The Bank of England (BoE) has confirmed through Twitter that the new polymer five pound notes contain tallow, which is made from animal fat.
This revelation has upset vegetarians and vegans. In response to this news some vegetarians have set up a petition at change.org to remove the tallow from the notes.
Three years ago the Bank of England caused controversy when it announced that Elizabeth Fry would make way for Winston Churchill on the £5 note, thereby eradicating women from paper money. The Florence Nightingale £10 note was withdrawn in 1994.
Eventually, the BoE stated that Jane Austen’s features would grace the new £10 note, which is due to come into circulation in the summer of 2017. So perhaps there is hope for UK veggies that the Bank will think of some other way of producing its paper money.
Update for 1 December: The BoE has released a statement, which says: “We are aware of some people’s concerns about traces of tallow in our new five pound note. We respect those concerns and are treating them with the utmost seriousness.
“Innovia [the supplier] is now working intensively with its supply chain and will keep the Bank informed on progress towards potential solutions.”
The statement also says that the tallow used is a “small amount” and that “the Bank did not know about it when the contract was signed.”