Lack of reliable assays for DNA repair has largely prevented measurements of DNA repair from being included in human biomonitoring studies. Using newly developed modifications of the comet assay we tested whether a fruit- and antioxidant-rich plant-based intervention could affect base excision repair (BER) and nucleotide excision repair (NER) in a group of 102 male volunteers. BER and NER repair capacities were measured in lymphocytes before and after a dietary intervention lasting 8 weeks. The study had one control group, one group consuming three kiwifruits per day and one group consuming a variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and plant products in addition to their normal diet. DNA strand breaks were reduced following consumption of both kiwifruits (13%, p = 0.05) and antioxidant-rich plant products (20%, p = 0.02). Increased BER (55%, p = 0.01) and reduced NER (−39%, p < 0.01) were observed in the group consuming a wide variety of plant products. Reduced NER was also observed in the kiwifruit group (−38%, p = 0.05), but BER was not affected in this group. Here we have demonstrated that DNA repair is affected by diet and that modified versions of the comet assay can be used to assess activity of different DNA repair pathways in human biomonitoring studies. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.