafe shopping list for the latest information.

Many more questions are answered by knowledgeable failsafers in the
Failsafe forum and the 7,600 member Sue Dengate facebook group, which you are free to join.


You can scroll through the full text of all stories: for every story we report, there are probably another 10 that cover similar issues. And these are just the ones we get to hear about. Names have been changed to protect privacy.
Success story collections: organised by symptom or by additive keywords are proving the most popular downloads from the website. They'll be added to as time permits.

[1273] What has failsafe meant for you and your family? (August 2014)

These are the comments in just 24 hours after asking the above question on the
Sue Dengate facebook page

38 years ago, at the age of 2, I was put on the earliest versions of the failsafe diet. It saved my family's sanity and allowed me to tame the "grumpies and the sillies", which is what it felt and often still feels like - Jodi

Not only has failsafe changed my son's inappropriate behaviours and many more mild health conditions, it has also given the family a better understanding of the bad chemicals in a lot of healthy and non-healthy foods. I love that our bodies are now consuming less chemicals - Danielle

Failsafe gave me quality of life again after years of terrible eczema. Now I control it instead of it controlling me and my family! - Ruth from facebook group

Failsafe woke my brain up! - Carlia

My children are no longer animals. I've discovered how wonderful life is with them again! Thank you! - Melissa

Bub was up hourly, all night every night, on a good night. Now sleeps 12 hours. (Started elimination in February when he was 8 months) - Karissa

Finding sanity in the midst of utter chaos and despair. When no one else will listen or believe you, when you think you are alone, you find this, and some sense of normalcy and equilibrium is discovered - Elizabeth

At my absolute worst, with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and IBS, with speech issues, constant headaches, psoriasis, untold medications and a very real chance of having to use a wheelchair, I can easily say FS saved my life. I'm now fit and active, run a business, teach belly dancing and thoroughly enjoy life - Sue

My daughter can be who she really is - Tina

I used to be alone, googling like a maniac trying to understand why I was so sick from eating. My googling led me to Failsafe and suddenly I wasn't alone anymore - Sonja

My son was diagnosed ADHD/ODD 4yrs ago. Luckily with a supportive paed & knowledgeable nutritionist we made our way thru elimination & challenges to find a reliable baseline. My son can now function acceptably in school without the need for medication - Samantha

Was unable to sleep, itchy, always tired and cranky, loss of motor skills and at times loss of speech and thought. Failsafe has given me my life back thank you - Rona

My son had terrible weeping and bleeding eczema, and we were spending a fortune on prescription creams and remedies that weren't really working. His skin cleared up once we eliminated food chemicals, but that was just the start of his improvement - he was sleeping better, his stomach pains disappeared, and our doctor (who had been watching him as an early diagnosis case of ADD) told us that he saw an enormous improvement and wasn't concerned anymore - Lindsey

Health and Happiness - Amy

My son spent the first nine months of his life miserable and in pain. No one was able to help us. I stumbled across the failsafe diet by accident and tried it in desperation. It worked where nothing else had - Veronica

Our family was falling apart over our very bright 7 y.o. son's loud, argumentative, nonsensical melodramatic behaviour. Failsafe eating returned him to the calm, loving, intelligent child we thought we'd lost. From struggling with Year 2 Maths he is now a self-sufficient straight A student with an academic scholarship for Yrs 11 & 12, plans to study Law, his driver's licence - and a girlfriend! - Belinda

School mornings have gone from hysterical crying daughter (and often Mother) to up and dressed and keen for school! And Mum has gone from sick in the stomach stress ball to being able to enjoy hanging out with my girl again! THANK YOU! - Strawbz

From tummy aches, ear infections, motor tics, sleeping issues and behavioural problems to happy and healthy boys who maintain beautiful relationships with friends and family - Jenny

It means being able to laugh with my children, not constantly feel at war with them! Now that my older daughter is 12 she thanks us for caring enough about her to keep her failsafe - Kylie

After 10 years of suffering breathing problems which I knew were food related and not being believed by my GP or the Chest Clinic to discover Salicylate Intolerance and FS was wonderful - Barbara

I prayed to God for help to heal my beautiful daughter & he answered ... I found the Failsafe diet & we are forever thankful!!! - Vee

Our 12 yr old son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, and we'd experienced over 15 school suspensions between year 1 and 2 due to periods of uncontrolled violence. Since we found the Failsafe diet 7 years ago, our lives have turned around, and it is so easy to love him, including his wicked sense of humour and self-confidence - Natasha

[1272] One-liners (August 2014)

I tried vega testing, naturopathy, hair analysis and 'special formulas' for my wild child....was all a waste of money with the 'cure' at best doing nothing but usually making her worse. FAILSAFE saved me and my dtr. I was seriously having thoughts no mother should have. FAILSAFE changed both our lives - Simone.

Rruugghh after being so careful of my foods I had takeaway tonight and my skin has gone into melt down, bright red itchiness rash .... I have heart palpitations and a headache within 30 min! MSG is my killer ... Just had to take two antihistamines, two steroids and pain killers. So cross with myself! - Brianna from facebook group

My daughter is 8 has been diagnosed with ODD. We have all been failsafe since mid Feb 2014 and I cannot believe the difference this has made to our lives...Trina from facebook group

[1271] Sensory processing and diet: “his first 'beautiful day' that he has had at school, ever” - facebook thread (August 2014)

Smells have never been much of a sensory trigger, mostly proprioception, crashing, possibly noise, he talks so loud and it appears he has difficulty filtering noise.. I feel those triggers are the ones that food may not help.. ? After all this, however, I would love to tell you all we had the most amazing afternoon.. He got out his homework, without me asking, and proceeded to do 3 nights worth of HW in one sitting.. Then went on to go over his spelling words.. Now before this would have been 10 minutes of struggling to get him to finish writing one word on the paper.. One word.. Constant redirection.. And crying.. And emotional overreaction.. And anxiety about performance.. I mean.. There have been some ups and downs.. And there will always be.. But I have never seen him so engaged in an academic task.. Ever.. And has gone up in reading levels too.. Reading his first chapter books.. It really is pretty incredible.. He is trying so hard.. So much to bear at just 7 years old..- Susan

I get very sensitive to noise light and smell if I am not strict with the diet. My 11 has no control over her emotions. She is a different child on the diet. Before we started the diet and when she was a toddler she wanted to kill her twin sisters. When she got older she was obsessed with leaving them in the forest. We stopped reading Hansel and Gretel to her. Funny now but wasn't then. When she had her first food challenge we could not leave her unattended with the girls. We had to literally sit between them or keep them in separate rooms. You be surprised the impact food can have on behaviour - Michelle

In relation to reading: when I am not strict with the diet my eyes can’t focus on written text. Reading and processing becomes very difficult. It's difficult to explain. I find it even difficult to look at faces and keep eye contact. My brain finds it too difficult to focus and my communication skills go downhill. Can't explain why but when I’m like this I can relate to children on the spectrum. It's a horrible feeling - Michelle

Wow thanks Michelle, what a great insight into what it is like.. I have no issues like this so I am learning as I go with my son as he can't articulate what it feels like. He is starting to have moments of clarity like never before and the closest he has come to explaining what you are describing is.. "Mummy, sometimes when you talk to me I don't understand what you are saying.. Could you please be more clear?" Which was HUGE for him. And he struggles to maintain eye contact.. He can do it, but it is obvious he wrestles with it.. Thank you for explaining, and the diet has definitely made a difference..- Susan

My other girl had problems understanding her teacher. She would come home and say that she doesn't understand her teacher and it turned out she meant that literally. Also I have to be very clear with my eldest when she is not well. It's either yes or no never maybe or we will see. I still find that concept very difficult as I like being flexible. When she wasn't well she would keep on saying I don't understand adults they say one thing and do another and became very distrusting and emotional and depressed - MichelleI find the same thing with my son, I have to be very clear, sometimes just ONE or two word instructions. Too many words and he starts staring through me and my words are just arbitrary noise. At school, since the diet, he finally now is actively walking (walking! not running!) up to his teacher and telling him he doesn't understand and asking for help, who couldn't be happier to oblige because he is finally engaging in the work..He even said last week he had his first 'beautiful day' that he has had at school, ever (Gr-2) ...- Susan

See also

[1270] "Let’s just rule out coeliac disease" (August 2014)

I have 2 boys now 7 and 5. Both have had a range of true food allergies and also intolerances along the way, my eldest in particular. It was at age 5 when we saw our RPAH allergists for our annual review that I mused that I still wasn't convinced about his gut health despite our FAILSAFE diet etc etc. I wondered was it the salicylates intolerance causing this poor gut health, or was it the gut health causing the salicylates intolerance...? We had some pretty full-on behavioural issues to contend with also - defiance, oppositionality, anxiety etc. ADHD was thought about, but dismissed as there was no evidence of this behaviour at school, rather more a case of the street angel home devil scenario. Was it our parenting? I felt I had always set firm boundaries and given lots of love etc etc. Lots of questions....

Lo and behold, we were finally advised to "let’s just rule out coeliac disease".

And the more I read after that next bombshell, the more I came to terms with that being the problem, before testing had even begun! And what do you know. FINALLY, at age 6, he was diagnosed with coeliac disease. It was almost a relief!!

Now almost 18 months on, his gut has healed well. My suspicions (my "gut feeling"!) were on track; his poor gut health had paved the way for his predominantly salicylate food intolerances. Now that his gut health has improved on his gluten free diet he tolerates whatever salicylates he likes (hooray!!!!).

His energy levels have improved. His behaviour has improved. Life has improved!

I should add that we obviously tried gluten free for some time on the elimination diet, but it just wasn't a long enough period for the necessary healing to happen. We never seemed to reach baseline, no matter what we did. But low sals helped a lot, with behaviour, and skin. So that was our general approach along the way. Because we were nut free and low sals, low dairy (previous allergy) and all the rest of it, we were pretty low gluten too. The kids were used to buckwheat pancakes and other ORGRAN products! So the transition to a completely gluten free diet for us has not been difficult at all.

But herbs and spices have made a comeback, as have lots of colourful vegies and fruits.....IN MODERATION.

I will never be able to let go of what FAILSAFE has taught me along the way though. The over-abundance of foods in our culture, the demand for out of season produce, the international cuisines having changed out palates and minds to thinking we need these flavourful foods all the time, despite out bodies not always agreeing....

I have a far more balanced approach to food nowadays. Whilst they'd always been fairly healthy considerations, I know we overdid the fruits and probably underdid the vegies.

Moderation is certainly the key. Variety. Simplicity. Good whole foods. Fermented foods. Old-fashioned ways. Bone broths. Seasonal produce. Local produce. But it is so lovely to have the choice back!

So thank you for all you do. Little by little people are learning to cut out the crap, wising up to the old ways! Supermarkets are changing (a little). School canteens are changing (a little). There's still a LONG way to go!!! - thanks to Kim who has been our Newcastle failsafe contact.

[1269] Lost 62 kg by eating 'real food, not what man has created' (August 2014)

I had to give up all food additives and chemicals at the age of 55 because of the physical and mental problems they were causing me. Now I just eat veggies and fruit. Nothing else. I lost 137 pounds (62 kg) in 18 months. I am 5 feet 6 inches tall and at 137 pounds. So I'm at a 50/50 weight loss ... 137 lost and I weigh 137. I think I may have finally found my body's equilibrium where it wants to hang out at :-) I keep going up and down a pound or 2 or 3 every few days.

The youtube video that started me on the diet September 2011 is the Last Heart Attack by Dr Sanjay Gupta. Among the reasons I forced myself to do this diet was to get the weight off of my spine as I have a lower back spine injury and can't take pain meds for the past few years as they make me suicidal and cause me more pain. Also the main artery in my heart - the left descending artery - is 40 % blocked but not enough for a stent. So my family doctor told me not to worry about it until I need a stent. Like what!!! Needless to say I didn't listen to him. I now have a cardiologist who is going to see me once a year in September and see how my blockage is doing and if it gets better or worse with this diet.

No wonder the USA population is so sickly and diseased. If people would eat real food and not what man has created, they would see things change. As Jack LaLanne always said... "if man made it...don't eat it." - Tim, Pennsylvania


I found Tim's story inspiring, but as an Aussie, hadn't heard of Jack LaLanne. This amazing man was born in the US in 1914, describing himself as a hyperactive kid with a tendency to lose his temper and an addiction to junk food. The turning point in his life came at age 15 at a lecture by a nutritionist who told young Jack he was a "walking garbage can" and advocated the benefits of whole grains, a vegetarian diet and exercise. LaLanne went on to became a fitness and nutrition guru credited with opening one of the first health clubs in the country, preaching the health benefits of regular exercise and a good diet while doctors reviled him as an exercise 'nut' whose programs would make their patients "muscle-bound" and cause "severe medical problems" like heart attacks. He lived healthily to the age of 96 and kept up his daily weightlifting workouts until the day before he died of pneumonia in 2011.

LaLanne's two simple rules of nutrition could have been written for failsafers: "if man made it, don't eat it", and "if it tastes good, spit it out".

More information:
The Last Heart Attack by Dr Sanjay Gupta

[1268] Swollen eyes, runny nose due to KFC chips, popcorn, fast food (August 2014)

I recently came across your website while googling symptoms my 4 yr old daughter displayed after eating KFC chips. My partner had taken our children to town and as a treat got some KFC. When I came home from work both my kids were asleep which is a bit unusual for 6pm. My partner was in an incredibly cranky mood and said he felt like crap because of the KFC.

When my 4 yr old woke up her eyes were very red and swollen and weepy. At first I thought she had conjunctivitis and washed her eyes with a warm salty water mix. My partner then said her eyes swelled up immediately after eating the KFC. I believed straight away that she had an allergic reaction to the chips, which is all she ate. Our 1 yr old would not eat any of it. 2 weeks later we went to the movies and my 4 yr old ate a child size popcorn and had a similar but less severe reaction of red eyelids and drowsiness. I was now convinced she had developed a reaction to the salt used. Neither of these foods had labelling about what the ingredients were. Once I had read stories and information from your website it started to dawn on me how many other times she had reactions to foods. The biggest one being after eating a peanut butter sandwich some months before the KFC incident. After eating the sandwich she threw up, she had never had that reaction to peanut butter before. In fact she had never thrown up since being a baby.

I truly believe the 600 numbers have created her allergic reaction to peanuts and have since started to read all labels of the foods she eats. The doctor and nurse at my daughter's last check up did acknowledge that she could be allergic to those numbers but could offer very little advice except to cut them from our diets. On the peanut allergy they recommended not giving her peanuts for a while to let her immune system settle down.

Since cutting out any food with those numbers and not eating fast food my daughter has not had any more reactions with swollen eyes or runny nose. - Rebecca, by email


Some experts think that food allergies are increasing, but they don't know why. The newer flavour enhancers called ribonucleotides (635, 627 and 631) are known to boost the immune system, so in theory it is possible they could lead to true allergies which are essentially an over-boosted immune system. This is not mentioned in the scientific literature but was suggested to me by an immunology graduate whose own child developed true allergies during two weeks of 635 reactions while her parents, doctors and caregivers tried to work out the cause of her rash. (It was chicken flavoured crackers with E635 given to her at the childcare centre). We have noticed that some other children and adults in our network have also developed true allergies after reactions to 635. We wonder whether these additives could contribute to an increase in allergies particularly since they are added to baby formulas. But is anyone looking?

We would like to hear from anyone who has developed true allergies after suffering a reaction to the 600 number flavour enhancers.

More information at

[1267] Salicylate intolerance and dermatitis "I'm living again instead of dying" (July 2014)

Your site is a life saver. I've been suffering from many of the symptoms associated with salicylate intolerance, especially dermatitis. Poisoning myself on what I thought was an extremely good diet. What an education. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Four months later: My symptoms have completely resolved, simply through steadfastly following failsafe eating. When you've been ailing as badly as I was and to now to be well, merely by eliminating certain foods, that’s proof. I have healthy skin, hair and stronger nails. No more frequent urination, no more constipation and my sleeping patterns are normal. I breathe easily, have strong energy and a clear, happy frame of mind. I'm living again instead of dying. The old saying "the proof is in the eating" is true. The failsafe diet works. My doctors agree.

Failsafe eating is being kind to your body and eating what’s right for you.

Your research, diet and site is a life changer. Sincerely, I can't thank you enough - reader from Victoria.

[1266] 635: Mother of all skin reactions, with photos (July 2014)

riborash1266a riborash1266b
Before coming across your site trying to understand a reaction to Lay’s Bar-B-Que potato chips, I’d been tested for food ‘allergies’ and have experienced increasingly severe rashes since 2008, when I had the mother of all skin reactions that lasted for several months (chronic hives (uticaria), swollen, droopy eyes, and rashes) . The doctors simply diagnosed eczema and food intolerances and said there was no cure. Well, SOMEthing changed to suddenly cause all these reactions ­ I just felt I should be able to ‘change it back’ somehow.

I now know that MSG, yeast extract, and of course the disodium guanylate E627 and disodium inosinate E361 (found in those evil Lay’s potato chips) are absolute triggers for me. It’s difficult to avoid, but the good thing is I know now and can avoid feeding these excitotoxins to my family. I’m outraged at these chemicals being added to our foods Excitotoxins, in addition to making foods delicious, frequently cause permanent nerve damage ­ is it worth it?? Not for me, but for the companies that make these foods, YES because they taste good so people buy them.

Thank you for this information ! I'm including some pictures of this rash in varying stages of severity; you're welcome to use them on your site if you wish. - Jodie

[1265] One-liners (March 2014)

Your website is AMAZING. Thank you - Julie

I have been on a low salicylate diet for 9 years and it has dramatically improved my life. I am no longer plagued by asthma if I keep to a low salicylate diet- what a relief to be able to breathe. Other benefits are- never catching colds and flus; no constant phlegm, blocked nose and hayfever; no headaches at all instead of daily ones; and no PMT. I am now full of energy and am able to live my life fully - Rosemaree

I am a recent convert to failsafe eating after a friend told me how she cleared up her daughter's eczema. Our family is currently on the elimination diet to try and figure out exactly which food chemicals affect whom and in what way ... Our oldest daughter's eczema and mood / engagement has already been transformed by cutting out gluten and cutting down on salicylates from term 4 last year. She is literally a different child. My other daughter's problems (6 yrs old) with wetting her pants during the day / sneaky poos / wetting the bed occasionally have absolutely stopped since she went off dairy - Edwina

Our message is not popular, doesn't make anyone any money, is complicated, but IT WORKS, as thousands of families can confirm! - Howard Dengate

[1264] Eat more vegies! (March 2014)

I bought ‘Fed Up’ in around 2005 when my daughters were 7 and 10 – we were living in the UK at the time and I was between marriages. My eldest was pretty much OK (I thought) but the youngest had always been a bit more tricky – she was grumpy and inflexible. We were pretty strict with the elimination diet and all three of us did it. Within less than a week it was like someone had returned two beautiful daughters to me – they were chatty , happy, positive and life was good. I was struck by how it proved that adding sugar to food does not cause bad behaviour – as youngest could add as much sugar to her weatabix as she liked and it had no effect – one mouthful of cocoa pops were enough to send the eldest into tears and the youngest back to her former behaviour. You have to remember this was 10 years ago though now – so my memory is a little faded. Ketchup was a big deal in our family – and still raises its ugly head sometimes. I know that one trial we did (with the cocoa pops) led to the girls asking me to throw the food out though – as they felt really weird. I really wish we could all go back on the diet sometimes – but it’s not so easy with teenagers. I may try again though – one way or another.

My working life has been devoted to plant chemistry – I specialise in the things in plants which make them coloured, flavoured and bioactive. Mostly the phytonutrients. I have never been, and never will be, a believer that fruit is an essential part of our diet. In our family it is a treat. Vegetables are where it’s at. There is very little unique to fruit – whereas vegetables are our only dietary sources of:

• Cysteine Sulphoxides (Allium family – onions)
• Glucosinolates (brassicas)
• Polyacetylenes (carrots, parsnip)

And are a very rich source of fibre (soluble and insoluble), folate, nitrates (which reduce blood pressure), vitamins and minerals. Plus flavonoids, anthocyanins, carotenoids, chlorophyll, betalains. You name it. Eat more vegies! - Dr Hazel MacTavish-West


[1263] Thank you failsafe (March 2014)

I'm so happy I could cry, I have cried with frustration over the last 4 weeks but at the mo I am so happy with the diet. Check out master 6 homework. What a difference 4 weeks makes. Did it himself, with focus and within 1 minute! Thank you failsafe! One proud mummy. I tried to also show the scrawl from 3 weeks ago but couldn't.

LATER: Would you believe it, today marked our d day. Saw our fantastic dietician after 4 weeks of elim diet. Pricipal at school today asked me to read her blog because it was written on my child with good manners being the topic. I am so proud of him I might burst. - Lisa from facebook group


[1262] 220, 621, 635: Insanely itchy rash started improving within 24 hours (March 2014)

In October 2012 a strange rash started to appear on my hands and slowly started to cover my entire body, after multiple visits to the doctors I was put on steroids as they believed I had a reaction to something. Two months later, more doctors visits and this rash now covered my face, ears, back and everything in between. I ended up on antibiotics due to golden staph from all the itching and resulted to bathing in bleach every couple of days! A visit to the dermatologist and I was given a stronger cortisone cream and advised to have 3 (yes 3) 24 hour antihistamines to control the itch. After living on antihistamines, steroids and cortisone cream for 12 months I was miserable. I felt sick all the time and just couldn't get a handle on my skin. I wasn't sleeping, I became depressed and each doctors visit the doctors threw their hands in the air unsure of what to do. This on top of getting a sudden onset of migraines in 2011 told me something wasn't right ... tonight for the first time I've just seen a photo that looks like my rash - it's the one you put up on the screen for ribo rash.

Update: My rash started improving within 24 hours of removing MSG boosters in liquid stock and others from diet. 7 weeks in and massive massive changes. I have converted to rice milk and removed 220, 600's and 950 & 951 and look at the result! Such a relief to not be on all the nasty medications and feel so miserable.

I am a new failsafe ambassador and have been telling everyone .. THANKYOU !!! - attendee at the Melbourne roadshow talk


[1261] Big changes on going gluten-free (March 2014)

I suggested gluten free to my 12 year old niece as she's S-H-O-R-T. She's been gf for about 6 weeks, and yesterday I saw her for the first time. Wow!!!

1) She's been able to wake up around 6 am whereas before she would have extreme difficulties getting up in the morning her entire life.

2) Her mom says her hair had grown in those 6 weeks much faster than ever (she'd always had a weird problem where her hair grows REALLY slowly).

3) And the best surprise: her behavior has always been totally normal and even better than that, except for being a bit socially withdrawn, maybe even a snob... Yesterday for the first time she was really friendly, cute and sociable. What a change!!!

And before having those gains, her mother said she had had huge emotional withdrawals (as I said, she's always been very stable emotionally, so what a surprise) for several days.

I'm "used" to the emotional / mental gains within my own 4 person family, but this is the first time I recommend diet to someone else, they actually do it, and I get to see the difference with my own eyes. Incredible!!! Now let's see if she grows taller too (she's about the height of a 9 year old) - Sivan from facebook page.

[1260] I think I have a new child! (March 2014)

Just thought I'd pop and let u know the great success I've had so far with my daughter - I think we are going into week 3. Recently diagnosed with ADD. Have eliminated all salicylates from her diet and she is only having the permitted vege on the elimination diet and only fruit is Pear. No additives or Preservatives......I THINK I HAVE A NEW CHILD!!!!!! Difference is unbelievable..... Can't thank u enough Sue and your cookbook is a saviour and I think you've also cut my grocery bill by over half - Megan

[1259] 202 sorbates: Rash reaction to potassium sorbate in Starbuck's cafe mocha (February 2014)

When I drink Starbuck's cafe mocha I get significant irritation on my face. It affects the skin between my eyes, my cheeks, the crevices of my nose and my chin. At times it has spread to my scalp. It can also affect the center of my chest. It mainly just looks bad but the affected skin can be tender and sting. Without further exposure the redness lasts a few days. After researching the ingredients it seems likely the potassium sorbate ingredient is the cause, though it will take exposure to potassium sorbate through other products to be certain.

Starbuck's cafe mocha is made with Fontana Bittersweet Chocolate Mocha Sauce which contains this ingredient. The ingredients for the Fontana sauce can be seen here: - Rick, by email

Sue's comment:

I agree that potassium sorbate (preservative E202) seems the most likely cause of facial irritation. It is well documented in the medical literature that sorbic acid and potassium sorbate can cause contact dermatitis but less well known that foods containing sorbates can cause erythema (reddening of the skin), most frequently on the face and back, worse in people with rosacea.

CRC Handbook of Food, Drug and Cosmetic Excipients, page 366

200-203 Sorbates factsheet We would be interested to hear any other reports of a reaction to this product: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Don’t forget, you can scroll through all
current stories


The Failsafe shopping list is updated on an almost daily basis and is fully searchable. Look there in the first instance. Here are some of the interesting updates since the last newsletter:

When is A2 not really A2?

After years of insisting that A2 milk has no extra health benefits, Dairy Farmers in Australia have released their big new promotion Naturally contains A2 protein (accessed October 2015) - They have removed these claims from their labels.

For those who are wondering if this is the same as a2 brand milk , NO it is NOT.

Cows milk usually contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta casein proteins, whereas a2 brand milk has been carefully produced to avoid A1 protein.

Compare the slogans & do the maths

• Naturally contains A2 protein: contains up to 50% A1 protein, see Dairy Farmers website
• Naturally A1 protein free: contains zero A1 protein, see a2 website


Conclusion: For those wishing to avoid A1 proteins, we recommend a2 brand milk, not Dairy Farmers. As Frillypants says on our facebook group:

“Bloody food labelling. It really is up to us to be smarter than them. Read the label and then read between the lines. And... and... don't be sucked in. Be cynical”

What’s wrong with A1 protein?
read more

A final word of warning

Some cow breeds such as Jersey and Guernsey cows have traditionally produced predominantly A2 milk, but today they have to be tested and certified to be sure. You cannot buy Jersey milk and assume it is A2.

Sanitarium Gluten Free Weet-Bix have been welcomed by many failsafers but beware that some kids are reacting, either to the protein (the product is based on sorghum so is certainly gluten-free) or it may be the wholemeal effect.


More information

Amcal One-a-day vitamin and mineral tablets ARE NOT FAILSAFE as their new formulation (Sept 2014) contains BHA 320, BHT 319 and sunset yellow 110. It took the manufacturer several tries to get this information right, sorry about that.


The updated factsheet on failsafe weight loss is very popular and new tips on travelling to the USA by Bonnie in Additives around the world.


Thanks for your continuing support of each other!

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. You can also ask for our Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate mistakes sheets This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Online support:
Sue Dengate facebook group (over7,600 members) and/or the Failsafe forum (more private). If you want to use an email support group, join at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There are special interest email support groups too.

There’s a new UK facebook page and of course the active USA facebook page
twitter-bird-blue-on-whitetweet as @failsafers (note the plural).

Food Intolerance Network hits 6 million visitors. Interest in food intolerance and in eating food without preservatives continues to grow. In June 2014 we reached a total number of web visits of 6 million. That's about 4,000 visitors a day and the facebook page now has over 7,600 active members.
We all hope the food industry is listening:

• We do not want the food additives in our food that affect our health, learning and behaviour.
• There is a list of about 50 additives shown by science to have these effects and we will not buy food containing them!

Local contacts: 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.

Dietitians: for failsafe-friendly dietitians, see There is no longer any need to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this list.


DVD "Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour” has
subtitles in six languages. (In PAL format only, not available with subtitles in NTSC format. But NTSC format DVDs are at a reduced price of only $15.50 through


: are available in many languages
in a printer-friendly format (thanks to Failsafe members for translating!). Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help with other languages.

All Failsafe Newsletters can be searched and printed. 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.

Success story collections: These are the most popular downloads from the website,
organised by symptom and by additive.

The Food Intolerance Network strongly supports the peer-reviewed publication of evidence regarding the effects of salicylates on health, behaviour and learning and acknowledges that more research needs to be published, particularly using dietary salicylates. However the very foundation of science is observation and these observations over many years show an astonishing and convincing range of real symptoms. We hope that they may assist in stimulating further research publication.

Reintroduction guidelines: for people who are extra sensitive, the new RPAH reintroduction guidelines recommend much smaller servings of salicylate and amine containing foods than previously, see reader comment below. Available on request from
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you so much for the new RPAH reintroduction recommendations. I now understand why when I tried to ascertain my tolerance levels and did as my dietician recommended (try 1/2 a cup of salicylates) that my symptoms returned very quickly. ½ a cup is 100 times ¼ of a teaspoon, and given my scent problems I’m probably highly sensitive. Now I can try again. - failsafer, NZ


Hint for marking failsafe food:
I just wanted to share my sons FS food for Nanna’s house. I have made a snack box with safe treats. We also use yellow (his favourite colour) dots so it is easy for both Nanna and my son to see what is OK for him to have. In the box I have also included a food list and an extra sheet of dots. I know some people have trouble when out so I though this may help also all the items in the container are non-perishable so it is safe to keep in the boot of the car for those Unexpected "I'm hungry" moments - thanks to Sandie from the facebook page



Thanks to Erin “I didn't follow the instructions and just chucked everything in my little's still a bit crunchy, but the kids loved it. The verdict is: Yum! My husband has decided it has a ‘mars bar’ taste to it.”

0.75 cup raw unsalted cashews
0.25 tsp natural vanilla (or leave out if sensitive)
1.5 tbsp carob powder
2 tbsp golden syrup (or maple syrup)
Pinch ground rock salt
0.5 tbsp failsafe oil
0.25 cup soy milk.

Works in a Thermomix too - try 30-60 secs at speed 5.

Collation of Failsafe Blogs/Websites - with big thanks to Rona!

Most of you know about us but if you don't thought I should list them here and please add any other blogs that you have loved :)

Some of us use a Thermomix so we have set up a failsafe Thermomix group with recipes and a place to ask questions etc

At the Failsafe Table is a free 'Newspaper' you can subscribe to, which holds all the posts of 5 Failsafe Blogs for the week

This Pinterest page is a recipe index of ANY Failsafe recipes on ANY blog. So far there are more than 300 recipes and ideas all catagorised to make it easy to search

See also the fedup website recipe collection

Dr Dengate’s ultimate gluten-free (UGF) bread now has a Thermomix version


The FAILSAFE Newsletter is available free by email. Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Unsubscribe by sending a blank message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sue Dengate’s books and DVD and the failsafe magnifying card and sulphite test strips are available through

Special offer for USA and Canada: Random House has taken over distribution of Sue's books in the USA and Canada, so our current warehouse in upstate New York has surplus stock which we offer at these special prices until all gone: Go to and search for "Sue Dengate"

40 copies Fed Up Revised and updated at $12.50
12 copies Failsafe Cookbook Updated at $22.00
20 copies Fed Up With Children' Behaviour (NTSC format) - DVD at $15.50

Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook are now available as an ebook: for Kindle, in ePub version suitable for Tablet PCs, PCs, Macs, Laptops, in ePub for digital and iPhone/iPad.

Sue Dengate’s personal story as an ebook only $3.99: Fed Up with Food Intolerance - a personal story


This is the story that helped thousands of parents and adults understand this baffling disorder.

Buy direct at
Download a sample for Kindle (.mobi) or for other ereaders (.epub).
Also available through Amazon for Kindle

Disclaimer: the information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for possible underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. Information is drawn from the scientific literature, web research, group members and personal enquiry; while all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and the Food Intolerance Network and Sue Dengate cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions.

© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to the many members who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter and particularly to Teresa and Tracy for their help with facebook and story collections. Further reading: Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate.