White Cane Sugar and Animal Bone Char

Connie

Practitioner
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Reaction score
57
Location
NSW, Australia
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Are you aware that some sugar is not considered by some to be vegetarian, let alone vegan?

Well not all sugar is technically vegan. I know you are screaming out right now, trying to work out how sugar of all things could not be vegan, but it is white sugar that is the problem and only white cane sugar. The issue surrounds the cleaning and purification of white cane sugar and how it is made white. It is whitened by passing it through/over animal bone char. So that is charcoal made from all those animal bones that otherwise would end up being buried in the ground.

Sadly it is not just white cane sugar that is "affected". What is know in the US as brown sugar is also affected. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back into it! Thankfully this is not the case in the UK and also not the case with beet sugar. White beet sugar is fine, but working out which company produces what sugar and how it is made is not easy. And to make life even more interesting, there are a few companies that don't use animal bone char to make white cane sugar, but they are few and far between and hold little of the market.

Some interesting reading. https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2007issue4/2007_issue4_sugar.php and http://veganproducts.org/sugar.html

On the up side, all beet sugar is vegan.
 

Cyprus

Novice
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Reaction score
2
This is very interesting. I am currently on stevia but I will surely follow up on this in my quest to permanently quit sugar which gives me break-outs.
 

lion

Novice
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Reaction score
8
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
Ah, it's annoying how there are so many hidden things that aren't vegetarian. I knew about this, and I try to purchase brown sugar now (UK here so it's safe) when I feel the urge for buying it - I'm trying to cut it out anyway because I know how bad it is supposed to be for your health.

I wonder how many products contain white cane sugar, though? Cakes and such. You'd assume they wouldn't have it if they have the V for vegetarian symbol on, but I don't know how lax the standards are.
 

Josie

Practitioner
Joined
May 17, 2015
Reaction score
21
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Yes, I knew about this. I haven't used white sugar (or any sweeteners aside from maple syrup) in a few years now. When you go as whole foods as possible, avoiding animal products is done for you.
 

medievalmamma

Newcomer
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Reaction score
0
Age
54
I had absolutely no idea. I live in the US, and knew that most brown sugar was white sugar with molasses, but was not familiar with the process of refining white sugar. I'm wondering about "raw sugar" that is in little tubular pellets. Does anyone know the process for that?
 

Connie

Practitioner
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Reaction score
57
Location
NSW, Australia
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I'm wondering about "raw sugar" that is in little tubular pellets. Does anyone know the process for that?
In the UK, raw has a very specific meaning. Whatever food source is in question can not be taken above 104-115F depending on the source you read. This would in all likelihood rule out the refining processes above even for cane sugar, so in all likelihood raw sugar if they are referring to raw as in a raw food diet would be vegan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: medievalmamma

kim1984

Devotee
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Reaction score
12
Age
36
This was one of the things I had the hardest time wrapping my head around - until I found out more about the process of getting sugar to the state we see it in when it's in the supermarket. The first thing that came to my mind was "but sugar is a plant - what's happening to it by the time it's on a shelf?" and then I read more about bone char.