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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.

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

The following sugar companies DO use bone-char filters:
1114 Ave. of the Americas
25th Fl.
New York, NY 10036
Savannah Foods
P.O. Box 335
Savannah, GA 31402
California & Hawaiian Sugar Company (with the exception of its Washed Raw Sugar)
830 Loring Ave.
Crockett, CA 94525-1104
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.