18 Of The Worst Dog Food Brands You Need To Avoid (And 14 Of The Best Brands)

Puppy love is great, but sometimes puppy food isn’t always the greatest. Puppies are cute, but they also require a lot of attention and care.

If you want to feed your puppy the best dog food possible, then you’ll need to read these 18 worst dog food brands to avoid.

The pet food industry has grown tremendously over the years. There are now hundreds of companies producing thousands of types of dog foods.

Unfortunately, some of them aren’t very good at what they do. They don’t provide high quality nutrition or ingredients that dogs need.

Some of the worst dog food brands out there include Purina, Pedigree, IAMS, Eukanuba, and Hill’s Science Diet.

These companies produce cheap, low-quality dog food that’s full of artificial flavors, preservatives, and other additives.

Top 5 Worst Dog Foods

Here are the worst of the worst when it comes to dog food.  These are 6 brands that are very popular and well-known, but they make substandard dog food that is simply unhealthy. 

If we had to narrow our list down to 5 of the worst, this would be it. 


The best thing about this brand is that it’s affordable. Unfortunately, that also makes it the worst thing about this brand. IAMS produces some of the cheapest pet foods available.

Because of this, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on their products. If your budget can handle it, go ahead and buy a bag or two. Just don’t expect them to do anything special.

Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo is a popular brand among pet owners. This is mostly due to their high quality protein content. Most people know Blue Buffalo for their grain free formula.

These dogs love the taste of this food so much that they often end up overeating. As a result, they gain weight easily. Another problem with this brand is that it contains corn syrup (which we discussed earlier).

Corn syrup isn’t good for dogs and can cause digestive problems.


This brand is a little better than others out there. While their products aren’t cheap, they actually use real meat instead of processed meat.

The reason this is important is that studies show that pets who eat processed meats tend to get cancer more frequently.

A study conducted at Washington State University showed that dogs who ate the most processed meat had the highest risk of developing bladder cancer. Other types of cancer included kidney disease, bone marrow disease, and lymphoma.

Purina One

Purina One is yet another low-cost brand that tries to pass off cheap cuts of meat as tenderloins. It has nothing to do with Jiffy Lube. Purina owns this line, and they sell it at PetSmart and other stores.

There’s no way you’re getting any meaningful amount of meat from a leg cutlet.


Nutro is probably the lowest selling brand on our list. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a spot here! Nutro uses all natural ingredients. And while it may not be the healthiest choice, it’s definitely better than some of its competitors.

Worst Puppy Food: IAMS ProActive Health Smart Puppy

Worst Puppy Food: IAMS ProActive Health Smart Puppy

Puppies are just like human babies in the sense that what they eat when they’re young can have a big impact on their growth and health later on.

Even though Iams ProActive HealthSmart Puppy Original Formula may contain the word “health” on its label, it is actually the worst puppy food.

A dog owner on the ConsumerAffairs website reported that her dog displayed symptoms of a parasite soon after consuming this food.

Fortunately, the vet confirmed the digestive health issue was caused by the food, and there weren’t any parasites in the dog. However, the dog had to be treated with antibiotics for two weeks because he suffered from diarrhea.

The same dog also developed an ear infection within three days of eating the food. The vet diagnosed the condition as bacterial otitis externa, but prescribed antibiotic treatment anyway.

Other consumers shared similar stories about their dogs suffering adverse reactions after eating Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy. Some dogs experienced vomiting and diarrhea, while others got sick right away.

One consumer wrote that his dog vomited immediately after eating the Iams product. He explained that he took his dog to the veterinarian, who confirmed that the dog’s stomach contained pieces of the bag.

Another consumer wrote that she noticed her dog acting differently after eating the Iams food. She described how her dog would vomit every time they fed him the food.

Another consumer reported that her dog vomited twice after eating the Iams formula. When she contacted the company, the representative told her that the problem could be solved by adding water to the dog’s bowl.

Although the company did not provide refunds or replacements, they offered free shipping on future orders.

Kal Kan Complete Adult

This dog food made our list because of its questionable ingredient list that isn’t healthy for dogs and could be harmful to them. Corn is the main ingredient. It doesn’t provide sufficient nutrition for dogs. 

The second ingredient is rendered beef tallow, which is a dry substance made from the fat of cows. It includes no added meat, blood, skin, hair, hooves, horns or hides.

Beef tallow and bone meal have a lower digestibility than most other meat products. Scientists believe that this reduction in absorption may be due to the lower essential amino acid contents and higher ash content in these ingredients. 

The meat in Kal Kan Complete Adult can come from any combination of cattle, pigs, goat or sheep. It’s impossible to categorize meat according to specific food allergens.

A meat and bone meal is still a meat concentrate rich in proteins, but a generic ingredient such as this cannot be considered a quality product, even if it’s labeled “high quality”.  

Kal Kan’s third ingredient is a soybean meal which is a leftover product from soybean oil production. Soybeans have a high protein content, however their biological value is lower than that of meat.

Twin Pet Dry Dog Food

This pet food contains chicken, corn, wheat gluten, rice flour, potato starch, and fish meal. This is a complete diet for dogs that are older than six months old. The first four ingredients are common in all commercial diets.

They’re used to make the food more palatable and easier to chew. Fish meal has a low nutritional value and is often used to add weight to the final product.

The last two ingredients are problematic. Potato starch is a carbohydrate source that provides energy to your dog. However, potatoes contain an enzyme called alpha amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars that cause flatulence.

Rice flour is also a carbohydrate source. Although it’s usually safe for dogs, some dogs have allergies to this grain. If you suspect your dog has an allergy to rice, try substituting with another type of cereal instead.

The manufacturer does not disclose whether or not the chicken was antibiotic-free. In addition, they do not mention whether or not the chicken came from a slaughterhouse where antibiotics were given to the animals.

Antibiotics are commonly used to prevent diseases in livestock. These drugs can affect humans when we eat the meat of treated animals.

Gravy Train

This dog food is marketed towards puppies. Gravy Train is formulated to meet the needs of growing puppies. It contains chicken, lamb, egg albumen, and milk. Chicken and lamb are both sources of protein. 

Egg albumen is a byproduct of eggs. Milk is a natural source of calcium and phosphorus. Unfortunately, there are many problems associated with using these ingredients. Chickens are raised on farms that use antibiotics to prevent disease. 

Some chickens are fed growth hormones to increase the size of their breast muscles. As a result, the meat of these birds contains residues of antibiotics and hormones.

Lamb is a popular choice for pet owners who want to feed their dogs organic foods. However, organically certified lamb comes from animals that have been raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

In addition to being a potential health risk, the presence of antibiotics in animal feed can lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect people. This means that antibiotics will become ineffective against certain types of infections.

The presence of growth hormones in animal feed can also reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. This is why veterinarians recommend that pets receive routine vaccinations.

Purina Dog Chow

This dog food is manufactured by Purina Mills. It is designed to help adult dogs maintain a healthy weight. It contains chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, oats, barley, peas, lentils, carrots, spinach, flaxseed, beet pulp, and molasses. 

This food is made up mostly of grains. Grains are a good source of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. However, they may be difficult for dogs to digest.

Dogs cannot break down whole grains like oats and barley. They need to be ground into smaller particles before they can be digested. When dogs consume large amounts of unground grains, they often develop diarrhea.

Although grains are nutritious, they should only make up part of your dog’s diet. Whole grains provide fiber and other important nutrients.

But if you choose to feed your dog whole grains, you must ensure that he gets enough water. Water helps to soften and break down the grains, so they can be properly digested.



This dog food is made by Nestle Purina PetCare Company. Boneful has three different formulas: Adult Maintenance Formula, Puppy Growth Formula, and Senior Care Formula.

All three contain beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables. Beef is an excellent source of protein. Fish provides omega fatty acids. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Unfortunately, this product is loaded with artificial colors and flavors. Artificial colors are added to give the food its bright orange color. These colors do not occur naturally in any plant or animal products.

They are derived from petroleum. Artificial flavors are used to mask the taste of the food. Most dogs find them unpleasant. If you prefer to avoid artificial colors and flavors, look for a brand that does not add them to their dog food.

The Pedigree Brand

This dog food is produced by Mars Incorporated. It is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of small breed dogs. It includes chicken, lamb, rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, oat bran, and dried fruits.

The company claims that it is “the first complete pet nutrition system available.” It contains all the essential amino acids needed by dogs. In fact, it is one of the few brands that include all eight of the essential amino acids.

While this food is high in protein, it is low in fat. Many owners report that their dogs have developed allergies after consuming Pedigree. Some of these allergic reactions include skin rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Others say that their dogs have had kidney problems.

If you want a healthier alternative to Pedigree, try feeding your dog a grain-free diet. Grain-free diets are usually lower in calories than regular diets. They also tend to be higher in fiber.

Fiber acts as a natural laxative. It helps to keep your dog’s digestive tract clean.

Kibbles ‘n Bits

This dog food is manufactured by Hill’s Science Diet. Kibbles ‘n bits come in two varieties: Chicken & Rice and Salmon & Brown Rice. Both are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing puppies.

They both contain salmon oil and vitamin E. The main difference between the two varieties is the type of meat used. The Chicken & Rice variety uses chicken breast. The Salmon & Brown Rice variety uses salmon filet.

Both varieties are very similar in terms of ingredients. They contain brown rice, chicken, salmon, vegetable oils, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

However, the Salmon & Brown Rice variety contains more carbohydrates and less protein. This makes it better suited for older dogs.

Although both varieties are suitable for most breeds, they may cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs. Dogs who experience stomach upset should eat smaller portions of the food.

Ol’ Roy Dog Food

This dog food was originally marketed as a treat for house pets. However, it has become popular among dog lovers because it is inexpensive and easy to prepare.

Ol’ Roy consists of four basic ingredients: ground turkey, potatoes, carrots, and peas. It is made into patties and served raw.

Some people claim that Ol’ Roy is an excellent source of nutrients. For example, it provides a good amount of protein, which is important for growing puppies. However, it can be difficult to digest. Because of this, it is best fed to older dogs.

It is recommended that you feed only half of what is listed on the label. You can use the other half to make treats for your dog.

Original Line Of Diamond Dog Food

This dog kibble is produced by Purina Mills. It is designed to provide nutritional support for adult dogs. It contains beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruit. The product is free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners.

The Original Line of Diamond Dog Food is considered to be a premium brand. Most owners agree that it is a healthy choice for their dogs. However, some owners complain about the price.

In addition to being expensive, the food tends to be heavy. To lighten up the weight, many owners add water to the food. If you decide to do so, make sure that you measure out the right amount. Too much water will dilute the flavor of the food.

Blackwood 1000 Dog Food

This dog chow is manufactured by Blackwood Pet Products. It is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of small breed dogs. It features high quality meats and grains.

The product is available in three different sizes: Small, Medium, and Large.

The Blackwood 1000 Dog Food is not cheap. In fact, it is one of the most expensive brands on the market. Some owners find it too rich for their dogs. Others say that it is perfect for any age puppy.

Blackwood 1000 dog foods has an ingredient list that’s packed with items that don’t provide any health benefits to dogs and could actually harm them.

It also contains a large number of ingredients that are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Because many studies suggest that GMOs aren’t safe for human consumption, feeding them to your dog every day isn’t a good idea.

Wegmans Bruiser Kibble Variety Mix

This dog food is made by Wegmans. It is designed to help dogs maintain their weight. It contains lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and grains. The product comes in two varieties: Chicken and Beef.

Wegmans is known for its affordable prices. This makes it ideal for those who want to save money. However, you might have to sacrifice taste if you choose to buy the cheaper variety.

Although the chicken variety is more economical, the beef version tastes better. Many owners prefer the beef version because it doesn’t contain corn syrup.

This ingredient is often added to pet foods to increase their shelf life. Unfortunately, it may cause digestive problems in dogs.

Alpo By Purina

Purina Alpo is another popular dog food brand. It was created as a low-cost alternative to higher priced products. It is made from ground beef and wheat. The product is widely used by pet stores and veterinarians.

Many people think that this dog food is unhealthy because it contains a lot of sugar. They believe that dogs should only eat natural treats like rawhide bones. However, they fail to realize that the sugar found in these treats can lead to dental issues.

If you feed your dog Purina Alpo, make sure that you check the label before buying it. You need to know what is in the food so that you can avoid giving your dog harmful ingredients.

The 14 Best Dog Food Brands We Recommend

There are many other companies that manufacture dog food. However, we recommend the following brands because they are trusted by our customers. These companies offer high-quality, nutritionally-rich dog food at reasonable prices.

The Honest KitchenThe Honest Kitchen

Honest Kitchen offers a wide range of healthy dog foods. Their products come in several different flavors including chicken, lamb, salmon, and beef. All of the foods are made using fresh ingredients.

They use organic ingredients whenever possible. The company also uses non-GMO ingredients. If you want to give your dog a nutritious diet, then you should consider purchasing their products.

Solid Gold Dog FoodSolid Gold Dog Food

Solid Gold Dog Food is a premium dog food manufacturer. Although they produce a wide range of products, they specialize in dry dog food. The company sells a line of products under the name Solid Gold.

Their products include canned, frozen, and dehydrated versions. Each one has been formulated with wholesome ingredients.

The best part about Solid Gold is that all of their products are grain free. Grain free diets are healthier than traditional ones because they don’t contain gluten or fillers.

This dog food brand is one of the most trusted names in the industry. They provide great nutrition for your dog.

Wellness Pet FoodWellness Pet Food

Wellness Pet Food is a leading manufacturer of dog food. They sell both wet and dry dog food. Their products are made using quality ingredients.

All of the foods are grain free. They are also gluten free. Most of them are also made without artificial colors, preservatives, or flavor enhancers.

You should try Wellness Pet Food if you want to give your pooch a balanced diet.

Canidae Grain FreeCanidae Grain Free

Canidae Grain Free is a popular dog food brand. They have a wide selection of products ranging from wet to dry foods.

Most of their foods are grain free. They are also free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

If you want to give your canine companion a complete meal, then Canidae Grain Free is the perfect choice.

With its high protein content, Canidae Grain Free is one of the most popular dog foods available today.

It includes a menhaden fish meal (which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids), chicken, peas, lentils, dried whole egg, potato, chicken fat, flaked sun-cured alfa lfa, and natural flavors.

Fromm Family Dog FoodFromm Family Dog Food

Fromm Family Dog Foods are known for making the highest-quality pet food. The company produces a variety of products including canned, freeze-dried, and raw diets.

These foods are designed to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. They are made using only fresh ingredients. Fromm Family Dog Foods are also free of artificial additives and preservatives.

We highly recommend giving your furry friend a Fromm Family Dog Food. You will be amazed by how much better it makes your dog feel.

It is made with real Wisconsin cheese, chicken, lamb, duck, whole eggs, and enhanced with salmon oil to give it a healthy coating and probiotics for aiding digestive health.

They guarantee their analysis has minimum levels of 24% crude protein, 16% crude fat and a maximum 3.4% crude fiber and 10% moisture.

Fromm has all the high quality dog food ingredients that should help strengthen the dog’s immune system and provide balanced nutrients.

Taste Of The WildTaste Of The Wild

Taste of the wild is an American based company that specializes in providing dogs with the best quality meat. They make a wide range of products including canned, frozen, and raw diets. All of their foods are 100% human grade.

The Taste of the Wild offers a wide variety of premium meats like beef, venison, buffalo, bison, elk, rabbit, and more. These meats come from animals that were raised on family farms.

The company uses USDA inspected facilities where they can ensure that the animal was treated humanely.

Their products are also free from any added hormones, antibiotics, or steroids. If you want to feed your dog a nutritious meal, then Taste of the Wild is the right option.

Merrick Brand Dog Food

Merrick Brand Dog Food

Merrick Brand Dog Foods are created to meet the specific nutritional requirements of pets. Their products include both wet and dry foods.

All of Merrick Brand Dog Foods are 100% guaranteed. They contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

They use only the freshest ingredients. Merrick Brand Dog Foods also offer a wide range of options so that you can find exactly what your dog needs.

For example, there are many varieties of dry dog foods that include kibble, raw, and even treats. There are also different types of wet dog foods that include canned, freeze-drying, and dehydrated.

You can choose between grain-free, gluten-free, and low carb diets.

If you have been looking for a brand of dog food that provides your dog with the nutrition he deserves, then look no further than Merrick Brand Dog Food.

Vetri ScienceVetri Science

Vetri Science is a manufacturer of dog food that is committed to offering the finest quality pet food.

They produce a variety of products including raw diets, canned, and freeze dried. All of their foods have been formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of dogs.

Vetri Science uses only natural ingredients that are sourced from local suppliers. This ensures that their products are safe and wholesome.

They do not add any chemicals or fillers into their foods. In fact, they don’t even use any artificial flavorings.

Vetri Science also guarantees that its products are completely free from any harmful bacteria.

This means that you can safely feed your dog a diet that works well for them. 

Purina Pro Plan SportPurina Pro Plan Sport

Purina Pro makes sure that their products are designed to meet the nutritional requirements for active dogs. 

They create a wide range of products that include wet and dry foods. The company also produces supplements and treats.

All of their products are made using fresh ingredients that are sourced from trusted suppliers.

These ingredients are carefully selected to provide your puppy with all the nutrients he requires.

Purina Pro also guarantees that their products are completely free from contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful substances.


Acana is a leading provider of pet food in North America.

The company has been around since 1985 when it first opened its doors. Since then, Acana has continued to grow and expand.

Today, Acana offers a wide selection of products that includes both wet and dry foods as well as supplements.

All of these products are designed to meet your dog’s unique nutritional requirements.

Acana also offers a guarantee on all of its products. This means that if you purchase one of their products, and it doesn’t work out for your dog, then you will receive a full refund.

Acana also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its dry dog foods. If you aren’t satisfied with how your dog reacts after trying this product, then you can return it within 30 days and get a full refund.


Orijen is another popular brand of dog food that offers a wide array of products.

Their products come in both wet and dry forms. These products include everything from kibbles to treats.

All of Orijen’s products are designed to meet each individual dog’s nutritional needs.

In addition, all of Orijen’s products are guaranteed to be 100% complete and balanced. This means that your dog will receive all of the vitamins and minerals required by his body.

Orijen also provides a guarantee on all of their products. This means that you can buy a product today and rest assured that you won’t be disappointed.


Dogswell is an online retailer that sells a wide variety of products for pets.

You can find anything from kibble to treats here. Each of Dogswell’s products comes with a 60-day guarantee.

If you are unhappy with how your dog reacts to a particular product, then you can simply contact Dogswell and ask for a replacement. They will send you a new product right away.

Nutrisca was founded in 2004 by Italian entrepreneur Marco Giannini, whose dog Emily developed hip dysplasia when she was young.

Marco realized that he could create treats that had positive effects on dogs’ health and that they would be even tastier than the ones he used to give his dog.

Their products contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals designed to keep your furry friend in the best of health. 

Natural BalanceNatural Balance

Natural Balance is a company that specializes in creating healthy and nutritious diets for animals.

They offer a wide variety of products including both wet and dry foods.

Each of Natural Balance’s products is designed to meet the specific dietary needs of each animal.

Each of their products is also guaranteed to be 100% natural. This means that your pet will not have any negative reactions to these products.

Natural Balance also offers a guarantee on every single product. This means that you don’t need to worry about whether or not you will be happy with the results.

Earthborn HolisticEarthborn Holistic

Earthborn Holistic is another leading manufacturer of pet food. This company has been around since 1986 and has grown into one of the most trusted names in the industry.

They offer a large number of different products ranging from raw diets to treats. 

Each of Earthborn Holistic’s products is guaranteed to be 100% organic and free of artificial ingredients. This means that your pet will benefit from all of the nutrients found in these products.

Earthborn Holistic also offers a guarantee on all of its products. This means that if you aren’t pleased with the way your dog responds to a certain product, then you can request a replacement.

What Makes Dog Food Bad?

The first thing you should look at when choosing a brand of dog food is the quality of the ingredients.

This includes the type of meat used as well as the level of protein content. The higher the amount of protein, the better.

Another important factor to consider is the source of the meat. If it comes from a factory farm, then this might not be the best choice.

It is also important to make sure that the ingredients are fresh. You want to avoid buying any old products because they won’t provide your dog with the necessary nutrition.

It is also very important to choose a diet that fits your dog’s age. As your dog gets older, it becomes more difficult for him to digest some types of food.

If you notice any signs of discomfort after eating a certain food, then you should try switching to something else.

You may find that your dog prefers a certain type of food over others. In this case, you can always switch to a similar product.

You should never buy a brand of dog food just because it is cheap. Cheap dog food doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for your dog.

Some people believe that cheaper dog food tastes better. However, this isn’t true. It is possible to get great tasting food even if it costs less money.

Some people think that the only reason why they buy expensive dog food is because they love their pets. While this is partially true, there are other reasons why you would want to spend more money on your dog’s food.

For example, you may want to purchase a special treat for your dog. Or maybe you want to give your dog a new toy. These things can cost quite a bit of money.

However, by spending a little extra money on your dog’s food, you will be able to save a lot of money in the long run.

Below are some additional factors that will determine whether a dog food is unhealthy for them:

Questionable Meat Ingredients

One of the biggest problems with many brands of dog food is the fact that they contain questionable ingredients.

These include fillers like corn syrup or soybean oil. There have also been cases where dogs were fed chicken feet.

While these foods do taste good, they don’t actually provide your dog with anything useful.

In addition, these ingredients can cause health issues such as pancreatitis.

There are also many brands of dog food that contain wheat gluten. This ingredient is often added to help increase the texture and consistency of the food.

However, it has been shown that wheat gluten can cause digestive issues.

There are also some brands of dog food that claim to be “grain free.” However, this simply means that they don’t contain any grains.

The problem with this is that most dogs need to eat grain based diets.

Unhealthy Fat Content

Many dog owners tend to feed their dogs high fat diets. They believe that this is the best way to keep their dogs healthy.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really the case. High fat content dog food tends to be much higher in calories than low fat versions.

This makes it easier for your dog to gain weight. Also, it can lead to obesity.

This is especially problematic when you consider that dogs naturally have an appetite that is much larger than humans’.

Unnecessary Fillers

Another common issue with many brands of dog foods is the inclusion of unnecessary fillers.

These include things like potato starch, which is used to make the food look more appealing. The problem is that this filler is not necessary.

It does nothing to improve the nutritional value of the food. Instead, it adds unwanted calories.

Also, some people add artificial colors and flavors to their dog’s food. These additives aren’t necessary either.

If you notice that your dog seems to have gained weight over time, then you should probably reevaluate his or her diet.

Synthetic Ingredients

Some dog foods contain synthetic ingredients. These include things like xanthan gum, which is used to thicken the food.

Xanthan gum is made from bacteria. It is usually derived from sugar cane. Unfortunately, it can cause gastrointestinal issues.

Other synthetic ingredients include carrageenan, which is used to create gels. While it doesn’t seem like much, it can cause inflammation within your dog’s stomach.

High Levels Of Salt

Most dog foods contain large amounts of salt. In fact, one brand of dog food contains up to 20% sodium chloride.

This is far too high. If you want to prevent your dog from developing heart disease, then you should avoid feeding him or her foods with high levels of salt.

If you notice a change in your dog’s behavior after he or she starts eating certain types of food, then you should probably talk to your vet about changing the diet.


All animals deserve love and care. We hope our article on the top 18 worst dog food brands helped you decide what type of pet food is right for your furry friend.

We recommend choosing a brand that meets all of your needs. Our lists above show you the ones you should keep an eye out to avoid, and the ones that we recommend as they are the best for your dog’s health. 

We also hope that we’ve shown you what to look out for in terms of the ingredients and additives in unhealthy dog food that should be avoided for the wellbeing of your pet. 

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