NEW YORK - The Food and Drug Administration is taking the first steps to completely eliminate trans fats from the food industry.

The FDA announced that it will require a gradual phasing out of all trans fats, citing a threat to people's health. Experts say that trans fat is the primary cause of heart attacks.

Officials say trans fats will take some time to get rid of because companies need time to reformulate their products.

Trans fats are relatively common in products such as doughnuts and cookies, and some restaurants fry food in oils that contains them. They can raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol.

The FDA commissioner says this move could prevent upward of 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year.

New York became the first city in the country to ban restaurants from using trans fats seven years ago. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that he encourages the FDA in moving forward with their plan to eliminate it from the nation's food supply.