Health dept. looking into fruit wash in kiwi investigation

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After nearly three dozen students from fourteen different schools across the state had an allergic reaction after eating kiwi, we’ve learned it likely wasn’t the fruit itself.

Instead, health officials tells Eyewitness News it may have been a solution the fruit was washed in that made the children sick.

Uriel Ortiz is home recovering after being rushed to the hospital with a severe allergic reaction Friday.

“He could have died,” uttered Uriel’s mother Jennifer Ortiz.

“He was the fourth kid reacting.  We had a total of ten kids react in our school,” added Ortiz.

“My throat started to hurt and my lip started to puff up,” Uriel Ortiz recalled.

A teacher administered an EpiPen and Uriel was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

The Rhode Island Health Department is now investigating.

Officials said the kiwi all of the students ate came from Roch’s Fresh Foods in West Greenwich.

Roch’s was ordered to throw away all of the remaining fruit.

In a written statement the state health department said it will testing the levels of peracetic acid used to clean the kiwis, which might have caused the allergic-type reactions.

The department also advised Roch’s Fresh Foods to discontinue use of the solution while it investigates.

Officials will be interviewing workers at the store on Monday.

Lab results are expected back sometime early next week.