British Supermarkets are warning the foot-and-mouth outbreak could lead to a shortage of food on their shelves.
Some of Britain's main chains said meat supplies may last only a few days.
An increased demand for ready meals, fish and poultry could also lead to shortages.
British Agriculture Minister Nick Brown has announced a seven-day ban on the transportation of livestock within the UK.
Supermarkets are pleading with shoppers not to panic buy as that would lead to empty shelves similar to during the fuel crisis last year.
A spokeswoman for Safeway said: "We are anticipating an increase in demand for poultry and fish and we are looking at finding new suppliers for that.
"We have enough meat supplies for a few days but we are looking elsewhere such as Ireland to find new suppliers. I think everyone will be affected to a certain extent by this."
A spokeswoman for Somerfield said: "We do think there will be an increase in poultry and fish buying although there is no panic at the moment. However we expect things to pick up over the weekend.
"We are telling customers in our stores there could be a shortage of meat and to bear with us. But the knock-on effect will be with other foods. "
A spokeswoman for Asda said they were breaking their normal 100% guarantee of selling British meat as they had resorted to buying meat from abroad to combat possible shortages.
She said: "If people buy as normal then we do not anticipate a problem. We know we have enough supplies."