TESCO chief executive Dave Lewis has ruled out imported chlorine-washed chicken from the US.

He told a Financial Times Future of Retail conference that the supermarket’s research clearly showed shoppers were averse to American poultrymeat.

“When we test things with our customers, they are really quite vocal about what it is they do and don’t want,” he said.

“So when people talk about let’s go back to genetically modified foods or chlorinated chicken if you have that conversation with UK customers, then they reject it. As a retailer, we will have to respect what people want.”

Chlorinated chicken has come to represent a potential watering-down of standards after Britain leaves the EU.

Other retailers echoed Mr Lewis’s sentiment at the event, in mid-September, including Waitrose, WM Morrison, Marks and Spencer and Iceland.

The British Retail Consortium said: “Consumers drive the market; currently almost all fresh chicken is produced in Britain because that is what consumers want and we do not anticipate any change to this at the present.”