In today’s World of Vegan video we tackle the question: Is sugar vegan? Sugar comes from the sugar cane plant (and sometimes other plants such as beets), so sugar in itself is vegan. But you may have heard that white table sugar has often been filtered through “bone char” (burned animal bones) which helps turn the sugar pure white. So—does this mean white table sugar isn’t vegan?
This is one of those “there is no such thing as a perfect vegan” situations. If you consider white table sugar non-vegan, I’d have to ask, do you also consider vegetables non-vegan? Because they were most likely grown in soil that contains animal parts and byproducts. Do you consider filtered tap water vegan? In some cases even tap water has been filtered through bone char to remove chemical impurities.
My conclusion is that products that have zero animal products in the final product are considered “vegan.” So yes, in my eyes, all white table sugar is vegan. That said, if you are in a position to purchase items that have specifically been made without ever touching an animal product—wonderful! I absolutely encourage that! But keep in mind even when we’re talking about sugar, even if it was processed without a bone char filter, it was likely grown in soil that contains animal products, just like almost all of our food (with the exception of “veganic” foods grown in vegan soil).
We live in an imperfect world (right now), and all we can do right now is the best we can. Be gentle with yourself, gentle with others, and remember that all of us here want the same thing—a world free from exploitation of others. I have no doubt that we’ll get there one day.