Bank of England to continue using ‘animal fat’ in notes

10 August 2017

Animal products will continue to be used to make the new polymer £5, £10 and £20 notes, the Bank of England has confirmed today.

The Bank received serious criticism last year when it was revealed that the new polymer £5 notes introduced in September 2016 contained small traces of animal fat – known as tallow.

Earlier this year, the Bank said there would be no change to the composition of the existing £5 notes or to the forthcoming new £10 and £20 notes.

Following an “extensive consultation” and “careful and serious consideration” the Bank has today confirmed this stance.

It says the only viable alternative would have been to use chemicals derived from palm oil but this raised “questions about environmental sustainability”. It would also have cost an estimated £16.5 million to switch to this material source with the taxpayer bearing the additional brunt – something HM Treasury advised the Bank was not value for money.

In a statement, the Bank of England says: “The Bank fully recognises the concerns raised by members of the public, both prior to and during the consultation, and has not taken this decision lightly. 

“The Bank also understands that the decision it has reached may not address the concerns of all parties, but in making this decision, the Bank has considered very carefully the relevant factors and taken into consideration all of its objectives, including its responsibility to maintain confidence in the currency through the issuance of high quality, secure banknotes and achieve value for money for taxpayers.” 

It adds that the amount of animal products in the notes is “typically less than 0.05%”. 

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