Two patients are reported to have died and seven more came to “significant harm” after people with swallowing difficulties were given inappropriate food, according to NHS Improvement.
The regulator received reports of hash browns, mince and sponge cake being fed to patients in England who were supposed to be on liquidised food.
Hundreds of choking or coughing episodes also occurred from 2015-17.
Experts are now calling for an end to the term “soft diet”.
NHS Improvement, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and The British Dietetic Association say the term can cause confusion among staff, patients and carers.
Dr Kathy McLean, executive medical director at NHS Improvement, said: “Vulnerable patients have died or been harmed because there is confusion in the way people describe what type of food is suitable for those with swallowing or chewing difficulties.
“We are calling on everyone providing NHS-funded care to start using precise terminology to help avoid further harm. This will help save lives and make the NHS safer.”