Apparently, Hong Kong’s central Hong Kong Starbucks branch has used toilet water in coffee preparation since it opened two years ago.
According to Apple Daily, a staffer would push a cart into a men’s restroom in a nearby parking garage, fill it will water, and then push the cart back to Starbucks, where the “toilet water” would be then filtered. This would happen up to seventy times a day. The bathroom faucet was used because there was no nearby water source.
Ben Cowling, associate professor from the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, said that filtering the water should remove harmful bacteria, but that a purifier would be needed to remove the smaller-sized viruses that could be present in the water.
In the wake of the report, Starbucks Hong Kong issued the following statement: “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.”