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Animal fat to stay in future banknotes, Bank of England concludes

Animal fat to stay in future banknotes, Bank of England concludes

The Bank of England said on Thursday it would not change the way its new plastic banknotes are made, despite concerns among some vegetarians and religious groups about trace amounts of animal fat used in their production.

The Bank added that it "has not taken this decision lightly", the BBC reports.

HM Treasury advised the Bank that it does not believe switching to palm oil derivatives would achieve value for money for taxpayers.

Of those who expressed a preference, 88 per cent were against the use of animal-derived products and 48% objected to the use of palm oil-derived additives.

However, the Bank said today the future production of fivers, new £10 notes and new £20s, which are being launched in 2020, will carry on as it has.

It says the only viable alternative would have been to use chemicals derived from palm oil but this raised "questions about environmental sustainability".

The Bank's estimated extra cost of switching to palm oil is around £16.5 million over the next 10 years, which would not represent "value for money for taxpayers".

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A spokesperson told the BBC: "The Bank has had to balance these responses against its other public duties and priorities as well as the other evidence gathered over the past months".

The BoE past year launched its first polymer banknotes which it said were more durable and harder to fake. It emerged during the banks research that plastic containing animal fat is also used in debit and credit cards, mobile phones, cosmetics, soaps, household detergent bottles and vehicle parts.

Britain's new bank notes are harder to forge than their predecessors.

None of that is much consolation to vegetarians, however - the notes are printed on polymer, which uses tallow, a hard, fatty substance usually made from rendered meat, rather than on the cotton-based paper that was used before.

Hindu Council UK, an umbrella body, had highlighted that many Hindus were concerned due to the animal-derived products in the new notes, because one of the key virtues in the Hindu faith is Ahimsa or the practice of non-violence.

More than 130,000 people signed a petition against the use of tallow to manufacture the £5 notes, which were released in September.


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