New Zealand's banknotes are made with animal fat
New Zealand vegans are facing an uncomfortable revelation, our bank notes are made with animal products.
Bank of England confirmed a trace of tallow - derived from animal fat - is found in the new polymer five pound note.
And New Zealand's notes are the same.
Innovia Security, which supplies the polymer substrate for both New Zealand's banknotes and the new five pound note, confirmed the presence of tallow in the product.
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The manufacturer's resin suppliers used a "trace amount of tallow", to assist with production and processing.
This resin makes up a one per cent additive in the final product, on which the notes are printed.
Amanda Sorrenson of Vegan Society New Zealand said it was an unpleasant discovery.
"What, are vegans going to use coins?" she said.
"I don't think it particularly pleases anybody to know that there's animal fat in your wallet."
Sorrenson said it wasn't concerning enough for the society to "jump up and down", and vegans ought to evaluate how they will respond.
"You've got to put up a guard about achieving perfection … You can't bend over backwards and become a very strange person in your endeavor."
SAFE spokesperson Stephen Manson said, "this is a good example of how animal products can pop up in places we don't expect them to".
"It would be good if [the Reserve Bank] looked at sourcing a product that didn't involve the use of animal products," he said.
A spokesperson for the Reserve Bank referred to a statement from Innovia, and declined to comment further.
The revelation initially came via the Bank of England's Twitter account on Tuesday.
Since then, nearly 80,000 people have signed an online petition asking for tallow to be removed from the notes.
Bank of England introduced the new polymer note in September. It will replace the old paper notes which will be removed from circulation in May 2017.
"This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.," the petition states.
"We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use."
The new note features a portrait of Winston Churchill and is favoured for its durability, water resistance, and difficultly to counterfeit.
In the case of the polymer notes, small beads of tallow are likely used to help the currency feed smoothly through machines, Alan Sentman, a chemist and lab manager at Polymer Solutions, told The Washington Post.
But, he added, tallow isn't exclusive to animal fat. It can also be derived from vegetable oils, cocoa butter and other non-animal sources.
"They absolutely could move to a pure vegetable alternative - there's no reason that wouldn't work," Sentman said.
"It's just a little bit cheaper to do with animal fat."
Hi @Jools_Orca there is a trace of tallow in the polymer pallets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes— Bank of England (@bankofengland) November 28, 2016