US food manufacturers have called for more regulation to ensure the safety and quality of food imports into the country.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) unveiled an "action plan" to more effectively scrutinise food imports after months of safety scares in the US.

The GMA wants to team up with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which would oversee the programme.

As part of its plan, the GMA proposes that US food manufacturers would share the results of tests on food imports with the FDA. All importers would also be asked to meet a "foreign supplier quality assurance programme" to meet FDA standards on food safety.

"Because we cannot simply inspect our way to a safer food supply, industry can apply its vast knowledge and practical experience along the entire supply chain to prevent problems before they arise," GMA president and CEO Cal Dooley said.

The GMA also urged Congress to give the FDA more cash to oversee the programme. Lobby groups have expressed concern about the level of cash allocated to the agency.

Questions over the funding of the FDA come at a time when the agency's effectiveness in protecting food safety in the US is under the spotlight.