This week, some people in Britain and Canada were shocked to learn that their money contains trace amounts of animal fat. The new banknotes use animal byproducts that are found in everything from credit cards and crayons to glue and soap. But Gizmodo has confirmed that Britain and Canada aren’t the only ones.
File photo of delicious meat, albeit meat that was presumably not used in the manufacture of banknotes (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Culinary Experience)
Gizmodo can report that at least 24 countries around the world use money that contains tiny amounts of meat. Innovia Security, the company that makes the thin exterior lining for the bills in two dozen countries, told Gizmodo over email that, “a trace amount of tallow is used by some of our component resin suppliers.”
“Tallow is a substance made from rendered animal fat, and in addition to its use in the petrochemical and plastics industry, it is commonly used [in] a range of industries including the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries,” said Carlos Fernandez, an Innovia spokesperson.
So which countries use this process for their money? We’ve compiled the list below using information supplied by Innovia. The list includes the dates that each country first issued their meat-laced currency.
- Australia – First issued 1988
- Brunei – First issued 1996
- Canada – First issued 2011
- Chile – First issued 2004
- Costa Rica – First issued 2011
- Dominican Republic – First issued 2010
- Guatemala – First issued 2007
- Honduras – First issued 2010
- Hong Kong – First issued 2007
- Malaysia – First issued 1998
- Mauritania – First issued 2014
- Mauritius – First issued 2013
- Mexico – First issued 2002
- Mozambique – First issued 2011
- New Zealand – First issued 1999
- Nicaragua – First issued 2009
- Nigeria – First issued 2007
- Papua New Guinea – First issued 1991
- Paraguay – First issued 2009
- Romania – First issued 1999
- Singapore – First issued 1991
- United Kingdom – First issued 2016
- Vanuatu – First issued 2010
- Vietnam – First issued 2001
As you can see, Australia is leading the pack.
There has been a push by some anti-counterfeiting experts for the United States to adopt the same polymer substrate features of these other countries and finally abandoning the paper-based bill. However, there are no immediate plans to do so.
And if suppliers don’t stop using animal fat in their production of banknotes, however small, we can probably expect significant push back from animal rights activists in the future.