Roch’s halts kiwi distribution after 34 students report allergic reactions

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health is investigating nearly three dozen reports of students having “allergic-type reactions” after eating fresh kiwi fruit.

Health officials said approximately 34 students reported experiencing symptoms such as itching of the lips and mouth, hives and tongue swelling.

Some students were treated at school, according to the health department, while a few were taken to the emergency room. All were given antihistamines and improved over time, the agency said.

According to the health department, the fruit was cut and bagged at Roch’s Fresh Foods in West Greenwich. The company is cooperating with the investigation and health officials are working with schools to make sure all of the fruit is discarded.

The following school reported students having symptoms after consuming the kiwi fruit:

  • Blackstone Valley Prep 1, Cumberland
  • Blackstone Valley Prep 2, Cumberland
  • Blackstone Valley Prep 3, Cumberland
  • Vartan Gregorian, Providence
  • Southside Elementary Charter, Providence
  • Globe Park School, Woonsocket
  • Illuminar at ACH 1st, Providence
  • Highlander, Providence
  • Frank Spaziano Annex, Providence
  • Times 2 Academy, Providence
  • Nathaniel Greene, Pawtucket
  • Anges Hennessey, East Providence
  • Silver Springs, East Providence
  • Orlo Avenue, East Providence

The health department said Roch’s also distributed kiwis in Massachusetts, so the agency is working with the Massachusetts Department of Health to make sure schools discard the fruit.

It is very unlikely that a delayed allergic reaction will occur from consuming the kiwis, according to the health department. Officials said if any student does experience these symptoms, his or her parents should contact their healthcare providers for advice and guidance.