Increasingly, the sale of soybean oil for human consumption is affected by the regulation of trans fats, which results from the hydrogenation process of products such as soybean oil and vegetable oils.
The United States Food and Drug Administration () requires that food processors disclose the level of trans fatty acids contained in their products.
Additionally, according to the South Dakota Soybean Processors, several local governments in the United States have enacted, or are considering enacting, restrictions on the use of trans fats in restaurants.
As a result, many food manufacturers have reduced the amount of hydrogenated soy oil included in their products or switched to other oils that contain lower amounts of trans fat.
In general, the soybean processing industry converts soybeans into soybean meal, soybean hulls, and soybean oil.
One bushel of soybeans (60 pounds or 27.2155 kg) yields approximately forty-four pounds of flour, four pounds of hulls, and eleven pounds of crude oil when processed.
While the flour and shells are mainly consumed by animals, food ingredients are the main end use of the oil.
Typically, according to South Dakota Soybean Processors, crude soybean oil is refined for use as cooking and salad oil, baking and frying fat, and, to a more limited extent, for industrial uses.
Soybean production is heavily concentrated in the central United States, Brazil, Argentina, and China.
In the 2020 harvest season, the United States produced approximately 4.140 million bushels of soybeans, 16% more than in 2019, and 31% of the estimated world production.
The USDA estimates that about 48% of the soybeans produced in the United States is processed domestically, 49% is exported as whole soybeans, and 3% is retained for seed and residual use.
South Dakota Soybean Processors owns and operates a soybean processing plant and soybean oil refinery in Volga, South Dakota, operating since 1996 and 2002, respectively.
They also own and operate an oilseed processing plant located approximately five miles east of Miller, South Dakota, which has been operating since 2015.
In addition, the company is owned by approximately 2,200 members, the majority of whom reside in South Dakota and neighboring states, and many of whom deliver and sell soybeans to South Dakota Soybean Processors plants for processing.
The main business of the company is to process locally grown soybeans into soybean meal and soybean oil.
About 80% of a bushel of soybeans is processed into soybean flour or hulls, and the remaining 20% is extracted as oil.