Q. Lately the Canadian government acknowledged that tallow is included in the new bills composition as a lubricant for the notes so they will easily pass through coin (paper) machines. Is that now a new problem for people that have the unhealthy habit of wetting their fingers with saliva when counting paper money?
A. Although we do find that one should on the onset refrain from using tallow candles for havdala etc. (Or Zarua 95) or tallow soap (See Mishna Berura – Biur Halacha 326), the minute amounts of processed tallow added to the banknotes should be of no consequence.
Innovia Films, the company that provides polymer for the banknotes of 24 countries, including Canada explains that beef tallow has been used for decades as an anti-static ingredient in a wide range of products, including fabric softener liquids dryer sheets and sheet plastics—including plastic bags (and plastic money)—to both reduce static cling and to generally lower surface tension or interfacial tension—all in order to make the plastic slide easier. Additionally, beef tallow has been commonly used in the manufacture of candles, crayons, soaps, detergents and glues, not to mention inks, paints, wax paper, rubber, lubricants, margarine, lipsticks, shaving creams and other cosmetics.
In almost all instances however—certainly in the case of anti-static additives—there are vegetable oil alternatives that perform equally as well as rendered animal fats.
Horav Shlomo Miller's Shlit'a opinion is that besides the fact that the minute (a fraction of a percent) tallow additive, is likely a chemical not fit for any consumption (such as dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride), it is also balua or absorbed in the polymer banknotes, therefore of no kashrus concern.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit”a