Sunday, June 20, 2010
Sugar... and Bone Char
If you are one of my Vegan friends, this may interest you. According to a lengthy article in the fourth issue 2007 Vegetarian Journal, refined cane sugar is filtered through bone char (from cows) as one of the several steps to remove impurities.
Sugar in your grocery store may be labeled "100% pure cane sugar" and most likely it was filtered through bone char. Sugar labeled "Granulated Sugar" and "100% Sugar" are ambiguous, as are private store-labeled sugars. There's no way to know if they were filtered through bone char or not. Brown sugar is made by adding molasses to refined white sugar, so the companies that use bone char to make their refined white sugar will also use it to produce brown sugar. The same is true for Confectioner's Sugar, which is just finely ground white sugar with cornstarch added. Invert sugar (used by bakers and candy makers) is also filtered through bone char.
Fortunately, there are some sugars that are not filtered through bone char. 100% beet sugar is not filtered through bone char. Molasses, turbinado, dememara and muscovado sugars are also not bone char filtered. Evaporated cane juice is not filtered through bone char, and fructose may or may not be.
Buying organic sugars, or foods that list only organic sugar or evaporated cane juice as an ingredient may be your best bet. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer.