Just the facts: Which sugar is not vegan certifiable

Just the facts: Which sugar is not vegan certifiable

Vegan Society of Canada News
Published September 25th 2018
Updated May 7th 2023

In Canada, there are only two major sugar companies: Rogers/Lantic and Redpath. Lantic claims to have stopped processing their sugar with animal by-products as of October 27, 2020. We were not able to independently verify those claims, therefore, both Redpath and Lantic are not certified vegan.

Additionally, Lantic still uses genetically modified sugar beet in their Alberta plant, which may contain animal genes, or animal derived substances, and therefore would not be vegan certifiable.

The implications of all this are far reaching as our food system is global in nature and the origin of individual ingredients is not labelled anywhere in the world. In addition, most packaged goods are manufactured with different grades of sugar than what can be purchased retail which further puts into question whether the end product would be vegan certifiable.

It is important to note that consumer packaged goods also include beverages, so this means many soft drinks would likely not be vegan certifiable. We are only discussing so far the impact of sugar whitening with animal by-products, but of course there is also the issue that most sugars come from cane sugar which is often highly problematic due to slavery and slavery like conditions of human animals where it is usually grown.

We have so far not certified any refined sugar as vegan, and it is likely many forms of sugars would not be vegan certifiable and therefore many end products containing added sugar as well.

If one must add sugar there are various forms that are more likely to be suitable for vegans. For example, while the major sugar producers in Canada source their sugar cane from countries with a higher rate of exploitation, the U.S.A is one of the top 10 producers of sugar in the world, and is also available in Canada through other suppliers. Furthermore, there is also maple syrup which is mostly produced in Canada or the U.S.A which is less likely to be produced by the exploitation of human animals, for example in slavery or slavery-like conditions. In addition, it is easy to find producers that do not export outside of North America and would be unlikely to have tested their products on animals. Having said that maple syrup is not completely free of potential issues, for example there may be some issues with anti-foaming and cleaning agents.

We encourage businesses, especially those producing basic ingredients, to get vegan certified if they qualify by an organization that is concordant with our vision and the vegan philosophy. Unfortunately many do not, please contact us for more details on vegan certification.