A federal judge rejected Kraft Foods Inc's bid to force Starbucks Corp to keep using Kraft to distribute packaged coffee to supermarkets, a move that allows Starbucks to move ahead with a new partner.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains, New York, denied on Friday Kraft's request for a preliminary injunction to stop Starbucks from ending its distribution agreement to grocery stores and other retailers until a separate arbitration proceeding is settled.

Kraft, North America's largest packaged food maker, contended that it would suffer irreparable harm if Starbucks, the world's largest coffee chain, went through with its plan to move distribution to privately held Acosta Inc as of March 1.

Kraft has not established it will suffer irreparable harm, the judge said at a hearing in U.S. District Court.

The case is Kraft Foods Global Inc v Starbucks Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-09085.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Grant McCool, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)