Contemporary issues

The new £5 note has animal fat in it – here’s what else isn’t vegetarian

There has been an interesting issue in the UK over the last month or so. The Bank of England admitted that the new £5 note contains animal fat. 

Well, vegetarians and vegans were up in arms over it all. Absolute outrage from some people – if absolute outrage is posting an angry tweet.

I’m not trying you say they’re unjust, in fact, if I were vegetarian/vegan, I’d probably be pretty disgusted that animal fat was used to create the new, crisp note in my wallet.

But I’m not vegan and my wallet is made of real Italian leather – oh well.

I do have a problem with the reaction to the news of the UK’s new fatty fiver… It’s not the only everyday item that’s made using animal fat!

Here’s a couple of other things we use, which contain animal fat, that people aren’t crying about:

Carrier bags

You know then you squeeze your fingers together to slip open a plastic bag? That’s only made possible because of chicken fat; it’s used to make the bags less prone to sticking together.


There is a spray that is used on banana skins to extend their shelf life; the substance has bacteria fighting properties and is taken from crabs’ shells.


Animal fat is an internal ingredient to those bars of soap that you have sitting on the edge of your bath.


Sugar is very white, isn’t it? Do you know what else it white? Cows’ bones. Cattle bones are charred and used as a way to give sugar it’s colour.


This might actually be actually be a bit of a nightmare for an unaware vegan. Right. 1) Cows’ liver is used to moisten the paint. 2) Animal bones are used to create black paints. 3) Squid ink is used to create sepia tones in paint.

Musical instruments

The adhesive used to stick together instruments like an acoustic guitar or a violin is made by boiling animal bones and tissue.


Here’s a vivid one for you: can you recall that odd smell that comes from crayons? Cow fat.

Pedal bikes

Stearic acid is a very important ingredient that is used to soften bicycle tyres and it’s made using animal fat.

Artifical vanilla flavouring

I wish I was joking but one of the main ingredients used in vanilla ice cream is taken from the anus of a beaver. It’s called castoreum and is a goo-like substance.


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