Vegans demand a 'fat-free' UK 5-pound bank note

The Bank of England's announcement that its new five-pound note contains animal fat angered vegetarians and religious groups, who are petitioning for a change.

It comes as a shock to many that the notes contain tallow- a hard substance which is made from rendered animal fat that has always been used in the making of things like soap and candles.

It points out that tallow is also used in other common household products such as candles and soap. Claiming that the manufacturing using tallow is "unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the UK".

"While vegans will be unable to opt out of using these notes, we hope that the Bank of England and their supplier take this seriously and use alternative, vegan-friendly sources for all future notes".

There was fury among vegetarians and vegans following confirmation by the Bank that the notes contained tallow. Some vegans would try and boycott the notes but many would have to use them because they can't be avoided, she added.

Sales of new plastic five pound notes with AA, AB or AC are getting out of hand. Amid the row a petition demanding the bank remove the animal fat gained more than 100,000 signatories.

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In a statement released on Wednesday, it said: "This issue has only just come to light, and the Bank did not know about it when the contract was signed".

In the case of the polymer notes, small beads of tallow are likely used to help the currency feed smoothly through machines, Alan Sentman, a chemist and lab manager at Polymer Solutions, told The Washington Post.

The Bank of England is still set to use polymer in two new banknotes: the Jane Austen £10, which enters circulation next summer, and the JMW Turner £20, which will arrive by 2020.

Australia was the first country to adopt polymer banknotes.

The polymer that the new notes are printed with is a thin, flexible plastic film.

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