British vegetarians will have to carry on using UK bank notes that contain traces of animal fat after the Bank of England decided not to switch to another product following controversy late last year.
The central bank reviewed the make-up of its new plastic notes after thousands of people signed a petition calling on it to end the use of animal-derived products.
But in its latest statement, it said that palm oil was the only alternative to tallow, but that this would cost £16.5m (€18.25m) over 10 years and the Treasury said this wasn’t value for money for taxpayers.
Concerns had also been raised about the environmental impact of using palm oil, which researchers have said is a cause of deforestation, pesticide pollution and emissions.
Suppliers of the oil had been unable to commit to sourcing “the highest level of sustainable palm oil at this time”, according to the Bank of England statement.
The Bank of England had conducted a survey as part of its review.
Of those who expressed a preference, 88% objected to the use of animal-derived ingredients in notes, while just under half were against palm oil.
In the statement, the bank said it “fully recognises the concerns raised” and had “not taken this decision lightly”.
More than 130,000 people signed the online petition last year calling on the Bank of England to stop using animal products in bank notes, after it emerged that small amounts of tallow — which comes from cows and sheep — were used in its first plastic £5 note.
Some Hindu temples and vegetarian cafes refused to accept the new £5 note featuring World War Two leader Winston Churchill.
The Bank of England had said the new £5 note is more durable and harder to fake.
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