Later today, the Food and Drug Administration will formally announce that it is banning trans fats. Though they have been gradually disappearing for foods for a while now, the FDA plans to do away with them completely. According to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, this measure is being taken to save lives, as it could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths annually. 

She added that trans fats are still "an area of significant public health concern" despite disappearing from diets dramatically over the past decade. According to the Huffington Post, the agency says it decided that trans fat no longer have a place in their "generally recognized as safe" category, a collection of additives that manufacturers can use without the FDA's permission. Once they're removed from this list, anyone intersted in using them would have to petition for approval—something that's unlikely to happen. 

While the FDA hasn't released a specific timeline for their trans fat phase-out, Center for Science in the Public Interest Director Michael Jacobson says the sooner the better. "Six months or a year should be more than enough time, especially considering that companies have had a decade to figure out what to do," he told the Huffingtin Post.

[via The Huffington Post]