Milk tea chain shuts 2 Beijing stores over hygiene claims

Ding Yining
Nayuki outlets turned a blind eye to cleanliness and poor food handling practice, investigation showed.
Ding Yining
Milk tea chain shuts 2 Beijing stores over hygiene claims
Dong Jun / SHINE

Hong Kong-listed Nayuki's Tea said it is suspending the operations of two Beijing stores to rectify problems linked to unsanitary or improper handling of drinks ingredients and using inferior fruit material.

A Xinhua News Agency undercover investigation found that employees at Nayuki's store in Xidan Joy City and Chang'an Market turned a blind eye to poor hygiene situations and improper handling of food ingredients. Some also changed a production time label to sell bakery items that were not fresh from the oven.

Nayuki raised HK$5.09 billion (US$656 million) in its Hong Kong IPO in June and operated nearly 500 stores in 66 domestic cities as of December last year. Its share price dropped 9.7 percent on Tuesday.

According to the Xinhua report, an employee at the Joy City store ignored an inferior hygiene situation caused by cockroaches being found in the bakery cabinet. An out-of-date Indian gooseberry fruit drink, which had a shelf life of only one day, was also a problem.   

Another employee at the Chang'an Market Nayuki store was reported to be  using mango fruit paste contaminated by paper labels. They also made drinks without wearing gloves and repeatedly used rags without them being properly cleaned or disinfected.

Store managers, however, paid special attention to hygiene whenever there was a spot check from market authorities, the report claimed.

Food safety and hygiene problems have been frequently detected in recent years in a number of cities.

Earlier this year in Shanghai, several outlets of chain milk tea brands in Fengxian District, including alittle-tea, Cha Bai Dao, Sweet7, CoCo and Kumahime, were found to be lacking health certificates or to be improperly handling drinks ingredients.

Nayuki said in a statement on Tuesday morning it will set up a task force to conduct a thorough check and rectification of the two tea stores. It apologized for disappointing consumers due to hygiene problems and mishandling of ingredients.

It said it required disinfection to be done four times a month at the Xidan outlet but will now strengthen the practice and enhance employee training to make sure food safety rules are strictly implemented.

It also reiterated that all fresh fruit will be discarded after the shelf life expires.

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