Some sugar might be processed with non-vegan ingredients—but don’t worry, because we’ve got all the deets! ?
First, let’s get something straight: Eating vegan isn’t about purity. The goal of eating vegan is to help animals and do the best we can to reduce their suffering while still living a normal life. Helping animals can be as simple as choosing a bean or veggie burrito over a chicken one or choosing tofu scramble over eggs.
Being vegan is SO easy, but obsessing over micro-ingredients in foods or giving a waiter at a restaurant a hard time can make it seem difficult and unappealing to friends and family. This may discourage them from trying to eat vegan—which REALLY hurts animals.
Don’t be this person ?
It’s always better to do your best to eat and live cruelty-free than not even try because you’re afraid that you won’t be perfect. But if you’re still concerned about whether or not sugar is made with animal-derived ingredients—specifically, bone char—we have some info to help ya out.
What is bone char?
Bone char—often referred to as “natural carbon”—is widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which makes the sugar cane white. It’s made from the bones of cattle who were slaughtered in foreign countries. The bones are sold to traders in other foreign countries, who then sell them to the U.S. sugar industry.
What about brown sugar?
Brown sugar is created by adding molasses to refined sugar, so companies that use bone char in white sugar will also use it to make brown sugar.
If sugar is labeled as “organic,” does that mean it’s not filtered with bone char?
Yes. Certified U.S. Department of Agriculture organic sugar cannot be filtered through bone char. If the sugar you want to buy isn’t organic, check to see if it’s “unrefined” or made from beets. Any type of beet or coconut sugar is vegan-friendly.
The following companies do not use bone-char filters:
- Big Tree Farms
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Florida Crystals
- Imperial Sugar
- In the Raw
- Michigan Sugar Company
- NOW Foods
- The Raw Cane
- Simple Truth (Kroger’s/Ralphs’ brand of organic sugar)
- Simply Balanced (Target’s brand of organic sugar)
- Trader Joe’s
- Western Sugar Cooperative
- Woodstock Farms