Vegetarians and vegans across Britain launched a petition on Monday after the Bank admitted on Twitter that its new plastic £5 notes contain tallow – a substance derived from animal waste.
The petition has amassed more than 113,000 signatures and the Bank is now investigating the matter, which it says it is treating with “utmost seriousness”.
The Bank has insisted it is now working with its supplier to address the issue.
In an official statement, it said: “We are aware of some people”s concerns about traces of tallow in our new £5 note. We respect those concerns and are treating them with the utmost seriousness.
“This issue has only just come to light, and the Bank did not know about it when the contract was signed.
“[Supplier] Innovia is now working intensively with its supply chain and will keep the Bank informed on progress towards potential solutions.”
The ‘Remove tallow from bank notes’ petition, said: “The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow.
“This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the UK.
“We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.”
A Sikh activist also launched a petition, which has attracted 100,000 signatures to ban the currency from temples, where meat products are forbidden.
The new polymer £5 notes came into production in September and are intended to last five years given their improved durability.