Colorectal cancer is the second most prevalent cancer worldwide. A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies was conducted to examine the association between intake of different types of dairy foods during adulthood and the development of colorectal cancer, specifically comparing nonfermented milk, solid cheese, and fermented milk. Seven databases were systematically searched and 15 cohort studies selected for inclusion, involving over 900,000 subjects and over 5200 colorectal cancer cases. Meta-analysis resulted in an overall relative risk of colon cancer of 0.74 (95 confidence interval 0.60-0.91) in men consuming nonfermented milk (highest intake category averaging 525 g/day). No association was found between consumption of nonfermented milk and rectal cancer in men or nonfermented milk and colon or rectal cancer in women. No protective association was found between consumption of solid cheese or fermented milk and colorectal cancer. Reasons for the differences in the impact of nonfermented milk, solid cheese, and fermented milk in the colon are discussed. This meta-analysis supports the inverse association between nonfermented milk consumption and risk of colon cancer in men, and provides an evidence base to assist in the formulation of dietary guidelines involving dairy foods.