Supermarket giant Tesco has hit back at claims that food hygiene regulations are routinely flouted at one of its UK outlets.

Rival retailer Sainsbury’s, which was also a subject of similar claims from UK broadcaster, the BBC, has launched an investigation into the allegations.

The BBC’s ‘Whistleblower’ programme, which aired last night (22 May), claimed that customers are mislead about the freshness of food on the meat and fish counters. According to the report, which included undercover footage, counter staff at two branches of Tesco and Sainsbury’s falsified food temperature records and sell by dates. Staff were also found to use the same knives for cooked and uncooked meats.

The programme also claimed that some Tesco and Sainsbury’s suppliers were guilty of breaching health and safety legislation at their factories.

Tesco denied the BBC’s allegations, stating: “This programme paints a deeply false picture of our business. We looked vigorously at the store and our suppliers and we are satisfied that any incidents captured on film were not representative of the high standards we insist on.”

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s said that it has launched an investigation into the issue.

“Sainsbury’s takes any matter relating to food safety extremely seriously,” the group said in a statement. “On receipt of the limited information provided by the BBC, we launched an immediate investigation at our store.”