WASHINGTON (AP) _ Campbell Soup Co. is recalling 24,000 packages of its Microwave Chunky Beef Soup because it could contain harmful organisms.

The soup was made in the company's Maxton, N.C., facility and distributed to retail stores in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Some of the 24,000 packages also were distributed to the military.

The soup was packaged in paper cartons, each containing one 9 1/2 -ounce microwavable plastic bowl with a ''metallized sealed lid,'' an Agriculture Department announcement said Monday. The suspected product is identified by a three-line code stamped on the side panel of the package.

Only packages with the code ''Dec90, Est4R, CO9J'' are being recalled.

The problem was reported to USDA after company officials discovered that one day's production was not sterile and ''could allow the growth of organisms that cause illness, if those organisms were present,'' the agency said.

Consumers with questions about the recall may call the toll-free USDA hotline at 1-800-535-4555 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. In the Washington metropolitan area, the number if 447-3333.

--- Chicago Teen-ager Wins $20,000 Science Award

WASHINGTON (AP) - A 17-year-old Chicago youth has won a $20,000 college scholarship for a project on molecular genetics he believes may advance understanding of the conversion of nitrogen from air into ammonia.

Matthew Peter Headrick won first place in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest high school science competition.

His selection was announced Monday night at an awards banquet attended by more than 500 leaders from science, government, education and business.

The next two top winners were David Ruchien Liu, 16, of Riverside, Calif., who entered a neuroscience project, and David Michael Shull, 17, of Tacoma, Wash., who developed a method of placing the genetic coding for production of a molecule into white blood cells. They each received $15,000 awards.

The fourth through 10th place winners and scholarship amounts were:

-Soojin Ryu, 18, Bronx, N.Y., $10,000;

-Joshua Fischman, 17, Bethesda, Md., $10,000;

-Royce Yung-Tze Peng, 17, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., $10,000;

-Laura Andrea Ascenzi, 17, Sunnyside, N.Y., $7,500;

-Andrew M. Lines, 17, Arlington, Va., $7,500;

-Mina Kim Yu, 17, of Fairfax, Va., $7,500;

-Bianca Denise Santomasso, 17, New York City, $7,500.

--- Shearson Lehman Hutton Ordered to Pay More Than $1 Million

WASHINGTON (AP) - An arbitration panel has ordered Shearson Lehman Hutton to pay damages totaling more than $1 million to three Oklahomans who claimed their broker made unauthorized trades and churned their accounts.

An arbitration panel of the National Association of Securities Dealers ordered Shearson to pay $994,766 in compensatory and punitive damages and lawyers' fees to Temple, Okla. farmer Walter Earl Cox and his wife, Ardenia F. Cox.

In a decision late last month, disclosed Monday, the panel also awarded separately a total of $60,694 in damages and fees to Mrs. Cox and her mother, Cuba E. Read, of Comanche, Okla.

The treble compensatory damages stemmed from claims made by the Coxes under the civil provisions of the federal racketeering laws.

Both awards came in response to claims made against one-time Shearson registered representative Lindy Kent Ridinger of Wichita Falls, Texas.

The Coxes' lawyer, Frank Lewis, of Phoenix, Ariz., said the decision was the first he knew of where both punitive and treble damages were awarded as well as attorney's fees.

Shearson denied the accusations and Ridinger, who was fired June 2, 1986, never responded to the charges, according to documents of the NASD.

Ridinger was formally censured by the NASD, barred from associating with its members ''in any capacity'' and fined $50,000. He was not reachable for comment.