TORY ministers are set to abandon pledges to stop the sale of chlorine-washed chicken in the UK as part of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

Boris Johnson’s government is reportedly considering allowing food produced under lower welfare standards to be stocked in UK shops.

Under new plans, products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef would be sold in the UK while placed under tariffs to help give British producers a “competitive advantage” over US counterparts, government sources told the Telegraph.

The measures would allow US producers to sell goods in the UK even if they were not complying with the same standards as British farmers.

According to reports, some ministers, including Liz Truss, want to see the tariff scrapped after 10 years. But the Government is said to favour the initial proposal.

FACT CHECK: Will a US trade deal lead to chlorinated chicken in UK?

Conservative ministers have consistently denied that products which don’t meet British standards would be imported. In January, then-Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “We will not be importing chlorinated chicken.”

But after talks began with the US, the stance appeared to soften. Later that month US secretary of state Mike Pompeo made clear the matter was of high importance to the White House.

“We need to be open and honest about competitiveness. We need to make sure we don’t use food safety as a ruse to try and protect a particular industry,” he said.

In February, new Environment Secretary George Eustice refused to give a firm guarantee that chlorine-washed chicken would not be imported.

And in March, Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie claimed: "Despite the SNP’s scaremongering, neither chlorinated chicken nor our NHS is going on the negotiating table."

According to reports, US producers want to limit geographical labelling rules to enable them to use EU protected terms on their products such as Prosecco, Blue Stilton and Parmigiano Reggiano. Such measures could potentially allow American firms to mass produce Scottish products and sell them in the UK

The report has sparked outrage from consumer groups.

Sue Davies, strategic policy partner at watchdog Which?, commented: “One in six Americans are estimated to suffer from foodborne illness every year, much higher than in the UK.

"There must not be any relaxing of food standards – whether for domestically produced food or food that we import – and we should instead be looking at opportunities to enhance standards.”

Asked if promises to prevent the sale of chlorinated chicken in the UK were being upheld, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “The position is that the UK will decide how we set and maintain our own standards and regulations and we have been clear that we will not compromise on our high standards of food safety and animal welfare.

“The UK’s food regulators will continue to provide independent advice to ensure that all food imports comply with those high safety standards.”

A government spokesperson added: “The UK is renowned for its high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards. We have been clear that in all of our trade negotiations – including with the US in our first round of negotiations – that we will not undermine our high domestic environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards by ensuring in any agreement British farmers are always able to compete.”