I emailed Domino sugar to get clarification on whether their granulated sugar and brown sugar were vegan. The answer was a definite no and honestly was much more information than I really wanted. Here is my email to them, followed by their response:
Sent: Sat 11/4/2006 3:08 PM
To: Web Mail
Subject: Consumer Question or Comment
Consumer Question or Comment
Can you please tell me if your products are vegan? Do they contain any
animal products? Is the sugar bleached using any animal products?
Specifically I am wondering about the regular granulated sugar and the
Thank you for taking the time to contact Domino Sugar Co. regarding our use of natural charcoal. Natural charcoal is a sterile material used to remove color, impurities and certain naturally occurring minerals from sugar during the refining process. It acts similarly to a coffee filter and is not in the sugar itself. There are no animal products in Domino Sugar. Domino sugars are certified kosher, pareve.
The safe and long-standing use of natural charcoal in the sugar refinement process is the best available in the sugar industry and is approved and certified safe by both the FDA and USDA. Consumers can be assured that all materials used in the Domino Sugar's refining process are fully approved as required by the federal government’s strict manufacturing standards.
The natural charcoal we use is made exclusively from the bones of non-European cattle. These healthy bones are incinerated for 12 hours at temperatures reaching over 700 degrees centigrade. This burning process destroys all organic matter (including viruses, bacteria and proteins), leaving only an inert granular substance called natural charcoal that is about 10% elemental carbon and about 90% calcium hydroxyapatite.
We take pride in the fact that our sugars are 100% pure cane and do not contain fillers of any kind. We do not bleach our sugar. Our brown sugars contain no added flavoring or coloring as the molasses flavor is derived naturally from cane, through crystallization.
We also produce a natural Demerara Sugar which is crystallized from pressed cane juice and is not filtered over natural charcoal. Many consumers enjoy this natural turbinado sugar for its crunchy texture and its rich, subtle molasses flavor. You may also prefer to purchase our Domino Pure Cane Certified Organic Sugar; this sugar also does not pass through the natural charcoal filter.
I sincerely hope that the foregoing answers your questions and addresses your concerns.
Connie C. Hunter, Domino Foods, Inc.
Note that cane sugars (they look light brown but taste the same) are a vegan alternative to white granulated sugar. Here are some cane sugars you can look for in your grocery: Florida Crystals, Domino organic cane. Florida Crystals also makes a powdered sugar. I think the Whole Foods store brand 365 also has a natural cane sugar.