A Starbucks in Hong Kong reportedly used “toilet water” to brew coffee.
An employee at the location in question would wheel a cart into a men’s bathroom at a nearby parking garage in order to retrieve the water used in the company’s beverages.
According to reports, the Starbucks in Central Hong Kong doesn’t have a water source. Workers would use a tap in the garage’s toilet around 70 times in a single day. Not surprisingly, this soon caused a bit of concern from people who frequently buy their coffee from the location.
“Totally disappointed! The initial decision by Starbucks to use water from toilet is a clear sign of your company’s vision and the level of (dis)respect your company has for the health and mind of your customers,” one customer wrote on Starbucks Hong Kong’s Facebook page.
The water used to brew the coffee was taken from a tap that was very close the toilet’s urinal. Not surprisingly, this drew the attention Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Starbucks was issued a warning to fix the problem as soon as possible.
University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health associate professor Ben Cowling said that employees run the risk of spreading bacteria to customers.
“If the staff need to frequently visit the toilet, they may increase the risk of bringing other pathogens from the washroom into their food and drink preparation area,” Cowley explained.
Starbucks Hong Kong has officially addressed the situation and assures its customers that the location is no longer getting water from the parking garage’s toilet.
The company’s Facebook statement said:
“Please kindly accept our apologies for the concerns raised by the coverage on the water source at the Bank of China Tower store. While the water used at that store was drinking water and certified as safe, we would like to clarify any misperceptions, as quality and safety have always been our top priority. We are now using distilled water to serve that store while we work with all parties on acceptable options.”