WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court has overturned an earlier ruling denying an injunction against the US Department of Agriculture's country of origin labeling rule. The full 12-judge panel will rehear the case May 19.

The American Meat Institute and other 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 on March 28, 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.

“This is a positive development. Constitutional cases are notoriously difficult, but we have a strong case and with this action the Appeals Court is signaling that it is taking our argument very seriously,” Barry Carpenter, CEO of the North American Meat Association, said in a statement.

AMI also lauded the court's decision, saying the organization had strong concerns with the reasoning in the March 28 ruling.

“Today’s court order to vacate the ruling signals that some members of the court may share those concerns,” Mark Dopp, AMI senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel, said in a statement. “We remain hopeful that consideration of the case by the full court will lead to an injunction against the protectionistic and costly country-of-origin labeling rule that is hurting livestock producers and meat companies while offering little benefit to consumers.”