Say No To Bone Char! A List of Bone Char Free Vegan Sugar Companies


A List of Bone Char Free Vegan Sugar Companies

Sugar comes from two sources – sugar cane and sugar beets. Bone char is widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which allows sugar to achieve its white color. The bone char is made from the bones of cattle from countries like Afghanistan, Argentina, India and Pakistan. The bones are sold to traders who then sell them to the U.S. sugar industry.

Bone char is used in many types of sugar including brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar.  The supermarket brands of sugar obtain their sugar from several different refineries, making it next to impossible to know whether it has been filtered with bone char.  Beet sugar is considered vegan because it’s never processed with bone char.

This bone char filter process is unacceptable to many vegans. Even if you’re not vegan, you have reason to be concerned about refined sugars and bone char. Due to health concerns, the FDA prohibits the use of bones from the United States’ meat industry which is why the bones are imported. Also, the bones are required to come from animals that die of natural causes, but no one is monitoring that.

Fortunately there are vegan sugars on the market, but it takes a little effort to purchase. If you can’t find vegan sugar at your local market, I recommend going online. Here is a list of vegan sugars available on Amazon. If you know of any others, please share.

Zulka an Ordinary Vegan favorite and available at most mainstream grocery stores!
Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar
Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Light Brown Suga
Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Dark Brown Sugar
Now Foods Beet Sugar
Trader Joe’s Organic Sugar Evaporated Cane Juice
Sugar In The Raw
Imperial Granulated Sugar 
Imperial Powdered Sugar
Rapunzel Rapadura
Woodstock Farms Organic Pure Cane Sugar
Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar
Red Path Sugar
The Raw Cane

Don’t miss any of Ordinary Vegan’s important lists and free recipes by signing up here.


Print Friendly


  1. Terri Schmidt says:

    Are any of these sugars listed Diabetic friendly ?

    • No Terri – I don’t think so – I tasted some delicious stevia products at the Natural Foods convention. I particularly liked one called stevita

    • No, they aren’t diabetic friendly, but I’ve been using Truvia (which is Stevia) and Agave Nectar…they do not cause blood sugar to rise. Available on or local grocery stores. These two products do not cause blood sugar to rise.

      • truvia, i believe is made/ created /marketed by BIG AG thus chems, herbicides/ pesticides/ GMO influences thus a HUGE ‘suspect’ for ‘integrity’ of the finished product. Somewhat related to ‘Whole paychecks’ vitamin C sourced from GMO corn. Just saying BEWARE

        • tThanks so very very much for the information about Truvia. What should I use then since I can not use sugar?

          • Brynn – I would recommend stevia for coffee etc and pure organic maple syrup to sweeten recipes.

        • brooke henzel says:

          Ttrivia is also mixed with maltodextrin or dextrose which are fillers The only brand i kknow that is pure Stevie is Sweet Leaf brand.

      • Agave syrup has been marketed as a “healthful” sweetener, but this fact has been the subject of criticism due to its very high fructose content (which is even more than high fructose corn syrup in its fructose content by weight) and its potential to lead to insulin resistance and significantly increased triglyceride levels (a risk factor for heart disease)

      • If you’re diabetic eat hclf, go on YouTube to the channel ‘high carb diabetic’ people wouldn’t make any money from curing you would they, its better if pharmaceutical companies keep selling you their drugs. Forks over knives and high carb diabetic on YouTube and see what yiu think xD

    • Ha ha ha are you serious????

    • I’m demoing some products at work today, vegan, and vegetarian friendly. They are called “Hey Shuga.” It’s also GMO free. Oh and natural, and organic, with no artificial anything!

    • Organic sugars are typically more diabetic friendly since refined is around 80+ GI (glycemic index) while organic is only 45 GI

  2. id also like to mention that red path is an acceptable vegan sugar option as well.

  3. Jennifer Altman says:

    Florida Crystals is vegan and available at Walmart!

  4. Do you know if bone char is used in Australia?

    • Hi Joanna – my research is telling me that the sugar industry in Australia uses non-animal coal filters to process cane sugar in Australia although I would research the individual brands you are planning on buying. Thanks for being part of our community Joanna.

  5. Just be sure it’s organic, because beet sugar is GMO!

  6. Pamela Dominey says:

    Trader Joe’s has organic sugar and organic powdered sugar.

  7. Would like to ask if anyone knows if white granulated sugar with bone char processing would hurt hummingbirds? I make a 4 to 1 mix of this sugar all summer for them & have already purchased a 25 lb. bag of the stuff. My hummers are piggies.

    • Nancy M says:

      That is such a good question Lynel. I can’t find anything about it hurting hummingbirds online. The only two harmful ingredients for hummingbirds that I could find are red food coloring and too many preservatives. Thanks for feeding the hummingbirds and being part of our community!

    • It the sugar WITHOUT bone char processing that can hurt the hummingbirds: “Raw sugar, agave syrup, brown sugar, molasses, artificial sweeteners, or anything other than white sugar; these cause various problems for hummers.”

      I also read the iron in unfiltered sugar can cause health problems for the hummingbirds. 🙂

  8. Wholefoods has a vegan sugar and their organic sugar. Also raw sugar, right?

    • Yes Tamara – raw sugar should be vegan. Thanks for the info and thanks for being part of our community!

  9. Hey everyone,
    FYI- Just called Imperial Sugar customer service, who said that All of their sugar is processed using bone char filtering.

    Thanks for the article!

  10. Bridget Young says:

    Hi Nancy, I’ve just discovered your site and really love it! You have so many great, easy recipes.Can’t wait to start trying them all.
    I wonder if you have the low down on how vegan wine is produced. I assumed all wine was vegan but apparently most is not. I’m in the dark on this. Any info. would be most appreciated.

    • Hi Bridget – I will do a post regarding wine this week and send you a link. Thanks for bringing that up and for being part of our community!

  11. Tracy Heckenbach says:

    What about unbleached sugar?

    • If it is unbleached it shouldn’t have bone char because the purpose of the bone char is to whiten the sugar but brown sugars could have been made with bone char so I would buy vegan sugar to be certain. Thanks Tracy for being part of our community.

      • Yes exactly. Brown sugar is simply white (or unbleached) sugar with added molasses. One would have to determine the source and processing method of the original sugar used.

  12. fiona robinson says:

    Billington’s golden caster sugar (unrefined cane sugar) is suitable for vegans – you can buy it in most supermarkets in the UK.

  13. Harley Lehman says:

    I was just researching vegan sugar and was trying to chose between Domino agave and Florida Crystals only to find out Domino foods owns C&H sugar, Domino sugar, and Florida crystals. Does anyone know if this leader company makes all it’s sugar vegan? I would like to support a whole company doing the right thing, not just one of their brands.

  14. Zulka is vegan and non-GMO project verified. Sometimes coupons and sale prices are available too. 🙂

  15. I know that Rogers sugar in canada is Vegan, however only if produced in the alberta factory, the vancouver factory, however uses the bone-char method… I use their plantation raw in all my baking and stuff, and it is awesome 🙂

  16. My friend uses bone char as an amendment to her garden soil. Do not understand these replies for organic table & baking sugars.

  17. Troy von Tussle says:

    White sugar is just the pits. It gives your body NOTHING that is good… far from it. Only your candida loves it.

  18. Does anybody know of a company that sells GMO beet sugar? I’m seriously looking for a inexpensive, vegan GMO beet sugar but am having a hard time finding a consumer product that meet my guidelines. I figure I need to avoid the cognitive dissonance and my ethical qualms with buying organic products since they actively disparage good science and engage in anti-GMO fear mongering.

    Thanks for any help.


    • I didn’t know this David until you brought it up but it seems The US sugar beet industry coordinated an industry-wide conversion to genetically modified sugar beets, thus eliminating a non-GMO alternative for food manufacturers and consumers. For more information – click here

      • Do you have a better resource than an anti-GMO website with no references or good scientific resources? Like with any ag product, it is the farmers that decide, not the industry, what they want to grow based upon many factors such as cost, quality of the product, environmental impact, and more. I am actually glad that farmers have moved away from using toxic organic and conventional pesticides and herbicides in favor on GM crops that use products that are less toxic to humans than salt.

        Anyways, any idea on where to get non-organic, vegan transgenic sugar beet sugar?

    • American Crystal in the Midwest is all beet and probably mostly GMO. There has been a lot of pressure for the farmers in this co-op to plant Roundup Ready seed. It’s about the same price as any supermarket sugar. Beet sugar is vegan because it usually bleached through a spray method rather than a filter method.

  19. Bone char is not used at Taber’s sugar beet factory or at Montreal’s cane refinery. Bone char is only used at the Vancouver cane refinery. All products under the Lantic trademark are free of bone char. For the products under the Rogers trademark, all Taber sugar beet products are also free of bone char. In order to differentiate the Rogers Taber beet products from the Vancouver cane products, you can verify the inked-jet code printed on the product. Products with the code starting with the number “22” are from Taber, Alberta, while products with the code starting with the number “10” are from Vancouver, British Columbia.

  20. Heavenly Organics Sugar is Vegan. It’s rare, 100% organic whole cane sugar from the pristine foothills of the Himalayan Mountains produced by a cooperative of small farmers who practice an ancient method of removing impurities from organic cane juice by using wild-crafted herbs and then sun drying. It’s made without the use of commercial dryers thus preserving the natural nutrients and minerals and reducing our carbon footprint.

  21. Is sugar actually vegan? How do you know that animals aren’t dying when they burn the sugar fields? Seem like a lot of mice and frogs would be killed in the process. To me if something dies to make the product it’s not vegan. Are any of these sugars made without burning the cane fields?

    • Nothing is perfect; unfortunately all crops will have some collateral damage, whether it be an insect stepped on, or a mouse being crushed by equipment. We can only aim for the least damage possible. That being said, beet sugar does not involve burning fields. It does often involve GMOs, however.

      • Burning a field seems like there would be a lot more collateral damage than a tractor driving through a field, just saying. Not to mention how much of the worlds rain forests that are cut down to grow sugar. Humans don’t need refined sugar to survive.

        • I have to say I agree, and prefer to buy beet sugar when I can, despite the GMO status. But GMOs have their own environmental effects, and a lot of unknowns, so I can’t say that’s an obvious choice for most people.

  22. Ren Christoffersen says:

    Hey, thanks for the information! For those in the UK like me, all of Tate and Lyle’s sugars (white and brown) and syrups are vegan with the exception of their powdered sugar which contains egg white. I was massively relieved to find this out as you can pretty much find their products everywhere!

  23. Thanks for your answers to the sugar problem, I’m glad to hear Tate and Lyle are vegan. I’m vegetarian and just starting out as vegan, labelling is a minefield, still, I like a challenge and it’ll be worth it to safeguard animals.

  24. Darren Wilcox says:

    You can make your own brown sugar with turbinado and molasses 1 cup:1T
    You can make your own confectioners sugar with turbinado and corn starch
    1 C:1 T then pulverize it in a blender



Tell us what you think