This story uses the word “balls” way too many times and is a jumble of nonsense when you get down to it thanks bizarre food labelling laws in Finland. Basically this company Kesko is your discount brand of supermarket crap, think of a Euro Wal Mart. They sell meatballs. Only in Finland, you can’t call this crap meatballs because they’re not made of meat. At this point you may think “oh, is this like a soy meatball thing?” and you’d be forgiven for thinking that because, when someone calls a meatball meatless, what the hell else could they be talking about? Everywhere else on Earth you’d have a point. Not so in Finland.
See, mechanically separated meat, this is the stuff all of our delicious preformed meatballs and McRibs and nuggets and such are made from, can’t legally be called meat in Finland. Why can’t the material scraped off of the bones of animals be called meat? The Finns are finicky, who’s to say? Point is, for them, meat is only what you cut off the bone with a knife. Once that is no longer an option, the stuff left on the bone, that you can get off and make meatballs out of if you have enough bones, just isn’t meat. It’s clearly not vegan either, so they’ve opted to take the highroad and not name it at all. Thus, according to the law of the land, the meatballs are not legally just “balls.” That’s literally what the package and the company website says. Balls.
You probably haven’t given meatballs a lot of thought in your life, or vegan meatballs for that matter, but both of them really heavily rely on the first word in the name to describe what they are. “Balls” is really the least important aspect of the meatball description. In fact, when dealing with food, that first word is 100% necessary. Chocolate balls, oatmeal balls, meatballs, soy balls, corn balls, vodka balls. Without that first word, you have no idea what you’re getting into in a pretty serious way. Do you want to put random balls in your mouth? The Finns do.
So why isn’t mechanically separated meat called meat in Finland? Who knows. A stranger question may be what the company means when it says these balls have the equivalent of 52% meat. Because what the hell? Only half of it could be considered meat maybe to someone? What the hell is the rest of it? Maybe it’s right not to call these things meatballs. Add some spices and maybe a binding agent, sure, but not 48% worth. That’s weird.
Unfortunately for us we couldn’t find an ingredient list online, so it’s up to you to help us out – what makes up the other 48% of the Finnish balls?