Bank of England says will not change animal-fat banknotes

Gladys Abbott
August 10, 2017

The Bank of England has made the announcement, following calls from activists to make changes.

In a statement, the bank said "after careful and serious consideration" and extensive public consultation there will be no change to the composition of future bank notes.

Earlier this year, the central bank faced a backlash when it emerged that it was using tallow, a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, in its new plastic £5 note, which went into circulation in September. The Bank of England has conducted in-depth investigations into alternatives and considered these in the context of the manufacture and use of plastics in other everyday household products.

British vegetarians will have to carry on using United Kingdom banknotes that contain traces of animal fat after the Bank of England decided not to switch to another product following controversy late previous year.

The move is likely to enrage animal rights activists such as PETA and the National Council of Hindu Temples, which have expressed their outrage at the use of tallow in new bank notes.

"The only now viable alternative for polymer banknotes is to use chemicals ultimately derived from palm oil", the Bank continued, adding that 88 per cent of respondents to its consultation were against the use of animal-derived additives and 48 per cent were against the use of palm oil-derived additives.

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But the central bank said the only alternative was to use palm oil, which "raises questions about environmental sustainability", and said that switching to this would cost £16.5m over the next 10 years.

It said: "The case for moving to polymer banknotes remains compelling".

Concerns had also been raised about the environmental impact of using palm oil, which researchers have said is a cause of deforestation, pesticide pollution and emissions.

The Bank said it had to balance these responses against its other public duties and priorities as well as the other evidence gathered over the past months. Some Hindu temples in the United Kingdom banned the £5 note.

Innovia declined to comment.

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