PHOENIX (AP) - Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone says 23 jail inmates have gone on a hunger strike in an attempt to get better quality food.

Penzone said at a news conference Wednesday that the striking inmates have refused to eat at least two meals a day.

There are about 8,000 inmates currently in the county jail system and they are served breakfast and dinner daily.

Penzone says the meals may be bland, but they meet the nutritional demands outlined by a staffed dietitian.

"Quiet frankly, if the issue is the taste of this food, my recommendation for you is don’t commit crimes and come to jail," Penzone said.

The sheriff says his office isn't a hotel looking for high-quality service rankings on how good their food is or how good it could be.

Penzone also says inmates have the option of purchasing different meals from a shop inside the jail.