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.