Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to go on diet. However sugary foods may be tainted with hidden animal suffering. The culprit is sugar, which is difficult to believe as it is sourced from the sugar cane plant. The sad truth is that some countries still use the outdated process of refining their sugar with animal bone char. So we contacted the leading sugar suppliers in South Africa and the good news is in: our sugar is vegan!
SA Top Sugar Producers Respond
We contacted the top sugar producers asking them to let me know if their sugar and other products are vegan and whether they use any animal products, for example bone char, in the refining process. These are their responses:
“The Tsb sugar refining process does not use bone char. The process employed at Tsb for decolourisation of raw sugar is carbonatation followed by flocculation and finally polish sulphitation. The process chemicals used for raw and refined sugar production are not animal derived. Tsb sugar is Kosher and Halaal certified. After decolourisation conventional crystallisation is applied to produce refined sugar crystals. This process is adequate to manufacture EEC 2 and Bottlers specification refined sugar.”
— Quality Sugars, Selati
“We don’t produce artificial sweeteners and refined sugar is manufactured by removing traces of molasses from the sugar crystal, and through an ion-exchange process – no bone char is used at all – leaving the sugar crystal in its natural form.”
— Illovo Sugar Limited
“Confirm our sugar is vegan friendly. We have not used bone char for over 30 years. We use a resin process.”
— Tongaat Hulett
Good on you South Africa!
This does not mean to say that sugar is healthy, or even recommended. Being vegan is about living a more compassionate and ethical life, not about being on a calorie-restrictive on diet. Therefore choosing to be vegan will not impact your decision about whether to consume sugar or not.