Ernest C. Anderson, 61, a retired U.S. Public Health Service officer and an expert in the field of radiological health for the Food and Drug Administration, died of lung cancer Monday at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda.

Mr. Anderson, who served in various senior staff positions since 1955 with what is now the Bureau of Radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration, retired as associate director of the bureau in 1976. He was responsible for planning programs for nationwide radiation surveillance systems.

Before working at the FDA, he had served in the U.S. Public Health Service for 14 years. One assignment was as senior radiation safety officer for the Joint Task Force that conducted the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program.

Mr. Anderson served on the World Health Organization's expert advisory panel on radiation and was elected a fellow of the American Public Health Association.

He was awarded the PHS Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal for his contribution to the development of radiological health programs in the PHS.

He was designated commodore of the White Sands Yacht Club in Maryland in 1977.

Survivors include his wife, Treon, two sons, Poco and Randy, and a daughter, Carla, all of the home in Kensington; another daughter, Adrienne Aehle, of Albany, Ga.; two sisters, Margaret Kay Anderson, of San Francisco, and Bertha Dodge of Seattle, Wash., and two grandchildren.