The Rhode Island Department of Health officials believe that “allergic-type” reactions exhibited by almost three dozen students after eating kiwifruit might have been caused by a cleaning solution.
The department reported on the 34 cases from 14 elementary and high schools on Feb. 9. The students reported the reaction almost immediately after eating the fruit served at schools. Several days later, the Associated Press reported the department was focusing on a cleaning solution used on the fruit.
Lab results are expected the week of Feb. 19.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, reactions included itching of the lips and mouth, hives and tongue swelling. The students were treated with antihistamines, and all students recovered.
The fruit was cut and packaged at Roch’s Fresh Foods, West Greenwhich, R.I., according to a health department release. The company is cooperating with health officials and schools have stopped purchasing kiwifruit from Roch’s. The fruit was also distributed in Massachusetts, according to the release, but no cases have been made public in that state.