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Not vegan?????
Amanda Griggs
ID#: 79936
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11:46:11 AM on 21-03-2007
The information below in this post is now incorrect. Tofutti used to use bone char sugar but no longer does and this item copied from the Cruelty Free Shop newsletter from March 2007 is now out of date. It has caused confusion with one of your members who then contacted Tofutti about it:
Jessica Cruelty Free Shop.

Got this email from  The Cruelty Free Shop Newsletter - March
Tofutti not vegan
The Cruelty Free Shop will no longer be stocking the Tofutti range as, thanks to one of our vigilant customers, we have discovered that they are made with sugar refined using bone char. The following is a quote from the Tofutti manufacturer’s website (;“Most of our frozen dessert products use cane sugar. We assume that the sugar is refined with animal bone char since this is a fairly common procedure in the sugar refining industry. Please keep in mind that all sugar refining in this country is done by a handful of companies, who establish their own procedures for refining sugar”. Please note that this statement applies to sugar processed in the USA where Tofutti is manufactured.

ID#: 79937
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12:23:40 PM on 21-03-2007
Refined sugar is in alot of food that I am very sure most vegans consume. How are we to know where any sugar in any product comes from. Does this then make every other item with sugar non-vegan?

I think the cruelty free shop has a duty to its members to uphold pure products...that is where this product would be a problem.
Amanda Griggs
ID#: 79938
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12:30:01 PM on 21-03-2007
They don't use bone char to refine sugar in Austarlia.

Why would they do that for anyway????
ID#: 79939
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12:35:00 PM on 21-03-2007
Amanda how would we all know where the sugar comes from in all the products we purchase? I find it hard to believe that everyone is buying products containing 100% Australian ingredients.

Amanda Griggs
ID#: 79940
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12:48:44 PM on 21-03-2007
I suppose you'd just assume they use australian sugar. i can't see we would import sugar when we export so much of the stuff. it would cost more to buy from elsewhere wouldn't it?

ID#: 79941
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12:56:57 PM on 21-03-2007
You can't assume that if it doesn't stipulate 100% Australian ingredients. It might be different if you buy sugar alone as a single product.

Things like soy sauce, some non-dairy milks, breads, Indian/Asian based sauces, soy ice-cream or sweet products, fruit juice with added sugar, non-dairy chocolates, pasta sauces, jams etc etc.

These are only a few, but unless the packaging stipulates then I would take a guess that many of us are eating sugar that is put through this process on a daily basis.

Some people may avoid sugar all together or use alternatives. For those of use who don't then good luck knowing where it comes from in everything.

In saying all that - if a product is designed to provide people who don't eat dairy an alternative...I don't understand why on earth they need to do this.

Ink Devotchkin
ID#: 79942
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1:35:59 PM on 21-03-2007
I got the newsletter today.
No more tofutti for me I guess....

ID#: 79943
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1:48:03 PM on 21-03-2007
I think there is far more to this than meets the eye.

A few questions...

* Is it preferable that this product exists as an alternative to its current form.
* Why do they need to use sugar.
* Can they produce it without it going through this process?
* And for those of you who no longer support it after this I suppose this means you will also be consuming no sugar products from any other countries outside of Australia then?

It reminds me a little of the wine/alcohol issues.

ID#: 79954
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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3:38:02 PM on 21-03-2007
Had my suspicions about this! Thought it would be too good to be true haha!

I personally weaned myself off of Toffutti (only so i'd stop binging on cheesy stuff again hahaha!) some time ago, so I'm not going to be crying  too much :P

Great questions you pose, Vegree. Too true - it is like the booze issue.
ID#: 79957
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3:45:11 PM on 21-03-2007
I agree Vegree, many vegan foods that contain sugar would be refined using animal bones.

Hopefully vegans will stop eating so much sugar now and they will be healthier!
ID#: 79962
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4:08:04 PM on 21-03-2007
In a way I think it would be a shame to see Toffuti boycotted by vegans, as they would be a large part of what keeps this on the shelves.

I think letters to Toffuti are better than boycotting the product and unfortunately this issue only exists due to people consuming meat and dairy and sugar companies using cheap ways to refine sugar. If the meat and dairy industries go - then these by-products would too. I understand that people might not be comfortable with knowing this but it is important to set an example of veganism that will attract more people to adopt this lifestyle.

The charred bones are not used for Toffuti exclusively and I would also like to think that Toffuti is replacing many slices of 'suffering'. 20 years ago these products weren't on our shelves and I would like them to stay. If Toffuti makes becoming vegan easier for some people (which I know it does) then it is a positive thing.

If you boycott Tofutti then it is hypercritical if you don't boycott other sugars in non-australian products.

HH, what a great idea, I personally could do with a little less sugar! It has no nutritional value anyway : )

ID#: 79968
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4:48:58 PM on 21-03-2007
So to clarify, Vegree you may know the answer to this, is raw sugar always vegan?
ID#: 79971
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4:55:17 PM on 21-03-2007
Not that I know of. I am not even positive about Australian standards either...that came from Amanda.

mysterio fusto
ID#: 79974
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5:22:34 PM on 21-03-2007
Cheap raw sugar is generally white sugar "painted brown" by adding some mollasses back after the refining process.
ID#: 79976
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5:30:47 PM on 21-03-2007
This was on another forum I'm on. *cries* I love the Marry Me bars! No faaaaaaaaaaaaaair
ID#: 79987
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6:12:43 PM on 21-03-2007
To answer my own question I did some research. I gather that raw sugar still does have to be refined. Many sources say bone char is not used in Australia anymore, I e-mailed Sugar Australia to confirm this. Beet sugar even from the US is vegan.

146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health
By Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.

With all the information about sugar's ill health effects I don't understand why so many "health food" products contain it.
Dark Horse

ID#: 79999
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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8:26:16 PM on 21-03-2007
Australian sugar is refined using activated carbon.  This can come from coconut husks or peat moss and they have not used bone char in Australia for more than 25 years.  As I understand it, raw sugar has NOT been refined, but it is brown sugar that has been, and has molasses added back into it.

Our Editor of Vital at the time Tofutti first hit the market explained that he would not call it vegan because of the sugar issue and also because of the vinegar issue - whether or not it has been fined (as in wine).  Judging from some of the comments I have received, it appears that Tofutti has disappeared from the supermarket shelves anyway.

As this appears to be the case, why not create a market for Cheesely?  Ask your local health food stores to contact Vegan Perfection (the distributors) to supply it?  They were looking for outlets for all the Redwood products some time ago.  Ask all of those who have lived or stayed in the UK and have used Cheesley and I think you'll find they are pretty rapt.
ID#: 80017
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7:40:59 AM on 22-03-2007
Tofutti soy cheeses do not contain sugar. Only the, um, soy cream cheese and the sour cream and the ice-creams and such do, I believe. I think they're the only products available here that have sugar in them?

Anyway, a quick look on the website confirms the lack of sugar in the cheese. Unless you want to investigate exactly how the vinegar used in the cheese is made, I'm pretty sure the cheese is still vegan.
Dark Horse

ID#: 80019
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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8:05:41 AM on 22-03-2007
The original sliced cheeses did contain sugar and it was listed in the ingredients, but if you say it is no longer there, perhaps it was removed after public pressure, perhaps?  

I had a call from a Jewish fellow in Melbourne several weeks ago who assured me that it was Pareve and it had been passed by the Rabbi.
ID#: 80037
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11:54:32 AM on 22-03-2007
The website does say the cheese slices are vegan. I haven't looked at every other Toffuti product there, but the ones I have taken a peek at, they all contained sugar by the way, do not say they are vegan, just that they are dairy-free.
ID#: 80039
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12:20:17 PM on 22-03-2007
I have emailed tofutti regarding the sugar will let you all know if I get a reply
The cream cheese is one of the only fake cheeses that I actually like! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!
ID#: 80055
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2:32:36 PM on 22-03-2007
Apparently they use bone in the sugar to stop it sticking together (anti-caking agent), a friend of a friend did work in the CSR company plant in oz where this was the procedure in manufacturing white sugar. The bone grind is white and blends nice and anonymously amongst the white sugar. The good news was that this procedure was not used for raw sugar! but contamination issues etcetera are very worrying, for everyones sake i hope they dont use this practice anymore!!
Dark Horse

ID#: 80136
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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10:57:07 PM on 22-03-2007
How long since your friend worked in the industry pieman?  I have never heard of bone char being used as an anticaking agent in sugar.  Icing mixture has an additive of some sort to stop caking, but I'll bet that it is anything but bonechar.  If they haven't used bonechar in refining the product in a quarter of a century, I feel certain they would not be using it for anticaking.  

There would be any number of ways to check - apart from contacting the companies - you could ring Choice magazine to check it out, Consumer Affairs - all sorts of people.  My son used to work for a raw materials company many years ago.  I shall talk to him tomorrow and see what he has to say as he used to deal with the refineries.
ID#: 80770
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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5:01:55 PM on 27-03-2007
I have spoken to someone who worked in the sugar industry. The bone char used in refining was phased out in the mid-90s in Australia. In most parts of the world, it's easier to refine using plant products as they are more common. North America is one of the few places left that still uses bone char... I guess the size of their animal industry has a lot to do with it...
ID#: 121344
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4:18:13 PM on 11-04-2008
Hey guys

I Googled Tofutti to find out more about it and found you! I am a vegetarian from Canberra and I just joined today.

I was rather disappointed and interested when I saw this topic, and I'm wondering if anyone knows what's happening now. Has anything changed with the product or the way the sugar is refined in the USA?

This is a great forum and I look forward to spending hours reading everything here when I get a chance.

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