Commercial packing lines in Sampson County, N.C., were surveyed during two growing seasons to study handling methods on susceptibility of bell pepper fruits (Capsicum annuum L.) to bacterial soft rot (Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora). Samples were taken from two field packers and one packing house in 1991 and from two field packers and four packing houses in 1992. One field packer and one packing house were common to both years. Fruits were either inoculated with bacteria or untreated and stored at 10 or 21C. Damaged fruits were counted and classified as crushed, cut, bruised, abraded, and other injuries. Fruit injury was less dependent on whether the operation was a packing house or a field packing line than on the overall handling practices of the individual grower. In general, packing peppers in packing houses resulted in an increased number of bruises, whereas fruit from field packing lines had more abrasions. More open skin injuries resulted in greater fruit decay. In both years, fruits stored at 10C had less top rot than fruits stored at 21C. In 1992, they also had less pod rot. Dry and chlorinated lines often had equivalent rot problems.