According to an HK Magazine translation of an Apple Daily report, the Starbucks located in the Bank of China Tower was using "toilet water" from a spout just feet away from a bathroom urinal. Employees allegedly wheeled a cart behind the coffee house to the bathroom dozens of times each day, filling the cart with the bathroom water. The water was then filtered and then used to prepare Starbucks drinks.
A spokesperson for Starbucks in Hong Kong told HK Magazine that the particular Starbucks location used the bathroom water because it was the closest source of water. The spokesperson emphasized that the water had passed certification in the past, and that it "adheres strictly" to regulatory standards.
Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has stated that the restaurant's practice was not up to regulations. The department has issued a warning to Starbucks.
A public health professor at the University of Hong Kong told HK Magazine that filtering the water should be good enough to remove harmful bacteria, but that smaller pathogens, such as viruses, would require a purifier.