A repeat of the Sudan 1 crisis should be made less likely following the biggest-ever food contamination simulation next week.

Led by the Food Standards Agency, more than 50 representatives from retailers, manufacturers, local authorities, trade associations and other government departments will take part in the one day event on Thursday at Leatherhead Food International's research base in Surrey.

"It is the first of its kind in recent years," said an FSA spokeswoman. "It is designed to identify the main challenges in responding to a deliberate, widescale food contamination incident."

The 'table top' exercise at Leatherhead will focus mainly on the roles and responsibilities of the 50 participants, as well as lines of communication.

A network of contacts and the beginnings of a portfolio of good practice for such scenarios will be put in place following the event, in an effort to ensure that last year's crisis - which led to hundreds of branded and own label lines being withdrawn from shelves across the country - does not reoccur.

The spokeswoman added that the FSA saw the exercise as a way to encourage stakeholders in the industry to focus on collaborative responses to potential complex and large scale food scare incidents.

The dummy run follows a smaller trial in July that tested out-of-hours responses to a potential food emergency.