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The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to remove artificial trans fats — the artery-clogging ingredient found in crackers, cookies, pizza and many other baked goods, the government agency said Thursday.
Trans fats are considered harmful because they increase risks for heart disease by raising bad cholesterol levels and lowering good cholesterol at the same time. New York City banned trans fats from restaurants in 2007. In 2006, the FDA began requiring food manufacturers to include trans fats on nutritional labels.
The FDA has previously estimated that the average American eats 4.7 pound of trans fats a year.
“While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans fat has declined over the last two decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public health concern,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a press release. “The FDA’s action today is an important step toward protecting more Americans from the potential dangers of trans fat. Further reduction in the amount of trans fat in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year – a critical step in the protection of Americans’ health.”