The relationship between dietary factors and mortality from colon cancer was explored by an analysis of the correlation between age-adjusted colon cancer death rates for men in 38 countries and estimates of the availability of a number of dietary components. Cereals were the only source of fiber found to be negatively associated with colon cancer mortality after adjustment for the availability of total or animal fats, or total or red meats, foods that were themselves positively associated with mortality. The estimate of dietary fiber from cereals was more closely associated with mortality than that of crude fiber. The previously postulated protective effects of vitamins C and A and of cruciferous vegetables were not supported by the international data; we found no evidence of a negative association between colon cancer mortality and availability of these dietary factors. The positive association previously reported between colon cancer and beer consumption disappeared following adjustment for animal fat.