Hindus are urging Sugar Land (Texas) headquartered Imperial Sugar Company (ISC) to clearly mention bone char (identifying the source animal), if used to refine the sugar, on the packages sold in the market.
Sheila Turner, Production Planning/Customer Service Manager of ISC, subsidiary of Netherlands headquartered Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), responding to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s query “Do you use bone char (from cow bones) in refining any of your sugars?”, stated: “Yes we do. It is part of our filtration process used in all of our sugars.”
When the sugar refining/filtration source was not listed and if it contained cow bones, it was a serious non-disclosure affecting the Hindu devotees and would severely hurt their feelings when they would come to know that they were inadvertently consuming beef-laced sugar; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed in a statement in Nevada today.
Rajan Zed urged LDC Supervisory Board Chairperson Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, CEO Ian McIntosh, North America Region Head Adrian Isman to seriously look into this issue of transparency and issue a formal apology.
Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism; Zed points out.
It was shocking for the Hindu community to learn that some of these popular sugar labels, which they had been eating for years, might contain traces of bone char said to be produced by charring cow bones while it was not explicitly mentioned on the boxes/packages to caution them, Rajan Zed indicated.
Zed further said that it was hard to comprehend that why a company like ISC (reportedly second largest standalone sugar refiner in the US) was not transparent enough to mention usage of cow bone char explicitly on the box/package when it was part of the process to refine/filter sugar; so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices.
ISC seemingly needed to re-look into its claims of commitment “to maintaining the highest standards of corporate social responsibility in its business activities”, and conducting “business with the highest level of integrity”, Rajan Zed noted.
ISC, launched in 1843, claims to be “one of the oldest continuously operating entities in the State of Texas and a brand that has been trusted families all across the South for generations”. “Sugar Land is named for ISC and our crown logo is featured on the city’s seal”, it adds. Founded in 1851, LDC claims to be “a top three sugar merchandiser and one of the largest cane sugar refiners worldwide” and helping “to feed and clothe some 500 million people”.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.