The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

CarbonFree® Domino® Sugar not Equivalent to “Bone Char-Free”

Posted on October 10, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

VRG Research Director

In September 2011 a VRG member asked us if the CarbonFree® Domino® Granulated Sugar, and sister brands, Florida Crystals® Organic Sugar and Florida Crystals® Natural Cane Sugar, meant that these brands had not
been filtered through cow bone char. She wondered if “CarbonFree®” implied that cow bone char, which is composed of carbon, had not been used during the sugar refining process to whiten the product.

Domino® Sugar has a FAQ page on its website,, which explains that its use of the CarbonFree® label relates to the products’ “carbon neutral footprint.” Domino® Sugar asked, a non-profit organization that certifies qualifying products as CarbonFree®, to perform a life cycle assessment (LCA) to determine “the products’ carbon footprint and greenhouse gas reductions” that existed because of company practices. determined through a field-to-store analysis performed by The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, that Domino® Sugar’s production and supply of renewable energy from “leftover sugar cane fiber and recycled urban wood waste” to power their sugar operations as well as some residential communities offset the carbon footprints of some of their products. Consequently, Domino® Granulated Sugar, and sister brands, Florida Crystals® Organic Sugar and Florida Crystals® Natural Cane Sugar became certified as CarbonFree®.

On its FAQ page, Domino® Sugar stated that the CarbonFree® label does not mean their products are “carbon free.” In fact, sugar itself, because it is a biomolecule, contains carbon. In terms of processing, only certified USDA organic sugar and sugar derived exclusively from sugar beets have not been processed through decolorizing filters, which, in most cases today, are composed of cow bone char.

For more information about sugar processing, interested readers may view our articles at and

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

For more information on food processing methods and food ingredients and to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients, please visit our website at

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