A new 18-page report from the United Fresh Produce Association lays out a timeline for implementation of the just-passed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

The paper, called “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010: Likely Impact on the Produce Industry” is available free of charge to members and at a cost of $50 for nonmembers, the association said in a Jan. 12 news release for the Washington, D.C.-based association.

The document looks at new responsibilities and regulations related to the law for operators throughout the fresh produce supply chain, United Fresh said in the release.

The implementation of the legislation will take more than three years, the United Fresh white paper indicated.

Under the law, companies will be required to develop preventive food safety controls and share their plans with the FDA.

One of the first milestones in the law, the document said, is the requirement that the Food and Drug Administration — in concert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state departments of agriculture and the Secretary of Homeland Security — publish a proposed food safety for fruits and vegetables.

The white paper said the rule will establish minimum science-based standards for fruits and vegetables based on known safety risks, including the commodity’s link to foodborne illness outbreaks.

Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh, said the document gives a quick but complete summary of the major changes the industry will face.

The paper includes segment-specific impacts of the law, in addition to big picture looks at mandatory recall authority for FDA, traceability, foodborne illness surveillance, food safety education and more.

The white paper can be downloaded at the United Fresh web site.  Questions about how to obtain the paper can be directed to Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education manager, at jjacocks@unitedfresh.org or (202) 303-3400, ext. 405.