Sainsbury’s has claimed the removal of kosher food from the shelves of a central London store was a precaution against possible violence.
Customers complained after staff at the firm’s Holborn branch emptied a chill cabinet of kosher produce on Saturday afternoon.
It came shortly after anti-Israel activists attacked products in a branch of Tesco in Birmingham.
During that incident protesters attempting to stop the sale of Israeli goods trashed items and attacked police officers.
One person was arrested and Tesco said the damage was “minimal”.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said the decision to move kosher items was not politically motivated and had been an “isolated decision in a very challenging situation”.
The company is not expected to investigate further or take action against the branch manager.
In recent weeks a number of Sainsbury’s stores have been forced to close temporarily due to anti-Israel protests.
Shopper Colin Appleby, who witnessed the incident in Holborn, wrote on Facebook: “This is their kosher section. It contained produce made in the UK, Poland and Israel.
“When I asked a members of staff what had happened they replied ‘We support a Free Gaza’.”
Dozens of customers criticised the company’s decision on Facebook, saying they would boycott stores.
Sainsbury’s repeated its statement that the removal was for security reasons.