Harkin praises O-Care's calorie disclosure rules

Retiring Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinErnst challenges Greenfield to six debates in Iowa Senate race Biden unveils disability rights plan: 'Your voices must be heard' Bottom line MORE (D-Iowa) praised new regulations that would require restaurants, grocery stories and gas stations to list the number of calories in food and drinks they sell.

"Previously, though consumers had access to nutrition information on packaged goods, they were in the dark about restaurants foods," Harkin said in a statement Tuesday.

"This rule closes the restaurant loophole and empowers consumers to make wise decisions about their health whether they dine in a restaurant, a grocery store, or an entertainment venue."

The Food and Drug Administration is finalizing the rules more than three years after they were proposed. Harkin, who authored the healthcare law's menu labeling provision, said the final regulations "closely [mirror] congressional intent."

The Iowa Democrat is one of the Senate's top public health advocates and is retiring this month after more than four decades in Congress. Read more about the regulations here.