A Federal government panty raid?

Devices and Diagnostics Letter, a weekly Washington-based publication, reports that "Food and Drug Administration regulation has become a pain in the panties for at least one company, Bel-Kin of New York City."

It seems that Bel-Kin's Exclusive and Provocative Protective Panties claim to be effective in preventing vaginal infections, among other things.

The FDA notified Bel-Kin last month that the firm is making "false and misleading statements" about the medicinal value of its product.

The FDA also charged that the company fails to give "adequate (directions) for use of the device."

If BeliKin doesn't "take prompt action to corretc these violations," the FDA warned that it "is prepared to invoke regulatory sanctions provided under law. These include seizure and/or injunction."

Despite contentions that he knows nothing about the commodity future business, Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner James Stone still is the leading candidate for chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Industry insiders describe Stone's credentials in commodities as "worse than nonexistent" but are unwilling to oppose him publicly. Futures traders know better to sell short when the market is moving up, and aren't about to try to block Stone's nomination unless they are sure they can win.

Commodity traders complained to Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-III., that Stone has no experince in the field, but when Rostenkowski raised that issue with the White House, he got no response.

Stone was in the insurance business in Boston before being appointed insurance commissioner. He's looking for a job because his mentor, Gov. Michael Duakakis, lost in November.

As much of his lack of experience, Stone's reputations as a Nader-style consumer advocate is what scares commdity traders.

Once assumed to have the backing of House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill (D-MASS.) Stone, in fact, is a Kenndey and Carter Democrat. He lacks support among farm State congressmen who've traditionally influenced CFTC appointments.

Iowa Sen. Dick Clark, who also lost in November, could have the CFTC legislation and would find the post an ideal place to stage a political comeback. Despite industry and congressional support, he's not accepted encourgement to seek the post.

Another Iowan named Clark-Glen Clark, a former state securities commissioner and now a Washington commodities lawyer-is a potential candidate for the CFTC seat now held by lameduck commissioner Read P. Dunn.

Iowans have some claim to the job because the state is the No. 1 producer of farm commodities traded on futures markets and is second only to Illinois in numbers of futures traders.

Still not out of the running for a CFTC appointment is Texas cotton man Robert Anderson, a big Democratic contributor.

When Esther Peterson was given control over the Office of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, she was told by HEW Secretary Joseph Califano that the office could stay a NEW for housekeeping purposes under one condition-she had to clean house.

Apparently, she has begun to do so.

A major reorganization has left several of the 35-plus staffers disgruntled.

The fact is, however, that Califano viewed the OCA as "an embarrassment," according to White House sources, and he wanted it out. It was allowed to stay by President Carter only after Peterson agreed to the house-cleaning.

So the filing of several grievances over nonpromotion and other personnel-related charges came as no surprise last month, as Peterson and her close staff began moving people into "more appropriate positions."