Esther Peterson was named yesterday to her old job - special assistant to the President for consumer affairs.

President Carter named the 70-year-old Mrs. Peterson, currently vice president for consumer programs for Giant Food Co. to the same job she held between 1964 and 1967 for President Lyndon Johnson.

Mrs. Peterson remembered yesterday that she also was Assistant Secretary of Labor at that time. "This time I will have only one responsibility, and that's a relief." she said.

She will begin her new - old - job about April 15.

Although she plans to help get through Congress a masure to establish a new independent federal agency to advocate the "consumer" interest before other government agencies, Mrs. Peterson said she has no interest in staying on to run it.

"I've seen a lot of change" since the 1960's when consumerism was thought by many businesses to be a "negative" influence, Mrs. Peterson said.

She added that she has always believed, and hopes to continue to promote the idea that consumerism is good for the country and for business.

Mrs. Peterson was the first special assistant for consumer affairs in the Food in 1970 where she helped the White House. She moved to Giant Food in 1970 where she helped the chain institute unit pricing, open dating, a toy safety program, nutritional labeling and other consumer information programs.