BOE Will Keep Polymer Bank Notes After Animal-Fat Controversy

  • New plastic fiver to stay in circulation after review
  • Presence of animal fat in new polymer notes criticized

The Bank of England said it won’t pull its new plastic banknotes from circulation following controversy over the use of animal fat in their production.

The central bank will keep the polymer five-pound ($6.22) note and will issue the new ten-pound bill as planned in September, it said in a statement Wednesday. The BOE said it gave “careful consideration” to the matter but also had to weigh its responsibility to maintaining the supply of high quality and secure banknotes.

The BOE also noted that the production uses only an “extremely small amount of tallow.” Nevertheless, it will continue to look at its options about the production of future banknotes and has delayed signing contracts for a new 20-pound bill to give it it time to get “further opinions on the use of animal-derived products and plant-based alternatives.” That note is due to be issued by 2020.

Officials will begin a public consultation on March 30 about the content of polymer substrate to be used in future banknotes, with the BOE publishing its conclusions in the summer.

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