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A microorganism (from the Greek: , mikrs, "small" and , organisms, "organism"; also spelled micro-organism, micro organism or microrganism)

or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell (unicellular), cell clusters.[1], or multicellular relatively complex organisms. The study of microorganisms is called microbiology, a subject that began with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microorganisms in 1675, using a microscope of his own design. Microorganisms are very diverse; they include bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa; microscopic plants (green algae); and animals such as rotifers and planarians. Some microbiologists also include viruses, but others consider these as nonliving.[2][3] Most microorganisms are unicellular (single-celled), but this is not universal, since some multicellular organisms are microscopic, while some unicellular protists and bacteria, like Thiomargarita namibiensis, are macroscopic and visible to the naked eye.[4] Microorganisms live in all parts of the biosphere where there is liquid water, including soil, hot springs, on the ocean floor, high in the atmosphere and deep inside rocks within the Earth's crust. Microorganisms are critical to nutrient recycling in ecosystems as they act as decomposers. As some microorganisms can fix nitrogen, they are a vital part of the nitrogen cycle, and recent studies indicate that airborne microbes may play a role in precipitation and weather.[5] Microbes are also exploited by people in biotechnology, both in traditional food and beverage preparation, and in modern technologies based on genetic engineering. However, pathogenic microbes are harmful, since they invade and grow within other organisms, causing diseases that kill humans, other animals and plants.[6] HACCP was introduced as a food safety system in the USA in the 1950s. It was originally developed to prevent food poisoning with astronauts during space flight. One could only imagine an astronaut in a sealed space suit suffering from sickness and diarrhea! It was developed between NASA, the Pillsbury Dough Corporation, American scientists and the American military. It originated from quality systems that were previously being used for jet engines and was subsequently adapted for food safety purposes. Hazard analysis is employed at every stage of the food operation to ensure freedom from contamination. Since 1stJanuary 2006 all food businesses must have a Food Safety Management System based on the 7 HACCP principles. Most manufacturing facilities will use a full system, but catering businesses will use a process loosely based on this system. This can be achieved using a diary system. A critical control point is a point in the process which is classed as the last line of defence, for example cooking is a critical control point. If there is a breakdown in the system then corrective action needs to be taken which could include additional cooking, disposal of food or recall. Control measures are actions required to eliminate or reduce a food safety hazard to an acceptable level, much like a control measure in a health and safety risk assessment. In fact HACCP is a food safety risk assessment. The hazards are identified, details of people who could be harmed are documented, additional control measures (critical control points) are introduced,

the system is documented, communicated to all staff and reviewed as and when changes occur to the main process. Corrective action is taken when results of monitoring at a critical control point indicate a loss of control, that is, a critical limit is breached. Monitoring must be carried out at or as near as is possible to the critical control points. There should not be more than 6 ccps in any catering operation, or costs of monitoring could skyrocket and the complete process would be difficult to control. Many companies have far too many ccps, many of which are control points, not critical control points, which are not critical to food safety. A Critical control point is a step in the process where control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. A Critical limit is a monitored reference point which separates the acceptable from the unacceptable. Targets need to be set to ensure that corrective action is taken before a critical limit is violated and food needs to be destroyed. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) was one of the first people to observe microorganisms, using a microscope of his own design, and made one of the most important contributions to biology.[22] Robert Hooke was the first to use a microscope to observe living things; his 1665 book Micrographia contained descriptions of plant cells. Before Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microorganisms in 1675, it had been a mystery why grapes could be turned into wine, milk into cheese, or why food would spoil. Leeuwenhoek did not make the connection between these processes and microorganisms, but using a microscope, he did establish that there were forms of life that were not visible to the naked eye.[23][24] Leeuwenhoek's discovery, along with subsequent observations by Spallanzani and Pasteur, ended the long-held belief that life spontaneously appeared from non-living substances during the process of spoilage.