HeyTea issued an apology for the detection of microbial contamination in beverages sold in Nanjing stores and listed five corrective measures.
Five products from two HeyTea Nanjing Stores failed the spot test on summer cold drinks conducted by the Xuanwu District Administration for Industry and Commerce in Nanjing. The test covered 16 bubble teas and six batches of ice cubes from bubble tea chains including Nayuki Tea, A Little Tea and HeyTea.
The total number of colonies and coliform bacteria detected in the five products exceeded the standard, authorities said, which can easily cause gastrointestinal diseases such as vomiting and diarrhea.
According to HeyTea’s internal investigation, the two stores didn’t follow the standardized instructions that require equipment cleaning, disinfecting, proper transportation and storage. For example, they used uncleaned ice shovels and kept refrigerated milk at room temperature for too long.
HeyTea announced five measures in the statement:
- Rectify and thoroughly investigate the two stores immediately. Deep clean and disinfect the stores by hiring a third-party professional disinfection company. At the same time, conduct an internal examination in all 15 stores in Nanjing.
- Apart from the current cleaning and disinfection of ice machines every week, conduct deep cleaning by ice machine professionals once a quarter. Complete inspections of ice machines and ice cubes in all stores nationwide within this week. Re-train ice machine operators. Conduct quality testing regularly.
- Re-promote hand-washing and disinfection guidelines and follow up the implementation in the daily operation process.
- Actively cooperate with the government investigation, and transparently disclose the food safety status to the public.
Founded in Guangdong in 2012, HeyTea quickly expanded its chains nationwide and expects to reach 800 stores this year. In April alone, it opened 16 new stores.
However, the rapid expansion is likely to bring more operation issues. In December 2018, a Shanghai customer found parts of a plastic glove in a drink. One month later, a store in Xi’an was reported to have an “unsanitary” environment. In April 2019, a Xiamen store was found to have a high container ATP index, which indicates a substandard cleanliness of tablewares.