China's food watchdog has put 12 US food products on a 90-day import alert, according to local reports.

The products, which include chocolate, almonds, lemon juice, cheese, herbs and health care tablets, are understood to contain a banned dye or excessive additives or preservatives, Reuters reported today (10 December).

The products are undergoing "tightened checks", China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said.

The alert comes as the US maintains a ban on imports of food from China, unless they can show they are free of dairy or free of melamine.