Tallow controversy over new fiver

Jo Francis
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A petition calling on the Bank of England to remove tallow from the substrate used for the new polymer fiver has reached more than 97,000 signatures.

The petition on Change.org was set up by vegan Doug Maw. It states: “The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the UK. We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.”

At the time of writing the number of people supporting the petition had reach 97,448.

Responding to queries from Twitter users about the composition of the note, the Bank of England tweeted: "There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes."

The new fiver was issued in September. It is printed by De La Rue, on a substrate made by Innovia Films in Wigton, Cumbria.

The substrate is understood to use stearic acid, derived from tallow.

Innovia Films issued a statement. It said: “Resins used to make polymer banknotes contain small amounts of additives that act as stabilisers, anti-block, anti-static or slip agents or as other functional processing aids. These additives, which are important for the final properties of the banknote and very commonly used across the plastics industry, make up less than one per cent of the resin and will include tiny traces of tallow.” 

It’s not clear if De La Rue’s own polymer substrate Safeguard, which is used for the polymer notes issued by three Scottish banks, also contains the substance. 

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