Russia has imposed a ban on live pigs from Germany after elevated levels of dioxin were found in sugar beet pulp, a feed ingredient from sugar producer Pfeifer & Langen.

Dioxin levels were found to be 1.0-1.6 nanograms per kilo, slightly above the permitted 0.75 nanograms per kilo, according to reports. "We are worried about the absence of coordination between the (German) federal and local veterinary services," said Alexei Alexeyenko, a spokesman for German watchdog group Rosselkhoznadzor. "As a result we do not have sufficient guarantees that pigs are not tainted with dioxin, or they haven't been fed antibiotics."

Germany's Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ministry has said the Russian move is not justified. "We are in discussions with our Russian partners to remove any possible misunderstandings," a ministry spokesperson said.