A Which? report into the quality of hospital food paints a distorted and inaccurate picture, according to the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA).
The study, which spoke to patients at 50 hospitals, revealed that only 35% thought hospital food was tasty and 42% thought it was healthy.
Which? also found that 47% of NHS patients didn't always get the food they ordered and 29% said they had felt hungry after a meal.
But HCA chair Alison McCree questioned the results. "We were disappointed by many of the survey findings in relation to hospital food. They appear to contradict recent Government Patient Environment Action Team surveys that had indicated a more positive picture," she said.
McCree said the report gave a "distorted impression" on kitchen hygiene levels because many findings related to problems from three years ago that had since been addressed.
McCree admitted there were some problems, but attributed these to staffing issues. "Many of the complaints could be dramatically reduced by increasing the number of ward housekeepers," she said. "This was a target of the Government's 2000 NHS plan but not many hospitals have them on all wards."