White sugar in burlap sack and a wooden scoop
What Is Bone Char And Why Is It Found In White Sugar?
Made from cattle bones, bone char serves as a means of removing color from raw cane sugar. The result is bright, aesthetically pleasing, snowy white sugar.
While some in the industry whitewash the color-filtering process and the term, calling it natural carbon, many refineries still process raw sugar cane with incinerated cow bones.
Fortunately, bone char utilization is strictly regulated in the USA and Europe. The bones must come from slaughterhouses, and the animals must be free from cattle-related diseases.
Per Waste Management for the Food Industry, "the calcinations of bovine bones in the absence of air" yields bone char, creating activated carbon that sheds 80% of the cane’s color.
Charcoal isn't used, as it doesn't have the same structural integrity as bones and can dissolve. However, due to the super-high heat, having bone bits in your sugar is unlikely.