Yes, some white sugar still has bone char, even though there are cruelty-free ion exchange alternatives.
Many large sugar companies have made the switch, but a few are lagging behind.
So while it’s not too hard to find bone char-free sugar, it’s good to know which brands to look for.
Quick reminder: Bone char is only a worry for non-organic white and brown sugar, made from sugarcane or sugar beets.
The easiest way to guarantee you’re buying bone char-free sugar is to buy organic sugar, or sugar from a different source like coconut sugar (Big Tree Farms for example).
Below is a list of sugar brands that should be suitable for vegans (and those looking for kosher sugar).
Bone Char Free White and Brown Sugar Brands
I’m just going to link to product pages or white sugars, but most brands that make white sugar will also have brown sugar as well.
If the white sugar for a brand doesn’t use bone char, it follows that the brown version almost certainly doesn’t as well.
Here’s the complete list of bone char free sugar brands:
- Billington’s Sugar
- Bob’s Red Mill Sparkling Cane Sugar
- Diamond Crystal Sugar (All products appear to be Kosher – no bone char)
- Imperial Sugar Pure Cane Sugar (Kosher – no bone char)
- Kirkland Organic Sugar
- Now Foods Organic Beet Sugar
- Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar
- RedPath White Sugar
- Simple Truth Organic Cane Sugar
- Simply Balanced Organic Powdered Sugar
- Sugar In The Raw Organic White Cane Sugar
- Trader Joe’s Organic Cane Juice Sugar
- Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar
- Woodstock Farms Organic Pure Cane Sugar
- Zulka Pure Cane Sugar
Which Brands ARE Made With Bone Char or Are “Sketchy”?
There aren’t too many big brands that still use bone char, but there are a few.
Here’s a short table of them with sources. I’ve also included ethically questionable companies as well when researching this list:
|Domino||Some products are vegan. Some of their white sugar refineries don’t use bone char, but some do. (Source)|
|C&H Sugar||While their organic sugars are fine, I can’t find any evidence that they don’t use bone char in their white sugars.|
|Florida Crystals||While Florida Crystals doesn’t use bone char, their poor environmental practices have led to toxic algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico.|
While there aren’t too many brands, all 3 of those are huge sugar brands, mainly in the U.S., and they supply sugar to many products. That’s why if you just see “sugar” on an ingredients label, there’s still a risk of it not being vegan.
One last thing I’d like to mention to watch out for is that sugar companies often say they use “natural charcoal” to filter their sugar. This is just another name for bone char, so don’t be fooled by the nicer sounding phrase.
If I’ve missed any big brands somehow, just let me know in a comment below.
Also, remember that even if a sugar is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy, you don’t want to eat too much.