The antitrust laws are intended to ensure free and open competition. These laws - the Sherman Act, Clayton Act, and Federal Trade Commission Act at the federal level and similar laws in many states - prohibit contracts, combinations, conspiracies, and other agreements in restraint of trade (such as market or customer allocations, and price fixing), as well as monopolization and attempted monopolization.
The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association assigns the highest priority to full compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the antitrust laws, and it is vital that all activities be conducted in a manner consistent with that policy. Trade associations must be particularly sensitive to avoiding antitrust violations. By their very nature, associations bring competitors together for meetings and events, so one element of a possible antitrust violation may be present - a combination of competitors.
Trade association members and staff must refrain from any discussion that could provide the basis for a finding, or even an inference, that the members agreed to take any action that might restrain trade. Remember that an "agreement" among trade association members need not be in writing, and may be inferred from the parties' conduct.
The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, its staff and its counsel diligently monitor association activities to prevent even the appearance of wrongdoing. Your efforts to do the same as members or participants in our activities are important and appreciated.