John Furzer is Head of Imports Delivery, part of the Imports and Exports Unit, within the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a non-ministerial department responsible for protecting UK consumers from unsafe food.

John commenced his civil service career in 1988, joining the UK’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Following this, John worked in several policy posts across the Ministry, contributing to a range of policy areas, including GM foods and meat hygiene.

John joined the Food Standards Agency when it was established in 2000. Since then, he has worked in a number of key policy areas, including spending several years in the Food Fraud Branch, the precursor to the Agency’s National Food Crime Unit, where he pioneered the Agency’s national Food Fraud Database.

In 2011, John moved to the Imported Food Branch to establish an intelligence surveillance capability for the Branch to improve the detection of, and enforcement against, illegal and non-compliant imported food and feed.

In 2017, John became the Head of Imports Delivery, whose remit is to ensure at an operational level that consumers’ public health is protected from the risks associated with imported food, and that a harmonised approach to imported food official controls is taken across UK ports.

However, since taking up this role, the immediate focus for John and his team has been to understand and mitigate the threats and risks identified for imports and exports of food as part of the Agency’s EU exit programme of work, paying particular attention to no-deal planning.