ALL beef has been taken off the menus at Oxfordshire’s schools while independent testing is carried out on lunchtime meals to make sure they do not contain horsemeat.

Carillion Plc, which serves Oxfordshire’s school and hospital meals service, has revealed that it has sent samples of meat products from its local and national suppliers for independent DNA analysis.

Last week the company, which took over the contract for supplying primary and secondary school meals when it was outsourced by Oxfordshire County Council in July, offered “solid reassurance” that its food had not been contaminated.

But last night a spokesman said: “Due to the on-going and understandable concern surrounding horsemeat contamination, we recognise that many parents would simply prefer their children not to eat beef at the moment.

“We have therefore taken the precautionary decision to remove all beef from our lunchtime menus.

“Carillion has sent samples of meat products for independent DNA analysis. We would like to reiterate our reassurances that the food provided through its Food With Thought catering service has the highest level of quality and hygiene.

“Our suppliers have confirmed that they have not supplied us with any products or ingredients that have been sourced from any of the meat suppliers cited by the Food Standards Agency and that no meat products supplied contain the DNA of any species other than that declared on the packaging.”

A result on the DNA testing is expected in the next seven days.