United Kingdom won't 'demonetise' £5 notes that contain animal fat

Mark Carney Makes First Transaction With New Polymer Fiver

The Bank of England has said it will keep the new £5 polymer note - which contains traces of tallow, a substance made from animal fat - in circulation.

The central bank said after weighing up concerns "it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation".

It concluded that taking any action would be too costly and could put the efficiency of advanced counterfeit measures contained in the notes at risk.

The BoE also said it was reviewing processes linked to existing paper 20 pound and 50 pound notes, as the recycling methods used for waste paper involved trace amounts of animal products, although no residues were in the notes themselves.

The BoE stated at the time that it had not been aware of the inclusion of animal derivatives in the new notes. The campaigners behind the change.org petition argued that using tallow in the notes was "unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the UK".

In November 2016 the new fiver, which entered circulation in September, was found to contain minute amounts of animal by-product, tallow.

"When the Bank discovered the presence of these products, its first step was to alert the public and subsequently has been treating the concerns raised by members of the public with the utmost seriousness", it added.

Those plant-based alternatives would need to go through more rigorous testing, however, to make sure they do not affect the quality and durability of the notes, before being used to make new notes in future.

"The bank will therefore launch a full consultation on 30 March about the content of polymer substrate to be used in its future banknotes".

A petition to ban the note was signed by more than 134,000 people.

The Bank of England said it had considered destroying, reprinting and delaying the issue of the new note in response to the backlash from vegetarians and vegans.

In a statement it says the rollout of the £5 banknote has already cost £46 million and production of the £10 note - which began last August - has cost £24 million so far. The bank admitted that its new plastic notes, launched with the £5 in September past year, contain trace amounts of it, stoking some controversy.

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