A Starbucks cafe in the famous Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong was recently exposed for using water from a building bathroom to make drinks since October 2011.
A local newspaper, Apple Daily, recently published a picture (right) of the tap with a sign that said “Starbucks only,” only a few feet away from a urinal.
Starbucks spokeswoman Wendy Pang told AFP that water was indeed collected by the store's staff from a tap in the bathroom.
“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,” said Pang.
The water from the bathroom tap goes through a filtration system, claimed Pang, who said the store is now switching to distilled water.
Hong Kong University School of Public Health associate professor Benjamin Cowling said: “The issue that is more worrying is…the potential risk of transferring pathogens from the restroom environment into the Starbucks food preparation area. I wouldn’t go to the restaurant in the first place if I knew they were having potentially risky hygiene practices."