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Thursday’s papers: Finnish wages, meat-loving Finns and toxic gardening

Finnish newspapers look at hourly wages, red meat consumption and the hidden dangers of gardening.

Hampurilainen lihattomalla pihvillä.
Finns have a love affair with meat, studies show. Image: Beyond Meat

The mean Finnish hourly wage was 26.50 euros in 2018, putting Finland in the upper mid-range of a European salary comparison, reports business daily Kauppalehti, citing a study by Eurostat.

The study highlights the continent's wide east-west pay gap, with those in non-EU Norway earning an average ten times more than people living in Bulgaria, who pull down an average 4.50 euros an hour.

Residents of former socialist countries earn the least, while those living in Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands are at the highest end of the salary spectrum.

Meat taxes?

While several climate reports are imploring Finns to limit their intake of animal-based products, a study by Helsingin Sanomat finds that Finland is the promised land of dairy and red meat, with the appeal of plant-based replacements for animal products largely limited to consumers in urban centres.

A sales study by HS shows that in addition to the capital region, the university towns of Jyväskylä and Tampere sell the most meat and dairy replacement products, such as oat milk and pulled oats.

Helsinki University food culture professor Mari Niva told the paper that major structural changes would be needed to change residents’ eating habits, as individual choice alone won’t steer people away from animal products to help reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

Legionnaires’ danger lurking in soil

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is urging gardeners to wear protective gloves after its study conducted with the Finnish Food Authority found that 90 percent of potting soil samples contained legionella bacteria, which causes a severe form of pneumonia, reports HS.

Researchers randomly tested 53 soil products samples from around the country. The high incidence of the bacteria surprised researchers, according to the paper.

Health watchdog THL said Legionnaires' disease has been under-diagnosed in Finland. Last year Sweden reported 40 cases of Legionnaires' disease originating in commercial potting mixes.

Two Finns died from Legionnaires' disease in 2018.

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