I do see those dates as 'worst case scenario-advice' and especially with these very dry things i wouldn't mind it being a few months overdue,but i do draw the line at using things labelled best before 1998
Also i'm getting more and more into using fresh ingredients,my balcony/indoor spicegarden already holds Thyme,Sage,Rosemary,Dille and Basil so far.
I do keep some (of organic origin nowadays) garlic-,turmeric-,chili-,paprika- and gingerpowder(and indeed salt- and black peppergrinders) around for easy use in sauces and the same goes for onionpowder,although there is an alternative motive there in that i do like the taste of onion but loath the texture of fried/cooked onions,so never would add them fresh myself.
One of today's smiles came from seeing this on FB :
'It's just like crop circles. No matter how many aliens own up to making them, there are always a few diehards who believe that humans go out with garden rollers in the middle of the night-'