WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court rejected a challenge to the federal country of origin (COOL) labeling regulation.

Groups representing US, Canadian and Mexican meat industry interests sued the US Department of Agriculture in federal court to overturn COOL. The groups requested an injunction while the lawsuit is pending. But a three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the group's claims were unlikely to succeed in court and declined to issue an injunction.

“We disagree strongly with the court’s decision and believe that the rule will continue to harm livestock producers and the industry with little benefit to consumers,” said James H. Hodges, AMI interim president and CEO. “At this point we are evaluating our options moving forward.”

In the complaint, the American Meat Institute and other organizations argued that the final COOL rule violates the Constitution's free-speech protections and exceeds USDA's authority under the Agricultural Marketing Act. The groups also said, "the rule is arbitrary and capricious, because it imposes vast burdens on the industry with little to no countervailing benefit."