VegFamily
The Magazine for Vegan
Family Living


Click here to Advertise on VegFamily
Free Vegan Recipes
Join thousands! Subscribe to our popular newsletter!

Articles and Information

The Great Sugar Debate: Is it vegan?

I don't know how many times I've had this conversation with people. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the subject. Most vegans I've come into contact with know there is something non-vegan about sugar, but not everyone knows what that is. So we went to PETA and asked them. Here's what they told us...

Bone char, made from the bones of cows, is at times used to whiten sugar. Some sugar companies use it in filters to decolorize their sugar. Other types of filters involve granular carbon or an ion exchange system rather than bone char.

Article continues below


The following sugar companies DO NOT use bone-char filters:
Florida Crystals Refinery
P.O. Box 86
South Bay, FL 33493
407-996-9072
Labels: Florida Crystals
Refined Sugars Incorporated
One Federal St.
Yonkers, NY 10702
914-963-2400
Labels: Jack Frost, Country Cane, 4# Flow-Sweet
Pillsbury
Makes powdered brown sugar
Supreme Sugar Company (subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland)
P.O. Box 56009
New Orleans, LA 70156
504-831-0901
Labels: Supreme, Southern Bell, Rouse's Markets


The following sugar companies DO use bone-char filters:
Domino
1114 Ave. of the Americas
25th Fl.
New York, NY 10036
212-789-9700
Savannah Foods
P.O. Box 335
Savannah, GA 31402
912-234-1261
California & Hawaiian Sugar Company (with the exception of its Washed Raw Sugar)
830 Loring Ave.
Crockett, CA 94525-1104
510-787-2121
Supermarket brands of sugar (e.g., Giant, Townhouse, etc.) buy their sugar from several different refineries, so there is no way of knowing whether it is vegan at any given time.

Brown sugar is generally made by adding molasses to refined sugar, so sugar companies that use bone char in the production of their regular sugar will also use it in the production of their brown sugar. Confectioner's sugar (refined sugar mixed with cornstarch) made by such companies also involves the use of bone char. Fructose may, but does not typically involve a bone-char filter.

If you want to avoid all refined sugars, we recommend alternatives such as Sucanat and turbinado sugar. Neither of these sweeteners are ever filtered with bone char. Additionally, beet sugar--though normally refined--never involves the use of bone char.


So there you have it. The bottom line is you need to know where your sugar is coming from. Or use alternatives. Does this put the question to rest finally? I hope so.


Sponsors:



Search VegFamily
Web VegFamily