White sugar contains animal bone which is responsible for the white color. That bone may not be a halal (if the animal may be killed as per the Islamic law). So is sugar haram or halal?

  • I never knew that about white sugar. Is it the same for brown sugar?
    – itsols
    Mar 22, 2014 at 7:21
  • @itsols it depends; doesn't apply to unrefined brown sugar, but most brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses (the "brown") added back in afterwards.
    – goldPseudo
    Mar 24, 2014 at 5:16

7 Answers 7


White sugar is not made out of, nor does it contain, bones.

Sugar (most sugar) is cane sugar, which comes from sugar canes. It is then refined, and one of two things happens:

  • The molasses is removed (and you get white sugar)
  • The molasses is not removed (and you get brown sugar)

Further refinement is what gives it that white colour and shine. This is done through the use of a number of chemicals, and it may include filtering it through bone meal, although that appears to be something used historically and not currently.

If it doesn't contain bone meal, there's no problem.

What if, hypothetically, it did contain bone meal?

According to scholars, for the purity to change, one of these needs to change:

  • The colour
  • The smell
  • The taste

Since the white colour isn't from adding bone meal, but from the filtration process, it doesn't affect the purity; not unless there's a significant amount that enters the sugar, even if the bone was from an animal that was haram to eat.

Here's a link to an article that talks about the sugar manufacturing process. It mentions:

[...] the clarified syrup is decolorized by filtration through a bed of activated carbon; bone char was traditionally used in this role, but its use is no longer common.

(Emphasis mine.) The original source is Wikipedia, which is referenced from the article itself.

Based on all of this, and Allah knows best, it's nothing to worry about. If you're really concerned, you can always switch over to brown sugar, honey (which is popular in the sunnah for numerous health benefits), or other substitutes.

  • Of note, brown sugar doesn't necessarily mean unrefined (i.e. unfiltered); it can be (and according to Wikipedia often is) produced by adding molasses back to refined sugar, rather than leaving the original molasses unfiltered.
    – goldPseudo
    Mar 24, 2014 at 3:33
  • @goldPseudo I never said brown sugar is unrefined. I recently discovered this myself.
    – ashes999
    Mar 24, 2014 at 4:15

Bone char (charcoal made from animal bones) is used to filter sugar and decolorize it. It is not an ingredient in refined sugar and thus is not consumed. So the question on whether it is halal to consume or not does not enter in the picture.


I am a Mechanical engineer, and have worked in all the sugar beet factories in England.

1) Animal bones were historically used to filter impurities as previously mentioned. That method has been replaced with carbonataion, sulphatation and fine mesh filters. There certainly will be no trace of animal bone in the final product (I am 100% sure of that !)

2) for some strange reason I remember an Imam visited the factory one day to bless the silos, therefore it is blessed (even though it doesn't need to be !)

glad to help.


If it doesn't explicitly state that it contains animal bones then it's halal.

Otherwise if the sugar is from a country where the Muslims are in majority or the provider of the sugar is a Muslim as long as there is a likelihood that the shopkeeper has ascertained that it was slaughtered according to the shari‘a laws.

Else it's haram.

  • This is not true. Food and normal things are halal until proven haram.
    – ashes999
    Mar 24, 2014 at 3:06

Each and every company has some of the items as its ingredients. And it has it publicly shown on the package of its. Until you buy it from a shop that allows you to buy it in KGs.

Otherwise, each package has its ingredients written on it clearly, and you can read it. Sometimes there is a big label of HALAL on it too.

Bone itself isn't haram, it is haram only if the animal died and then after sometime, you used it for some purpose. If the animal isn't slaughtered in Islam way, even then the bone isn't halaal. You need to slaughter the animal in a way that's according to Shariyat, actually in Shariyat you slaughter an animal in a way, in which it would feel the minimum amount of pain, and its soul would leave its body as soon as possible. Letting him feel the pain for just an instance of time.

That's why Islamic way of Slaughter is necessary. Otherwise the animal is Haraam. Its flesh, bone everything is haram for us then

A Sugar made out of that, is in turn haram too. But otherwise you can use it just keep a note on this.


Sugar suppliers are still using Bone Char to refine the sugar, see a more recent article on that and also the response from Mondelez International, a multinational company that owns Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, etc.



Definitely it is haram for Muslims,because, bone char is made by using bones of all animals including pigs,dogs,cows etc,it is used for decolourization of sugar cane juice in the preparation of white sugar

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