The Bank of England has confirmed there’s a trace of tallow in the new British £5 notes that went into circulation in September. That news has sparked an outcry from vegetarians and vegans who are calling 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 115,000 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.
Several meat-eating Brits have tweeted they will gladly exchange a £1 note for any £5 note a vegan refuses to use.
Central banks have been switching to polymer cash in recent years because the flexible material resists dirt and lasts longer than paper cash. It also has some robust security features that are only possible with plastic money.