Decoding Sugar Packaging

Which Sugars Aren’t Processed with Bone Char?

The VRG received an inquiry from a food company about vegan sugar defined as sugar that had not been processed through cow bone char. As we reported in a 2007 update, most United States cane sugar continues to be decolorized through cow bone char.

We spoke with two employees at C&H® Sugar in January 2013 who told us that most of their sugar not certified USDA Organic is processed through “natural charcoal” (i.e., cow bone char). Their Washed Raw Sugar has not been decolorized using bone char, but it is only produced at its Hawaii plant and not available for widespread distribution, especially in large quantities. C&H® directed us to its sister companies: Florida Crystals® and Domino® Sugar. Florida Crystals sugar, conventional and USDA Organic varieties, has not been processed through cow bone char. It is widely available in large and small quantities.

The VRG spoke with Shannon, a customer service representative at Domino® Sugar. She explained that although most Domino® Sugar has been processed through cow bone char, it is possible to tell from the sugar bag label whether it came from one of two of Domino’s nine North American plants in which processing does not involve cow bone char. One of the plants is located in Yonkers, NY and the other is in Orlando, FL. The first number/letter on the package code reveals the plant in which the sugar was processed. The number ‘1’ identifies the Yonkers plant as the processing location. The letter ‘X’ means the sugar was processed at the Orlando plant. For the complete article, see our blog at