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ESPGHAN recommends Chr. Hansen’s probiotics for use in preterm infants

Press release   •   Feb 28, 2020 10:23 UTC

“We could not have asked for a finer endorsement of our product, which represents Chr. Hansen’s strongholds in terms of innovation, next level quality and safety."

Published New Position Paper from the globally recognized ‘European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition’ identifies probiotic strains with efficacy for preterm infants

In November 2019, Chr. Hansen ​announced the launch of a new three-strain probiotic blend that can help support the health and development of intestines in preterm infants and has been shown to help reduce risk of Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) by 50% (1). NEC is an inflammatory disease and the leading cause of mortality worldwide for preterm infants.(2)

Available through customer partnerships in the US and in Europe, this product is already being used in several neonatal intensive care units. Now a new Position Paper by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition(3) recommends the probiotic strains included in the blend by Chr. Hansen.

The working group recommends that “if all safety conditions are met, the panel conditionally recommends using the combination of Bifidobacterium infantis, Bb-02 (DSM 33361), Bifidobacterium, BB-12® and Streptococcus thermophilus, TH-4® at a dose of 3.0 to 3.5 x 10^8 CFU (of each strain) as it might reduce NEC stage 2 or 3”.

The recommendation was ​published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, on February 11, 2020.

Strong external validation
​“With this new position paper, our three-strain probiotic blend has received a strong external validation by a highly recognized pediatric society. We are proud to deliver a probiotic solution with strong evidence on reducing one of the most serious conditions among preterm babies and we hope that with this external validation, the probiotic solution may aid an even greater number of preterm babies across the globe,” says Christian Barker, EVP, Health & Nutrition, Chr. Hansen.

“We could not have asked for a finer endorsement of our product, which represents Chr. Hansen’s strongholds in terms of innovation, next level quality and safety and not least our overall purpose. Using our science and technology to make a positive difference in the world is what we are in business for, and this solution is a great example of that.”

About 1-2% of all infants are born very preterm or extremely preterm – i.e. two months or earlier than due date – which is some 2.4 million infants globally every year.(4) NEC affects approximately 5% of this group and results in a mortality rate of up to 30%(5,6).

Strictest of production processes
Chr. Hansen’s three-strain probiotic has been tested in two high quality clinical trials for its efficacy and safety. It has shown to help support the intestinal tract for healthy immune and digestive function, reducing the risk of Necrotizing enterocolitis by 50% (1,7).

Due to the high vulnerability of preterm infants to infections, Chr. Hansen has implemented the strictest of production processes, adding many more requirements on top of what is stipulated as standard:

  • An extensive testing regimen is applied for all ingredients and final product to verify microbiological quality
  • Hygiene monitoring program run prior to and after each production to reduce risk of contamination
  • Single use, sealed packages to minimize contamination risk in use.

What is ESPGHAN?
The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) is a multi-professional organization whose aim is to promote the health of children through knowledge creation and the dissemination of science based information.

ESPGHAN issues a range of position papers and guidelines, published through the scientific journal “Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition”. In February 2020, ESPGHAN published a Position Paper “Probiotics and preterm infants” which shall serve as a guide for the possible use of probiotics in preterm infants.


1. Jacobs et al. Pediatrics 2013,132(6):1055-1062;
2. Cotton et al. J Perinatol 2005,25:650–655
3. van den Akker et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2020
4. Chawanpaiboon et al. The Lancet 2019,7:37-46
5. Neu & Walker, N Engl J Med 2011,364(3):255-264
6. Fitzgibbons et al. J Pediatr Surg 2009,44(6):1072-1075
7. Bin-Nun et al. J Pediatr 2005,147:192-196

BB-12® and TH-4® are trademarks of Chr. Hansen A/S

Chr. Hansen is a leading, global bioscience company that develops natural solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. We develop and produce cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors for a rich variety of foods, confectionery, beverages, dietary supplements, animal feed, and plant protection. Our product innovation is based on around 40,000 microbial strains – we like to refer to them as “good bacteria”. Our solutions enable food manufacturers to produce more with less – while also reducing the use of chemicals and other synthetic additives – which makes our products highly relevant in today’s world. Sustainability is an integral part of Chr. Hansen’s vision to improve food and health. In 2019 Chr. Hansen was ranked as the world’s most sustainable company by Corporate Knights thanks to our strong sustainability efforts and our many collaborative partnerships with our customers. We have been delivering value to our partners – and, ultimately, end consumers worldwide – for over 145 years. We are proud that more than one billion people consume products containing our natural ingredients every day. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen.

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