I would like to address several points in The Post's editorial "The One That Got Away" {June 9}, which called for the establishment -- under the auspices of three government agencies -- of a "serious" program to raise seafood inspections to the level of meat and poultry. In general, I would welcome such legislation, but I would like to correct some erroneous premises in the editorial:

First, a comprehensive federal seafood-safety program already exists at the Food and Drug Administration. Its main components include mandatory inspections, import analyses, research and technical assistance to state programs. We spend about $25 million a year on these activities, and the president's budget for FY '91 calls for a budget increase of about 36 percent.

The issue raised by The Post is whether a public health problem exists with seafood that would justify an upheaval in the current program. The answer is "no." The Post's statement that the risk of illness from seafood is greater than for beef and poultry reflects a misunderstanding of data reported to the Centers for Disease Control.

According to a May 2 letter that Dr. William Roper, the director of CDC, sent to Congress, these raw data should not be used for determining the relative safety of seafood. The Post's assertion that seafood is 25 times riskier than beef is a misinterpretation of the data to which Dr. Roper referred.

The FDA has used risk-assessment methodology to estimate the risk of illness from eating seafood and chicken. The conclusion, supported by CDC, is that while chicken is a safe food when handled and cooked properly, seafood is equally safe.

The one exception is molluscan shellfish when eaten raw. Unfortunately, the coastal pollution that causes shellfish to be risky unless well cooked cannot be solved by seafood legislation alone, although there are provisions in the bills before Congress that would help.

The Post's contention that we regularly find pesticide buildups in seafood that exceed federal standards is also not supported by our data. We rarely find such levels of pesticides -- and we are constantly looking.

Indeed, after careful examination of the situation, the administration has concluded that the FDA's seafood-safety program should remain the cornerstone of the federal regulatory system for seafood. JAMES S. BENSON Acting Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services Washington