Toilet Water Coffee Served By Hong Kong Starbucks Causing A Stink After Incriminating Photos Leak Online [VIDEO]
Toilet water coffee? No, it's not the latest version of the animal-poop coffee trend, but a rather embarrassing PR nightmare for coffee giant Starbucks. Toilet water coffee has apparently been served to patrons at a Hong Kong location near the Bank of China Tower. Apple Daily, a tabloid in Hong Kong, ran photos showing the toilet water coffee being made by Starbucks employees. Although the water isn't being pulled out of an actual toilet, a faucet located next to a urinal isn't exactly the most sanitary starting point for a cup of java, either. According to a company spokesperson, the toilet water coffee was borne out of necessity.
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"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," Starbucks spokeswoman Wendy Pang told Time. She added that the location is using bottled, distilled water for the time being.
However, it became apparent after the photos surfaced that toilet water coffee had been on the menu since the Hong Kong location opened two years ago. And customers aren't the only ones upset by the toilet water coffee, government officials are getting involved too. According to a May 30, 2013, Kotaku report "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."
Even though the toilet water coffee went through an extra filter to help meet local purity standards, its proximity to a urinal is still a cause for concern, especially since employees go to the bathroom to fetch toilet water for coffee an estimated 70 times a day.
"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."
Ben Cowling, an associate professor at University of Hong Kong's School of Public Health, told HK Magazine. "I wouldn't go to the restaurant in the first place if I knew they were having potentially risky hygiene practices."
Here is a video report on the toilet water coffee showing the Starbucks bathroom and faucet used by employees:
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