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Some Common Failsafe Mistakes

March 22, 2013


Too many salicylates
• beware the advice ‘an apple a day can’t hurt you’ – some extra sensitive people cannot tolerate any fruit
• some people even have problems with low salicylate items such as shallots, leeks, golden syrup or brown sugar
• no one ever notices an immediate reaction to salicylates in foods but you won’t get the improvement you want – or you will see an improvement but after a while the effects will build up and you’ll be back where you started – stick to low salicylates during your supervised elimination diet
• worrying about nutrition is counterproductive in the first three weeks as your most urgent need is to get rid of cravings for food chemicals.

Pear juice is not failsafe because commercial pear juice contains the peel and is therefore moderate in salicylates
• pears canned in juice instead of syrup are not permitted
• pears (fresh, tinned, pureed, jam and ketchup) are limited to two pears or equivalent per day, less for some people
• pears must be ripe, soft and peeled.

• artificial and natural flavours, fruit flavours and even vanilla can cause problems. If your child is not improving, avoid ‘flavours’, ‘vanillin’ or ‘vanilla’ in commercial products such as lemonade, marshmallows, jelly beans and Rice Bubble Treats (LCMs), vanilla flavoured yoghurt, custard, soymilk, caramels, biscuits, carob and lollies. Home cooking is safer but avoid vanilla in that too.

• mint flavoured or herbal toothpastes such as fennel are not failsafe because herbs contain salicylates
• coloured toothpaste – even pale pink – is not ok
• there have been numerous problems caused by strong mint flavours, particularly with young children who will suck the toothbrush or eat the toothpaste.

Cold-pressed oils
• cold pressed canola, sunflower and safflower oils can contain small amounts of salicylates that can build up slowly to cause symptoms
• cold pressed ricebran oil although not listed for your supervised elimination diet seems to be well tolerated by some failsafers but there has been a report of a slow build up of symptoms from a family who are known to react to wholegrains (see wholegrains below).

Chicken with seasoning or stuffing
• it is not okay to eat the meat and avoid the skin of BBQ or roast chicken with seasoning or stuffing
• beware of stuffed fresh chickens in supermarkets

• beware of added flavours in carob products, and milk powder if you are sensitive to dairy foods
• failsafers have reported problems with carob powder that has a bitter taste.

Raw sugar, dark brown sugar
• raw sugar, honey and dark brown sugar coloured with molasses contain salicylates
• avoid commercial products which contain raw sugar (soymilk, cereals).

Corn or maize kernels, sweetcorn, cornmeal, polenta, corn chips and popcorn contain salicylates
• cornflour and refined maize flour (called cornstarch in the USA) is refined white starch from corn low in salicylates, although it may contain residual sulphites that can affect the extra sensitive
• flour made from wholegrain corn or maize(for tortillas) contains salicylates
• if gluten free, check that the corn starch is not made from wheat.


Annatto 160b natural yellow colour in many dairy foods such as yoghurt and icecream (especially if labeled ‘lite’, ‘creamy’ or ‘wholesome)’, as well cheese slices, frozen or crumbed products, biscuits, breakfast cereals, croissants and a wide variety of other processed foods – since it usually causes a next day reaction, people don’t realise when it affects them.


Vinegar is not failsafe and must be avoided, even in small amounts in products such as bread

Whey powder can be cultured with natural propionate (282) preservatives
• avoid whey powder in bread and other bakery products
• whey powder is okay in non-bakery products such as icecream and yoghurt.


Amines in meat
• eat meat as fresh as possible
• fresh meat that has been hung by your butcher for a week or two is acceptable
• supermarket meats are now vacuum packed for up to three months, avoid if possible.

Amines in fermented products
wine, beer, soy sauce, tempeh, miso, chocolate, cheese, sauerkraut, and even strong yoghurt and sourdough bread
• despite seemingly failsafe ingredients (eg flour, water, salt), yeast free bread can be made by a long rising process which encourages fermentation and can be a problem for the extra sensitive • bakers’ yeast is failsafe and yeasted bread can be safer than yeastfree bread for this reason

Fetta cheese is not failsafe
• this was a mistake in Fed Up – bland fresh white cheeses such as preservative free cottage, ricotta  and cream cheeses and mascarpone are failsafe, sharp fermented white cheeses are not.


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