(NBC NEWS) The Food and Drug Administration has declared war on trans fats. The government agency said Thursday it would require food makers to gradually phase out artificial trans fats — the artery-clogging ingredient found in crackers, cookies, pizza and many other baked goods.

The change could potentially prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths, said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

While the amount of trans fats consumed by Americans has dropped dramatically over the last decade, they still “remain an area of significant public health concern,” Hamburg said during a press conference.

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