The shock decision comes after a year-long review headed by Compass UK & Ireland marketing director John Pain and continuing talks with the BHA.
Compass believes the industry body has become too big and has too many competing interests to effectively represent the contract catering sector anymore.
The caterer, which remains a member of outsourcing trade body the Business Services Association, said it would now manage its relationships with government departments, parliamentarians and the Food Standards Agency directly.
A spokesman for Compass said: "For many years we have been closely involved with the working of the BHA. But following a review of our relationships with numerous trade associations and other external bodies, it is felt that the remit and membership of the BHA has become too diverse and removed from the areas of policy that are important to our individual business sectors."
He added that the decision was "not taken lightly" and was part of as series of measures to manage the company's cost base in a declining UK economy.
Last year the BHA held a meeting for budget hotel operators to discuss the issues they faced, after Travelodge had accused it of "failing to note the rise of the budget hotel sector".
BHA chief executive Bob Cotton described Compass' decision as disappointing but declined to comment further.
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By Chris Druce
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