Vegans and vegetarians have voiced outrage after it emerged the new £5 notes contain tallow, a substance made from animal fat that is often used in the making of soap and candles.
“There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes,” it confirmed.
More than 1,700 people so far have signed a petition demanding that the substance is no longer used in the production of the currency
“The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans & vegetarians in the UK. We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use,” the petition read.
As the tweet was shared, social media users expressed their disgust at the news.
“New £5 note isn’t vegan. Was everyone’s 2016 New Year’s resolution to do ridiculously insane stuff like adding meat to money?” on user, Dan Hanks, wrote.
Another said: “So unnecessary in 2016! I will no longer be accepting these notes. Ironic I donated my first fiver to a Vegan sanctuary.”
Others, however, were not too worried by the news.
“As a vegetarian I really find myself laughing at vegan-militant tweets. So now we shouldn’t use the new £5 note coz it’s not vegan? Get out,” one user wrote.
The new £5 notes are printed on polymer – a thin flexible plastic film that is more durable and secure than the current paper notes.
It is about 15 per cent smaller than the previous one and the new material will repel dirt and moisture – meaning that if a drink is spilled on it, the note can be wiped clean.
The arrival of plastic banknotes meant Britain joined a list of more than 30 countries that already used them. Australia was the first to launch plastic notes in 1988, followed by countries including New Zealand and Singapore.