Food manufacturers in China could face jail for life under new draft government guidelines on food safety.

Beijing has pledged to improve food safety following a year of scares that have called into question regulations covering the country's food industry.

Under the draft legislation, the Chinese government is aiming to improve the monitoring of food and set up a recall system for unsafe products.

Manufacturers of unsafe food face fines, the revocation of their production licence and imprisonment, which could reportedly stretch to a life jail term.

On 20 May, the guidelines will be submitted to the Chinese legislature for consideration.

Last week, Washington indicated that it remains concerned over the safety of food imports from China with the announcement of plans to open an agency office in China.

The move, from the US Food and Drug Administration, marks a departure from the strategy of inspecting imports as they enter the US.