In Hong Kong, Starbucks patrons are non too happy after finding out the coffee chain’s Central Hong Kong branch has used “toilet water” to brew coffee since it opened two years ago.
Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily published images of the questionable practice along with a report stating that Starbucks staff use water from the public restroom in the building’s parking garage several times every day and use it to brew coffee.
The faucet that Starbucks used was only a few feet away from a urinal. There were concerns about hygiene, and Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department told Apple Daily that this Starbucks’ use of water was not within regulations. Since this discovery, the department has apparently issued a warning to the coffee chain’s Central Hong Kong restaurant.
And that’s not all!
HK Magazine pointed out. “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,” Cowling added.
Starbucks spokeswoman Wendy Pang confirmed that water used to brew coffee at Starbucks’ Bank of China Tower location did indeed come from the washroom, but she tsays the water is put through a filtration system in order to meet standards established by local authorities and the World Health Organization.
“There is no direct water supply to that particular store, that’s why we need to obtain the drinking water from the nearest source in the building,” Pang told AFP.
Still, customers have expressed their disgust.
“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,” Kevin L wrote on the Starbucks Hong Kong Facebook wall.
“I’m now really worried when I purchase coffee from Starbucks. Who knows which other stores are using the similar practice! Scary!!” he wrote.
“I stick to my McCafe and the water is not from a toilet!” Cristiane Guimaraes commented on her Facebook wall.
“The issue that is more worrying is … the potential risk of transferring pathogens from the restroom environment into the Starbucks food preparation area,” Cowling warned.
“I wouldn’t go to the restaurant in the first place if I knew they were having potentially risky hygiene practices,” Cowling said.
On The Web:
Starbucks Used ‘Toilet Water’ To Brew Coffee In Hong Kong: Report
Hong Kong Starbucks Used “Toilet Water” To Make Coffee