Reports

Undesirable substances in seafood - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2019

Published:

31/01/2020

Authors:

Sophie Jensen, Natasa Desnica, Branka Borojevic, Svanhildur Hauksdóttir, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir

Supported by:

Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Iceland

Contact

Sophie Jensen

Project Manager

sophie.jensen@matis.is

Results of continuous monitoring of undesirable substances in seafood from the resource 2019 / Undesirable substances in seafood - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2019

This report summarizes the results obtained in 2019 for the screening of various undesirable substances in the edible part of Icelandic marine catches.

The main aim of this project is to gather data and evaluate the status of Icelandic seafood products in terms of undesirable substances and to utilize the data to estimate the exposure of consumers to these substances from Icelandic seafood and risks related to public health. The surveillance program began in 2003 and was carried out for ten consecutive years before it was interrupted. The project was revived in March 2017 to fill in gaps of knowledge regarding the level of undesirable substances in economically important marine catches for Icelandic export. Due to financial limitations the surveillance now only covers screening for undesirable substances in the edible portion of marine catches for human consumption and not feed or feed components. The limited financial resources have also required the analysis of PAHs, PBDEs and PFCs to be excluded from the surveillance, providing somewhat more limited information than in 2013. However, it is considered a long-term project where extension and revision is constantly necessary. 

In general, the results obtained in 2019 were in agreement with previous results on undesirable substances in the edible part of marine catches obtained in the monitoring years 2003 to 2012 and 2017 & 2018.

In this report from the surveillance program, the maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs (Regulation No 1259/2011) were used to evaluate how Icelandic seafood products measure up to limits currently in effect.

The results show that with regard to the maximum levels set in the regulation, the edible parts of Icelandic seafood products contain negligible amounts of dioxins, dioxin like and non-dioxin-like PCBs. In fact, all samples of seafood analyzed in 2019 were below EC maximum levels.

Furthermore, the concentration of ICES6-PCBs was found to be low in the edible part of the marine catches, compared to the maximum limits set by the EU (Commission Regulation 1259/2011).

The results also revealed that the concentrations of heavy metals, eg cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in the edible part of marine catches were in all samples, except one, well below the maximum limits set by the EU .

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Reports

Authenticate: Workshop proceedings

Published:

18/01/2018

Authors:

Jónas R. Viðarsson, Guðbjörg Ólafsdóttir, Patrick Berg Sørdahl, Miguel Angel Pardo, Geir Dahle, Jakob Hemmer Hansen

Supported by:

Nordic Council of Ministers - Working Group for Fisheries (127-2014)

Contact

Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson

Head of Value Creation

jonas@matis.is

Authenticate: Workshop proceedings

Growing societal demand for food authenticity, safety and broader food security is creating both new opportunities and increased challenges for Nordic food suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. The mislabeling of food products came to great prominence during the 2013 “horse meat scandal” in Europe, when a range of supposedly beef products were found to contain horse meat. What makes this discovery surprising is that it took place despite the clear set of European Union (EU) regulations relating to food traceability and labeling, which require a complex system of checks to ensure that food remains authentic and traceable. Research have shown that the seafood sector is particularly vulnerable when it comes to fraud, partly due to the fact that seafood is the world's most international traded food commodity and because seafood has extreme biological diversity and variable characteristics that can create or hamper competitive advantage in marketing of products. Among the issues relevant to this discussion are species substitution, false claims of origin, social responsibility, sustainability, food safety and fair trade. A handful of Nordic institutes and companies came together a few years ago to initiate networking among stakeholders in the Nordic seafood industry, with the aim of discussing the challenges and opportunities related to food integrity for the sector. As results a series of workshops were organized in Iceland, Norway and Denmark; and the outcome of these workshops were then discussed at a final workshop held in Faroe Islands on Nov. 14th 2017. This report contains the proceedings from that workshop.

Integrity in the food trade has been much debated in recent years and the fisheries sector has not been spared that discussion. Research has shown that the fraud rate is particularly high in seafood trade. A number of studies have been conducted, for example, where species fraud has been examined in a haze, and many of these studies have shown that the common rate of such fraud is around 30%. Other types of fraud are, for example, false statements about sustainability, wholesomeness, country of origin, etc. Several Nordic institutions and companies came together in 2014 and decided to try to create a forum for integrity in the seafood trade. They obviously felt that there were opportunities in Nordic co - operation in this field. Subsequently, workshops were held in Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The results of those meetings were then discussed at a final meeting that took place in the Faroe Islands on 14 November. 2017. This report contains a discussion and meeting documents from that meeting.

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Reports

Overview of available methods for thawing seafood / Solutions available for thawing seafood

Published:

01/06/2017

Authors:

Sigurður Örn Ragnarsson, Jónas R. Viðarsson

Supported by:

The Norwegian Research Council (Project number 233709 / E50)

Overview of available methods for thawing seafood / Solutions available for thawing seafood

There is a constant demand for quality raw materials that can be used for producing seafood products for high paying markets in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Suppliers of demersal fish species in the North Atlantic are now meeting this demand by freezing the mainstay of their catches, in order to be able to have available supplies all year around. This is partly done because of seasonal fluctuations in catches, which are harmful from a marking point of view. The fact that all these raw materials are now frozen demands that methods used for freezing and thawing can guarantee that quality of the raw material is maintained. There are a number of methods available to thaw fish. The most common ones involve delivering heat to the product through the surface, as with conduction or convection. These methods include water and air-based systems. More novel methods are constantly on the rise, all with the aim of making the process of thawing quicker and capable of delivering better products to the consumer. These procedures are however, often costly and involve specialized workforce to control the process. All in all, it depends greatly on what kind of conditions a company is operating under regarding which thawing methods should be chosen. This report identifies the most common methods available and provides information on their main pros and cons.

There is a constant demand from fish processing plants around the world for good raw materials from the North Atlantic for the production of products for demanding markets. To meet this demand and in view of the large seasonal fluctuations in catches of certain fish species, companies have decided to freeze the raw material for later use. This requires good methods for freezing the raw material, but it is no less important that the thawing of the raw material is good. There are many methods for thawing fish and other seafood. It has been most common to use heat transfer through surfaces with heat transfer or thermal conductivity. These methods are mostly based on the use of water or air as a medium for thawing. Newer methods exist that try to make the process faster and thus deliver a better product to consumers. However, these methods are often costly and involve a great deal of staff specialization. After all, it matters what kind of business it is and how the companies' situation is at any given time when thawing methods and technical solutions are chosen. This report identifies all the major thawing methods and the technical solutions available on the market today, as well as outlining their main advantages and disadvantages.

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Reports

Survey on domestic market for travel food and special food from seafood / Survey on domestic market for travel food and specialty diet from seafood

Published:

01/03/2013

Authors:

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Jón Trausti Kárason, Guðjón Þorkelsson

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund (V11004‐11)

Contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Survey on domestic market for travel food and specialty diet from seafood

Canned bags are flexible packaging with an airtight closure and are intended for ordinary foods with high acidity. The bags are resistant to canning and the contents can be sterilized. The main market for canned food is in Asia and Europe. About 5 billion packages of canned goods are sold in North America each year. Ie. about 750 thousand tons to a value of about 750 billion ISK. The market has grown by 10% per year. Most of it is produced from pet food, food rations for soldiers and for relief work in the third world. The greatest growth is in food, where technology has become recognized as a method of preservation and packaging. The restaurant and canteen market is also opening up with the development of larger bags that replace cans. An online survey was conducted to identify target groups in Iceland who might be interested in buying and using food in canned bags and to examine what kind of food is interested in using. An online survey was completed by more than 100 people. Representatives of large kitchens and outdoor enthusiasts were also interviewed regarding the use of canning bags. The results indicated that among the main target groups such as outdoor enthusiasts and large kitchens, there seems to be a general interest in the innovation that food packaged in canned bags is on the Icelandic market. The needs of the target groups are different in terms of dosages. The general public has very fixed views on canned food and these views are perhaps reflected in previous experience and the product range that has existed in Iceland so far. It is clear that in order to market ready-made dishes in canned bags, special care must be taken in the choice of recipes, ingredients and their handling. This is especially true if seafood is packaged in this way, as fish is a very sensitive raw material.

Canning bags are flexible containers with air ‐ tight sealing and intended for ordinary foods with high acidity. The food is canned in the bags. Most of the products in canning bags are pet foods, food portions for soldiers and aid activities in the Third World. The greatest growth is in food products and the technology has become recognized as a preservation and packaging process. The restaurant and canteen market is also opening up to development of larger bags to replace the cans. A web ‐ based survey was done to identify target groups in Iceland that could be interested in buying and using foods in canning bags and to explore what kind of food is of interest. Over 100 participants completed the survey. Representatives of big kitchens and outdoor enthusiasts were interviewed on the use of canning bags. Results indicated that among the major target groups widespread interest appears to be for such novelty food in the domestic market. The needs of different target groups vary in terms of size of packages. The public has a very firm view regarding canned foods probably reflected from past experience and past and current product ranges in the Icelandic market. It is therefore clear that in order to market ready meals in canning bags, the recipes and ingredients have to be chosen carefully. This is particularly important in the case of seafood as it is a very perishable raw material.

Report closed until 01.04.2015

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Reports

Nutrient value of seafood - Proximates, minerals, trace elements and fatty acids in products

Published:

01/10/2011

Authors:

Ólafur Reykdal, Hrönn Ólína Jörundsdóttir, Natasa Desnica, Svanhildur Hauksdóttir, Þuríður Ragnarsdóttir, Annabelle Vrac, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir, Heiða Pálmadóttir

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund

Contact

Ólafur Reykdal

Project Manager

olafur.reykdal@matis.is

Nutrient value of seafood - Proximates, minerals, trace elements and fatty acids in products

Measurements were made of the main substances (protein, fat, ash and water), minerals (Na, K, P, Mg, Ca) and trace elements (Se, Fe, Cu, Zn, Hg) in the main types of marine products prepared on the market. These included fish fillets, roe, shrimp, lobster and various processed products. Measurements were made of fatty acids, iodine and three vitamins in selected samples. Several products were chemically analyzed both raw and cooked. The aim of the project was to remedy the lack of data on Icelandic seafood and make it accessible to consumers, producers and retailers of Icelandic seafood. The information is available in the Icelandic database on the chemical content of food on Matís' website. Selenium was generally high in the marine products studied (33-50 µg / 100g) and it is clear that marine products can play a key role in satisfying people's selenium needs. The fatty acid composition varied according to the types of seafood and there were special characteristics that can be used as indicators of the origin of the fat. The majority of polyunsaturated fatty acids in seafood were long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The amount of minerals was very variable in seafood and there are changes in the concentration of these substances in processing and cooking. There was little loss of the trace elements selenium, iron, copper and zinc during cooking. Measurements were made on both selenium and mercury as selenium counteracts the toxicity of mercury and mercury is one of the undesirable substances in marine products. In all cases, mercury proved to be well below the maximum levels in the regulation. Roe and roe products had the special feature of containing very much selenium but also very little mercury.

Proximates (protein, fat, ash and water), minerals (Na, K, P, Mg, Ca) and trace elements (Se, Fe, Cu, Zn, Hg) were analyzed in the most important Icelandic seafoods ready to be sent to market. The samples were fish fillets, roe, shrimp, lobster, and several processed seafoods. Fatty acids, iodine, and three vitamins were analyzed in selected seafoods. A few seafoods were analyzed both raw and cooked. The aim of the study was to collect information on the nutrient composition of seafood products and make this information available to consumers, producers and seafood dealers. The information is available in the Icelandic Food Composition Database. Selenium levels were generally high in the seafoods studied (33‐50 µg / 100g) and seafoods can be an important source of selenium in the diet. Fatty acid composition was variable depending on species and certain characteristics can be used to indicate the fat source. Polyunsaturated fatty acids were mainly long chain omega ‐ 3 fatty acids. The concentration of minerals was variable, depending on processing and cooking. Small losses were found for selenium, iron, copper and zinc during boiling. Both selenium and mercury were analyzed since selenium protects against mercury toxicity and data are needed for mercury. Mercury in all samples was below the maximum limit set by regulation. Roe and lumpsucker products had the special status of high selenium levels and very low mercury levels.

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Reports

Bacterial diversity in the processing environment of fish products

Published:

01/03/2010

Authors:

Eyjólfur Reynisson, Sveinn Haukur Magnússon, Árni Rafn Rúnarsson, Viggó Þór Marteinsson

Supported by:

Tækniþróunarsjóður, AVS

Contact

Viggó Marteinsson

Research Group Leader

viggo.th.marteinsson@matis.is

Bacterial diversity in the processing environment of fish products

The report seeks to address the diversity and species composition of micro-organisms in fish processing environments. The research work began with the installation and development of methods for scanning microbial composition using molecular biological methods, and then at a later stage, work began on examining selected environments from the fishing industry. Two fish processing plants were visited, each twice where an evaluation was made of the processing and approx. 20 samples taken in each trip. A diverse community of bacteria was found, where known harmful bacteria were usually in a high proportion along with various other species. Microbial counts showed high levels of bacteria on the surface of production lines during processing with few bacterial groups in excess but also numerous other species in smaller quantities. The main groups of bacteria found belong to Photobacterium phosphoreum, which was in the highest proportion overall throughout the study, along with Flavobacterium, Psychrobacter, Chryseobacter, Acinetobacter and Pseudoalteromonas. All of these species are known fish bacteria that live in the redness and intestines of live fish. This is the first known project where molecular biological methods are used to scan the bacterial ecosystem of fish processing plants. A knowledge base has therefore been laid here for bacterial ecosystems in different conditions in fish processing, which will be used permanently in research and development of improved processing processes and storage methods for fish.

In this report we seek answers on diversity and species composition of bacteria in fish processing environment. The study initiated method development to screen microbial systems using molecular methods followed by analysis of samples from 2 fish processing plants. This research shows the presence of a diverse microbial community in fish processing environment where known spoilage microorganisms are typically in high relative numbers along with various other bacterial species. Total viable counts showed the presence of bacteria in high numbers on processing surfaces during fish processing where few species typically dominated the community. Photobacterium phosphoreum was the most apparent species followed by genera such as Flavobacterium, Psychrobacter, Chryseobacter, Acinetobacter and Pseudoalteromonas. All these species are known fish associated bacteria that live on the skin and in the digestive tract of a living animal. To our knowledge, this is the first study where molecular methods are used to screen microbial communities in fish processing plants. This research has therefore contributed a database on bacterial diversity in fish processing plants that will be used in the future to improve processing and storage methods in the fish industry.

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Reports

Proposals for the establishment of retail fish markets in Iceland / Public fish markets in Iceland - propositions

Published:

01/10/2009

Authors:

Þóra Valsdóttir, Brynhildur Pálsdóttir, Theresa Himmer

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund

Contact

Þóra Valsdóttir

Project Manager

thora.valsdottir@matis.is

Proposals for the establishment of retail fish markets in Iceland / Public fish markets in Iceland - propositions

Why is it not common in Iceland for the public to be able to buy fresh fish on the quayside or at the fish market? Iceland is known for its large and healthy fishing grounds and fish products of high quality. Why not make more of an experience in connection with the fish, both for Icelanders and for tourists? Many people are interested in the idea of a fish market, but for some reason it has not been implemented. These proposals review the status of fish markets in Iceland and what "retail fish markets" can offer. Examples of fish markets abroad are taken, various ways of setting up a retail fish market are reviewed, and the main steps that need to be kept in mind when setting out are reviewed. Finally, an example is taken of the process of original idea work for the establishment of a retail fish market in Reykjavík. The authors hope that this summary will spark interest in and contribute to the establishment of fish markets for the general public across the country.  

There are currently no public fish markets in Iceland - why? Iceland is known for its rich fishing grounds and quality fish products. Why has the seafood experience been more exploited, for the Icelandic public as well as tourists? The idea of a public fish market greatest excitement among most people, however, it has not resulted in an up and running market. In these propositions the current situation in Iceland is reviewed as well as what is to gain by creating and running public fish markets. Examples are taken from fish markets abroad, different scenarios are illustrated and important steps in the preparation process discussed. Finally, example is given on the first steps in idea generation for a public fish market in Reykjavik. The authors aim for these propositions to encourage the establishment of public fish markets all around Iceland. 

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Reports

QALIBRA - Cluster Meeting Report and Minutes from the 2nd Cluster meeting of the QALIBRA and BENERIS projects

Published:

01/02/2008

Authors:

Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir, Björn Þorgilsson

Supported by:

European Commission, Matís, CSL, RIVM, WU, Upatras, Altagra, Ipimar

QALIBRA - Cluster Meeting Report and Minutes from the 2nd Cluster meeting of the QALIBRA and BENERIS projects

This project report describes a joint meeting of two European projects called QALIBRA and BENERIS. The meeting was held in Helsinki, Finland from 6 to 9 November 2007. Both projects fall under Priority 5, Food Quality & Safety in the 6th EU Research Program and share some work components. The purpose of the meeting was:

1) Audit of two EU regulators on the work of the projects for the first 18 months

2) Ensure the flow of information between projects and discuss ongoing collaboration

3) Comments and proposals of the reference advisory committee of the projects on the work and the continuation

QALIBRA, or “Quality of Life - Integarted Benefit and Risk Analysis. Web-based tool for assessing food safety and health benefits, ”abbreviated QALIBRA (Heilsuvogin in Icelandic), is a three-and-a-half-year project led by Matís. The project manager is Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir, department manager at Matís. The aim of the QALIBRA project is to develop quantitative methods to assess both the positive and negative effects of food ingredients on human health. The goal is to present these methods in a computer program that will be open and accessible to all stakeholders on the web. The aim of the BENERIS project is to create a methodology for dealing with complex benefit-risk situations, and then use them to assess the benefits / risks that certain types of food can bring. The first type of food that will be used in the development of this methodology is seafood. This report describes the discussions and the main conclusions of the meeting.

This report is a summary of the 2nd Cluster meeting of the QALIBRA and the BENERIS projects in Helsinki, Finland, November 6-9th, 2007. Both projects are funded by the EC´s 6th framework program, and have the same contract starting dates and a common workpackage (WP6) for cluster activities. Both projects began on April 1st 2006 and will run until October 2009, or for 42 months. This report contains results of the discussions that took place and the actions defined, while the overheads presented during the meeting are compiled in an Annex to the report. The overall objective of QALIBRA is to develop a suite of quantitative methods for assessing and integrating beneficial and adverse effects of foods and making them available to all stakeholders as web-based software for assessing and communicating net health impacts. The overall objective of BENERIS is to create a framework for handling complicated benefit-risk situations and apply it for analysis of the benefits and risks of certain foods. The first food commodity to be used in the development of the methodology is seafood.

The objective of the Cluster meeting was:

1) Evaluation (by two independent experts appointed by the EC) of activities from the beginning of the projects until the meeting

2) Sharing of information on scientific progress and plans between Qalibra and Beneris, as well as planning of further cluster activities

3) Obtain feedback and advice from the Qalibra / Beneris Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP)

This report contains results of the discussions that took place and the actions defined.

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Reports

The value and safety of Icelandic seafood. Food safety and added ranking / Food safety and added value of Icelandic seafood. Risk profiling and risk ranking

Published:

01/05/2007

Authors:

Eva Yngvadóttir, Birna Guðbjörnsdóttir

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund and IFL / Matís ohf

The value and safety of Icelandic seafood. Food safety and added ranking / Food safety and added value of Icelandic seafood. Risk profiling and risk ranking

In this project, basic work was carried out on risk assessment for cod, shrimp, redfish, haddock, halibut, herring, saithe and kúfisk. These species were mapped for risk and their risk composition was obtained and a semi-quantitative risk assessment was performed on them. This risk assessment used a calculation model that has been developed in Australia and is called Risk Ranger. The risk assessment used data on consumption habits (dosages, frequency, etc.), frequency and causes of foodborne illness. Thus, the risk associated with the consumption of these marine products was calculated, based on certain assumptions. The reliability of a risk assessment is entirely dependent on the data and information used in its implementation. According to the available measurement data and given assumptions, the above-mentioned seafood products are classified in the lowest risk category (level <32) - low risk, compared to healthy individuals. In international food markets, Icelandic seafood has a good reputation for health and safety. Concerns about food safety, however, are growing in many places, so it is a great challenge for Icelanders to maintain this good reputation in the future.

This report contains the preliminary results of a risk profiling and risk ranking study for the following species: cod (Gadus moruha), shrimp (Pandalus borealis), ocean perch (Sebastes marinus), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) , saithe (Pollachius virens) and Iceland cyprine (Cyprina islandica). These species were surveyed with regard to terms of undesirable substances (Risk profiling and risk ranking, as well as semiquantitative risk assessment). An Australian software, Risk ranger, was used to compute the risk assessment. Various data, eg consumer behavior (daily intake, frequency etc.), and incidence and origin of food-borne diseases, were used. Thus, the risk of consuming these species was determined. The reliability of a risk assessment is dependent on the quality of the data which are used to carry it out. Based on the existing data and given prerequisites, it can be stated that the aforementioned species come under the lowest risk group (degree <32) - small risk, considering healthy individuals. Icelandic seafood products are renowned on the international food markets as being quality and safe food. However, in light of growing concern worldwide for food safety, it is a challenge for Icelandic seafood producers to maintain that good reputation.

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Reports

Nordic information and communication network regarding safety of seafood products. Final Report

Published:

01/03/2007

Authors:

Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir, Björn Auðunsson

Supported by:

NSK (Strategy Reserve), NEF (Nordic Officials' Committee for Fisheries Policy), IFL

Nordic information and communication network regarding safety of seafood products. Final Report

This report is the final report in the Nordic information and communication network project regarding the safety of seafood products, which began in 2005 and was formally completed at the end of 2006. The project developed a joint Nordic website (www.seafoodnet.info) which gathers in one place relevant links containing information on the chemical content of marine products, both undesirable substances and also nutrients. Iceland (first the Fisheries Research Institute and then Matís ohf) was responsible for developing the website and maintaining it, but each country is responsible for its information and for updating it. The project was formally completed at the end of 2006, when the website had just been moved to a new content management system, Eplica, which simplifies all web management and also makes it easier for visitors to find the content they are looking for. It is hoped that these will enable the web to stay "alive" with little effort and cost.

This report is the final report in a Nordic project called “Nordic information and communication network regarding safety of seafood products and utilization of the resources from the sea”. The report contains a summary of the activities in the projects after the 2nd workshop in the project, which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on April 21st 2006 until the project formally ended at the end of 2006. During this period the website was transferred into a new web content management system called Eplica product suite, which makes administering much easier than in the earlier version and accessing the website much more user-friendly. This was done in accordance with agreements reached at the workshop in Copenhagen. Although the project has formally ended, it is hoped that the seafoodnet.info website will continue to live for some time to come, as a common database or co-ordination of information and reporting of chemical substances, ie nutrients and undesirable substances in seafood. Furthermore, it was hoped that the project would be a cornerstone for further networking and innovative transnational research with the participation of scientists in the Nordic countries and EU.

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