The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 49, December 4, 2016, Article 29


Howard Berlin forwarded this story from CNN Money. Thanks. -Editor

Bank of England £5 banknote Surprise! There's a special ingredient in the new plastic cash being distributed across the U.K.: Animal fat.

The Bank of England admitted Monday that traces of tallow, derived from animal fat, can be found in the new British £5 notes that went into circulation in September.

The news prompted an immediate outcry from vegetarians and vegans, some of whom called on the central bank to stop using animal products in its currency.

"This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.," read the text of an online petition that quickly attracted more than 15,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for the Bank of England said it had only recently become aware of the issue, noting that the polymer used to make the cash is provided by a company called Innovia Films.

Patricia Potts, a spokeswoman at Innovia Films, confirmed that there are "minute" traces of tallow in the company's polymer. She said a supplier had used tallow to help make the material more "anti-static." She declined to name the supplier.

"They are looking to eliminate that, but obviously that will take time," Potts said. "It's a very difficult process."

Potts said that Innovia Films did not know until recently that animal fats were being used. She said the company has a policy to never "knowingly add any animal ingredients into our products."

Innovia Films supplies polymer to 23 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand, for use in currency.

Howard adds:

I'm wondering if the animal was kosher or halal.

To read the complete article, see:
The U.K.'s new plastic money has a surprise ingredient: Animal fat (

This article has a little more background on how the story came about. -Editor

Dipping a fiver in curry sauce

The news emerged on Twitter, when the central bank tweeted a reply to questions about the money’s ingredients.

Tallow is to beef or mutton what lard is to pigs—rendered fat that is solid at room temperature. It’s frequently used in candles and soaps.

Unlike candles and soap, vegans can’t easily abstain from using cash, even in an increasingly cashless society. So far, the Bank of England has distributed 440 million of the plastic banknotes. By May, you won’t be able to use the old one. And by 2020, all of the country’s banknotes will be replaced with new polymer ones.

The Bank's confirmation came out on Twitter, but I wonder where the story really started. The questioner asked, "I've heard the new £5 has tallow in it which is derived from animal fat. Can you please let me know if this is correct" Who was saying that? Who would think to ask about animal fat in plastic in the first place? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
The UK’s new £5 notes are made with animal fat (

Copycat articles have spread around the world. Here are examples from Scotland and New Zealand. -Editor

To read the complete articles, see:
New Scottish polymer banknotes ‘contain traces of animal fat’ (
New Zealand's banknotes contain animal fat, here's your guide to avoiding them (

Here's the Bank of England's official statement on the matter, published November 30, 2016. -Editor

We are aware of some people’s concerns about traces of tallow in our new five pound note. We respect those concerns and are treating them with the utmost seriousness.

This issue has only just come to light, and the Bank did not know about it when the contract was signed.

Information recently provided by our supplier, Innovia, and its supply chain shows that an extremely small amount of tallow is used in an early stage of the production process of polymer pellets, which are then used to create the base substrate for the five pound note.

Innovia is now working intensively with its supply chain and will keep the Bank informed on progress towards potential solutions.

To read the complete article, see:
Bank of England statement on Polymer Banknotes (

Some businesses have taken to banning the new notes. -Editor

A vegan cafe in the UK is turning away customers trying to buy coffees with the country's new £5 note, because it contains animal fats.

Sharon Meijland, who owns the Rainbow Cafe in Cambridge, has posters up warning customers about the new banknote ban.

To read the complete article, see:
Vegan cafe abused for refusing new UK banknote (

The Guardian quotes the inventor of the polymer banknote. -Editor

Professor David Solomon says the polymer notes contain trivial amounts of tallow, an animal fat found in candles and soap, yet pressure is being placed on the Bank of England to find an alternative.

“It’s stupid. It’s absolutely stupid,” Solomon told the Australian radio station 2GB. “There’s trivial amounts of it in there.”

To read the complete article, see:
£5 animal fat bank note: British vegetarians being 'stupid' says inventor (

Fred Weinberg ad02

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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