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In another answer, I learned that some flour is not vegan because it may have been bleached with bone char.

When I'm shopping, what do I need to look for to ensure I'm getting vegan flour?

  • 2
    Also, watch out for L-Cysteine (E920), which is also often used. See Wikipedia – wythagoras Feb 1 '17 at 18:43
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If you happen to live in a place that demands trace chemicals to be described in the label, look for known inorganic oxidants:

  • Bromates or Iodates

  • Peroxides (calcium, magnesium, etc) and/or azodicarbonamide (also azo[bis]formamide)

http://seaystanford.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Screen-Shot-2013-07-28-at-3.57.44-PM.png

  • Chlorine [dioxide|oxide] (ClO2) or Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

I couldn't find a picture because they are not mandatorily listed.

The reason why those agents are guaranteed to point to vegan flour is simple: they react strongly with organic matter. Adding animal products to the process would make them less effective and increase overall production costs.

If none of those agents are listed in a bleached flour, then it is likely to have been bleached by bone char, or a reductant chemical such as L-cysteine/L-cystine (produced from animal hair and feathers).

There is, however, a widely used inorganic oxidant that does not need to be listed in the package: oxygen (or, sometimes, just air). Regular air will whiten flour just as well, it just takes a lot longer to reach the right white. Flour whitened by either air or O2 are considered unbleached for legal purposes.

Alternatively, you can use non-whitened varieties of flour, such as whole wheat flour.

OBS: all of the above inorganic chemicals are known carcinogens, and, as such, might have been banned from your country.

  • I would be suspect of the riboflavin on that label too... – rackandboneman Mar 22 '17 at 10:13
  • Do you happen to know if brown bread is vegan? – Petar Vasilev Aug 8 '17 at 9:47
  • I can't find any resources online mentioning bleaching of flour with bone char can you refer me to some? – Petar Vasilev Nov 1 '17 at 17:46
  • I recently contacted a mill and was told that bleaching of flour is illegal in the European Union and Canada. – Petar Vasilev Dec 30 '17 at 17:27

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