Warning: Bone Char – our daily consumption through sugar


Thanks to Dr Natarajan Viswanathan, University of Illinois in Chicago, an ardent devotee of Kanchi Acharyas who shared this important information. While this article focuses mainly on US consumers, the problem in India on white sugar is slightly different – they seem to use sulphuric acid to bleach to attain white color. While that does not involve animal product but extremely bad for our health. It is important to be aware of this and avoid as much as possible. Turbinado sugar is available everywhere and let us at least not use these kind of sugar for doing neiveidhyam, for swami-related needs. Honestly, I was so ignorant of this fact fully. While I knew that animal bones are used, I did not know that it is heavily used in US…What was more shocking is the fine brown sugar which I use it almost on a daily basis for abishekam….I did not know that they simply add molasses to achieve brown color….

Thanks mama for the important share…

Following text are from authentic sources from the web:

Refined sugar — the kind that’s added to coffee, cookie dough and cake batter — is made from either sugarcane or sugar beets. The two have near-identical nutritional facts and tastes, and they are used about equally in the States. But, their refining process is different. To manufacture table sugar from sugarcane, sugarcane stalks are crushed to separate the juice from the pulp. The juice is processed and heated to crystalize, and is then filtered and bleached with bone char, which results in sugar’s pristine white color.

Bone char, which is used to process sugar, is made from the bones of cattle from Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan. The bones are sold to traders in Scotland, Egypt, and Brazil who then sell them back to the U.S. sugar industry. The European Union and the USDA heavily regulate the use of bone char. Only countries that are deemed BSE-free can sell the bones of their cattle for this process. Bone char—often referred to as natural carbon—is widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which allows the sugar cane to achieve its desirable white color. Other types of filters involve granular carbon or an ion-exchange system rather than bone char.

Bone char is also used in other types of sugar. Brown sugar is created by adding molasses to refined sugar, so companies that use bone char in the production of their regular sugar also use it in the production of their brown sugar. Confectioner’s sugar—refined sugar mixed with cornstarch—made by these companies also involves the use of bone char. Fructose may, but does not typically, involve a bone-char filter. Supermarket brands of sugar (e.g., Giant, Townhouse, etc.) obtain their sugar from several different refineries, making it impossible to know whether it has been filtered with bone char.

If you want to avoid all refined sugars, we recommend alternatives such as Sucanat and turbinado sugar, which are not filtered with bone char. Additionally, beet sugar—though normally refined—never involves the use of bone char and Edward & Sons Trading Company has developed a vegan confectioner’s sugar which should be available in health food stores soon.

It would be virtually impossible for PETA to maintain information on the refining process used for the sugar in every product. We encourage you to contact companies directly to ask about the source of their sugar.

The following companies do not use bone-char filters:

Michigan Sugar Company
2600 S. Euclid Ave.
Bay City, MI 48706
Tel.: 989.686.0161
Fax: 989.671.3695
Web: www.michigansugar.com

Florida Crystals Corporation
P.O. Box 471
West Palm Beach, FL 33480
Tel.: 877-835-2828
Fax: 516-366-5200
Web: www.floridacrystals.com

SUPERVALU Corporate Headquarters
East View Innovation Center
7075 Flying Cloud Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Tel.: 952-828-4000
Web.: www.supervalu.ie/

Western Sugar
Western Sugar is a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle (formerly Domino sugar) which does use bone-char filters. However, Western Sugar makes only beet sugar, which does not use bone-char filters.

7555 E. Hampton Ave., Ste. 600
Denver, CO 80210
Tel.: 303-830-3939
Fax: 303-830-3941
Web: www.westernsugar.com

14141 Southwest Freeway, Suite 160
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Tel.: 800-680-1896
Web.: www.WholesomeSweet.com

The following companies do use bone-char filters. Contact them and encourage them to adopt the use of humane alternatives to bone-char filters:

C&H Sugar Company
2300 Contra Costa Blvd., Ste. 600
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Tel.: 925-688-1731
Fax: 925-822-1061
E-Mail: consumer.affairs@chsugar.com
Web: www.chsugar.com

Savannah Foods
P.O. Box 335
Savannah, GA 31402
Tel.: 912-234-1261

Tate & Lyle North American Sugars Inc. (formerly Domino Sugar)
1100 Key Hwy. W.
Baltimore, MD 21230
Tel.: 1-800-638-1590
Fax: 410-783-8640

Imperial Sugar
P.O. Box 9
Sugarland, TX 77487
Tel.: 1-800-727-8427
Web: www.imperialsugar.com

Refined Sugars Inc.
1 Federal St.
Yonkers, NY 10702
Tel.: 914-963-2400
Fax: 914-963-1030

Categories: Announcements

10 replies

  1. Thank you for the information. It is very much appreciable, peop

  2. Thank you Mahesh for this information. This means that almost every sweet product we consume disqualifies from the menu. This is also true for many products sold off the shelf.
    some examples are

    Rennet in Cheese. Many vegetarian Indians are unaware of the rennet present in Cheese sold in stores. This translates into all the foods made using cheese like Pizzas, etc. (In India Amul cheese does not use Rennet)

    Eggs and gelatin in Chocolate. – Many brands of chocolates contain eggs and gelatin. Ghirardelli is one of them. When I have brought this to many peoples notice, feedback has been, we cannot go to that extent to check as long as we dont eat directly. This is also bought and distributed to people unknowingly in India.
    Same case with cakes also.
    Safest is to source required ingredients through known sources and make these things at home.

    I am not sure if you can use this blog to spread more awareness to help propagate this.

  3. How about organic sugar that we buy from costco or sams club.????

  4. Thank you very much. I have been using only Turbinado sugar since 30 years unknowingly. Periyava Anugraham.

  5. A kind of sugar that is available in ALDI says in the package that it is bone char free.

  6. Thanks to Mahesh in bringing out this message to the community, Shri MahaPeriya devotees and others. We should not use bone-char purified sugar to make prasadams and other devotional activities. Costco has organic sugar and also raw sugar that are not processed with bone-char.

    • Very nice and informative article. The sugar industry in India should reduce sulphur ppm to reduce respiratory disorders.

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