Kiwi fruit possibly linked to statewide allergic-like reactions

By: Rachael Perry


Twitter: @RachaelABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The sale of kiwi fruit has been suspended from a local market following an allergic-type reaction that developed in 34 students across Rhode Island.

According to the Department of Health, the sale of kiwi fruit at Roch’s Fresh Foods in West Greenwich has been suspended until further notice.  The green and seedy fruit, both cut and bagged at that location, has been possibly linked to the reactions.

“RIDOH received reports of approximately 34 students experiencing symptoms, including itching of the lips and mouth, hives and tongue swelling. Fresh kiwi fruit was consumed immediately prior to onset of these reactions,” said Department of Health spokesman Joseph Wendelken.

“Roch’s has been very cooperative as RIDOH works with schools to ensure that all the fresh fruit from this distributor is discarded.”

According to the Department of Health, the following schools have reported reactions to the 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 distribution of kiwis from Roch’s Fresh Foods has been suspended. Because fruit had also been distributed to Massachusetts, RIDOH is coordinating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health,” said Wendelken 

Students who had reactions were treated with antihistamines. All improved as a result.

The cause of the reaction is still under investigation at this time.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2018